This is a continuation from my previous blog post.
We woke up on the 2nd day of our holiday at around 6:30, in an attempt to head out into the Grootvadersbosch forest by 8:00, which was achieved. Some common birds hung around near the cottage as we were getting ready to leave, including some Cape Crows which were making a gurgling racket. We went inside and paid our day permit fee, which is now R40 per person (a bit on the steep side) and began our descent into the forest, spotting some Speckled Mousebirds and a Greater Double Collared Sunbird on the way down. This was our first real attempt at forest birding, but Trevor Hardaker had warned us prior, that it could be tough. It didn’t take long until we realized just how tough it is, especially when wanting to take photographs – I was at my minimum aperture of 5.6 and had cranked up my ISO to 800 and even 1600 at times, and it was still way too dark. Our first sightings in the forest were Olive Woodpecker, not the Knysna Woodpecker we were looking for, however it was still a lifer for Cathryn.
When walking down the path, we came across what appeared to be a Golden Orb-web Spider – thankfully not crossing the path itself. We moved on, only the distant sounds of Warblers present. We eventually reached the hide, which is a three ‘story’ tall wooden structure which one accesses from the back. We joined three others in the hide, though they soon left. We sat around for a while listening and looking – but things were very quiet. We heard the Knysna Warblers calling from the glen, but no signs of the Narina Trogon.
We moved on and walked towards Warblers Glen, the forest still very quiet and void of activity. Once at Warblers Glen we came across Sombre Greenbul and some Blue-Mantled Crested-Flycatchers. It was around here where we heard a deep call coming from within the bushes, and although we had studied some of the other calls the night before, we somehow forgot to listen to the Trogon’s. We shrugged it off, as it was too deep to go after anyway, but later in the day we realized that we had been listening to one of the Narina Trogon calls.
Moving back towards the entrance we came across more of the Blue-Mantled Crested-Flycatchers, as well as some Terrestrial Brownbuls. A Bar-Throated Apalis also showed itself just before we emerged from the forest.
No Narina Trogon at this point…
We then went back to the Cottage to sort out some lunch, I also spent some time walking around outside looking for any raptors that may appear, specifically hoping for the Crowned Eagle to appear. While out walking around the cottage, I came across a pair of beautiful Puff Adders, I’m not sure – but it appeared they were mating…
After a while of quiet on the birding front, I couldn’t just sit around the cottage and had to go actively try and find something, so I took a drive along the dirt road and came across a Forest Buzzard, but otherwise things were not as active as I was hoping for – likely due to the onset of a cold wind that had started to blow, with signs of the cold front approaching. I decided to make the most of this though and focus on some landscape photographs, as the landscapes were nothing short of epic.
The remainder of the day was spent enjoying where we were and playing with the cats and horses. Though by late night, the rain had settled in – with winds picking up too… Giving a real stormy experience.
This is part 2 of a 4 part blog post. The other posts can be accessed here: