The HBC was well represented at the Grootbos Outing yesterday, with no less than 28 members present. We were met at the lodge by our host and guide, Mike Fabricius, who led us on an enchanting trail through the milkwood forest and a very colourful section of fynbos in the area surrounding the “Growing The Future” project.
Birding in the forest was difficult as the birds were hard to see in the dense vegetation, however, we did hear a number of forest species. What was really fascinating, though, was the wonderful shapes assumed by the milkwood trees and to see how they ‘walk’ by growing branches close to the ground that then re-root and become new trees. We were also thrilled to see the plentiful fresh leopard tracks and the evidence of their scratching on the tree stems. Mike did a great job as guide and was able to point out these and many other interesting features.
Our walk ended at the “Growing The Future” farm where we were shown around by the local manager, Pontsho. This is a project which aims to train local farmers and also supplies the lodge with all its fresh produce. Greenhouses and shade tunnels had every kind of fruit and vegetable and there were even sections for hydroponic cultivation and micro-herbs (which are so loved by modern chefs) There is also a chicken section for fresh eggs and a piggery, and the whole complex is aimed at sustainable farming, using organic fertilisers and minimal local water.
Our bird list was not much to write home about, but the lack of birds was more than made up for by all the other interesting sights and stories. Lester, our serious birder, who would not be distracted by all the peripheral goings on, kept the list and even photographed a most unusual Bulbul, which he termed a Snowy Bulbul!
We were treated to a fine tea at the end of our tour. Well done Grootbos for a most enjoyable morning!
Bird List: Bar-throated Apalis; Cape Batis; Yellow Bishop; Bokmakerie; Southern Boubou; Cape Bulbul; Cape Turtle Dove; Red-eyed Dove; Fork-tailed Drongo; Common Fiscal; Fiscal Flycatcher; Sombre Greenbul; Hadeda Ibis; Red-faced Mousebird; Speckled Mousebird; Karoo Prinia; Cape Robin-Chat; Cape Sparrow; House Sparrow; Cape Spurfowl; Cape Sugarbird; Orange-breasted Sunbird; Southern Double-collared Sunbird; Common Waxbill; Cape Weaver; Cape White-eye.