Verlorenkloof is our favourite destination for a get away from it all week in October each year, usually green from early summer rains and buzzing with bird life across all of the various habitats, from the river along the one boundary through wetlands and open grasslands to the forested kloofs of the surrounding mountains.
It’s all about relaxation while enjoying the beauty and superb birding of this secluded valley – so join us as we explore the estate and the surrounds, ever on the lookout for the special birds of the area.
Day 2 – Friday
Our second day started lazily, despite the Red-chested Cuckoo imploring us to “wake up now” over and over. Eventually we succumbed, made ourselves presentable and headed to the verandah for coffee.
Before breakfast a Red-necked Spurfowl surprised us with a slow walk past the croft, until he spied us watching him and set off at a pace towards the long grass, leaving me with a snatched photo opportunity. I followed the Spurfowl hoping to get some better images of this shy species, but despite hearing it nearby I could not see any movement and had to abandon the stealthy chase.
Disappointed, I returned along the path through tall grass and reeds to the croft, only to be surprised once again by a second Spurfowl, in full throated voice, presenting a perfect photo opportunity and a highlight for the day.
From a distance the red of the neck and face is not all that striking, but close up it is immediately apparent why it was named the Red-necked Spurfowl
After breakfast I strolled down to the rock swimming pool near our croft, where I found an Olive Thrush in the small stream, hopping about in the shady undergrowth. The thrush eluded my photo attempts but a group of Cape White-eyes made up for it moments later by choosing a tiny pool amongst the rocks alongside to bathe – a charming sight.
Much of the rest of the day was spent relaxing on the verandah, watching the comings and goings of the regulars, with African Paradise Flycatcher flitting between the trees at regular intervals.
Mid afternoon we went for a drive around the estate and down towards the river, stopping frequently and adding :
– Village Weavers in large numbers
– Stonechat pair perched close together, showing the differences between male and female (left and right)
– A pair of Bald Ibises flying to a field further on
– Swallows aplenty – Greater Striped, Lesser Striped and White-throated
– Red-throated Wryneck whose plaintive kweek-kweek-kweek caught our attention and we soon found him high up in the branches of a tree
– Groundscraper Thrush strutting guardsman-like about the green lawns of the idyllic picnic spot next to the river
On the way back to the croft a Tree Agama sat next to the road, then climbed up the trunk of a nearby tree, pausing long enough for us to get a good look at its prehistoric form and bright blue head and neck
The second day, a slow relaxed one, ended with a modest 11 new species added to the list for the week to take the total to 61