BIRDING

MSINSI RESERVES’ EXCITING BIRDING ON THE DOORSTEPS OF OUR CITIES

Occupying river valleys, flanked by hills, cliffs and mountains, Msinsi Resorts and Game Reserves naturally have a wide range of habitats - which in turn means a wide range of plants, mammals and insects. Birds thrive in these green refuges which allow them to escape metropolitan expansion.

All Msinsi reserves are perfect for birders who want to hone their skills or those visiting the region who want to check out some KZN specials or interesting migrants. Be especially sure not to miss . . .

Albert Falls Dam and Game Reserve: Fish attract more than human fishing enthusiasts – look out also for African fish eagle and osprey, as well as cormorants, darter, goliath and grey heron and great white egret. Helping swell the reserve’s birdlist to about 280 are summer’s migrant waders such as ruff, greenshank and avocet, foraging around the dam shore. Look in the grasslands for secretary birds, longclaw and Stanley’s bustard. Thornveld is often buzzing with shrikes, scrub robins, barbets, sunbirds and orioles. Ask about booking a night drive if you’d like to try for owls and nightjars.

Nagle Dam and Game Reserve: In glades of trees, green spotted pigeon search for fruit and in summer, you’ll love the plum-coloured starling’s rich plumage. Look for the bright flash of the malachite kingfisher or listen in the bushveld for the call of the brownhooded kingfisher. Watch at dawn or dusk for the swift but deadly hunting flight of the African goshawk.

Shongweni Dam and Game Reserve: From water to forest, cliff to grassland, thornveld and even palmveld, Shongweni Dam and Game Reserve varied range of habitats means it attracts more than 260 different bird species. Your patience could be rewarded by the elusive Narina trogon and bat-hawk. Scan the cliffs carefully for the masters of the skies - nesting black storks, martial, crowned and black eagle. Take a canoe onto the dam to glide past spurwing geese and glimpse white-backed night heron.

Hazelmere Dam and Resort: Birding here is as easy as sitting in your camp-chair beside the dam. Enjoy the sight of our resident pair of giant kingfishers scanning for food from a branch over the water. Often you’ll catch the spectacular sight of them hovering briefly before they plunge into a dive after their prey. Watch for waxbills, firefinches and other seedeaters among the grassveld as well.

Inanda Dam and Resort: You’ll usually be treated to the sound of Africa - the ringing, far-carrying call of the African fish eagle, a fairly common resident. Either when perched or in the air, it calls aweee-ah, hyo-hyo-hyoa or aheee-ah, heee-ah, heeah-heeaha. This is usually a signal that a pair is looking for their kill so get out your binoculars, take a seat in the campsite or day visitor area and watch the hunt.


DID YOU KNOW?

Shongweni’s range of birding landed it the honour of hosting the world’s top birders and ornithologists visiting the International Ornithological Congress in Durban in 1988.

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