Four Black Storks and a Martial Eagle


By Margie Ogston

The HBC trip to Botterkloof during April was most enjoyable, with the group of 19 members compiling a list of 126 species. Barbara Palmer organised and led the outing and was ably assisted by various senior birders.


Birding near Stilbaai. Image by Ronnie Hazell.

Having met mid-morning we enjoyed a walk through the riverine area to the lagoon, adding various species to our lists, including hearing the Knysna Warbler.

The trip to the Sewage Works of Stilbaai is always productive and we enjoyed seeing the juvenile Great Crested Grebes and many Water Thick-knees. We watched in amazement as a Pied Kingfisher silenced her ‘catch of the day’ with a determined slapping action.

Tuesday promised to be the highlight of the trip, and Voëlvlei lived up to its reputation. We left in five cars at 08:00, and through thick mist slowly made our way through the fynbos and agricultural fields.

Our major sightings of the morning, en route to the vlei, were a Jacobin Cuckoo, a Southern Tchagra and many African Hoopoe at one venue.

Botterkloof 2016 134

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons at Botterkloof. Image by Margie Ogston.

With the mist finally lifting, we reached Voëlvlei, where we finally had the pleasure of viewing hundreds of birds and waders in one section of the vlei. There was an abundance of Grey Herons, South African Shelducks, Black-winged Stilts, Black-headed Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, Blacksmith Lapwings and Lesser and Greater Flamingoes.

Glossy Ibises were also spotted, but our special sighting was of four Black Storks on the vlei and a Martial Eagle gliding overhead.

On our final day we were treated to the special sight of two juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons at Botterkloof.

Our evenings were, as always, well organised, with good food and with Graham providing fires for braaiing. Barbara encouraged members to share their time with different members each evening, which was a huge success.

4 comments on “Four Black Storks and a Martial Eagle

  1. Thank you to Barbara, Graham and all the accompanying birders who were on the trip to Botterkloof Farm in Stillbaai. We really enjoyed being there with you all and the highlight for me (Dot) was the day trip, thanks to Lee & Anne. Hope to do more trips when Patrick has built up his ‘vuma’ and can help identify the birds! Patrick & Dot

    • It was great having the old stalwarts along, Dot. Hope Patrick is doing well and you’ll be on many more trips with the club.

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