Late Summer Sightings at Bill Barnes

February
Pair of oribi in Camp 5 (1 February); two Crowned Cranes (that had been frequenting the reserve daily (roosting on pylons on the west side of the UCC dam and spending large amounts of time foraging in the camps adjacent to the UCC) since mid-January 2013), flew and landed on the island in the UCC dam. After approximately 10 minutes, they were joined by two other CC. All four birds engaged in threat displays and then the first pair, chased off the other two (10 February). White Pelican observed flying over the reserve and 5 oribi counted during guided hike (19 February): one male oribi, 2 female oribi and a lamb in Camp 9 (23 February).

SA Grey Crowned Cranes

Wattled Crane family observed together in Camp 4 (1 February); Camp 9 (9 February); On 11 February, I watched the chick walk the length of Camp 9 (located just above the UCC dam) just after sunrise. This camp has been grazed and the grass is short. The parents were on the up slope and walking quite quickly towards the former nest site, while the chick was slightly below and behind them. The bird appeared to be struggling to keep up with them and was definitely favouring (limping) on its left leg. About a month ago, Jon Bates reported seeing the chick walking across Camp 9A with its parents. He reported the bird seemed to be favouring one leg, but couldn’t be sure on account of the tall grass. On 12 February, Tanya watched the family and she did not detect the chick limping. I again observed the chick limping on 14 February. After repeated observations, the chick was no longer observed limping after 19 February. During this time, the WC family were moving in and around the reserve – they were sighted on James Berning’s rye grass and in the grazed pasture adjacent to the entrance to Fordoun. Wattled Crane family in Camp 5 and later in Camp 9 (24 February).

Nerine pancratioides has been flowering profusely in the wetland between the dam and the new Wattled Crane Nursery under construction. This species is now extinct in many localities due to habitat degradation and destruction. They grow in temporarily inundated areas on banks of streams and in moist grassy depressions.

nerine pancratioides  res

March
Adult male vervet monkey was sighted on the fence behind the garage. Later, the animal run through the lawn at the front of the UCC and climbed into the top of one of the adjacent pine trees (11 March); pair of oribi in Camp 9A (11 March); pair of oribi Camp 6 (16 March); Yellow-billed duck with 7 newly-hatched ducklings on UCC dam (17 March); pair of Cape clawless otters cavorting in the dam (sadly none of the Yellow-bill ducklings were observed after this sighing) (19 March); ten (10) guinea fowl roosted in the pine trees adjacent to the workshop (22 March).
Wattled Crane Pair: Wattled Crane family observed in Camp 4 and later in Fordoun mealie field east of Camp 10 (11 April); family on James Berning rye grass field (17 March); in Camp 9 and 9A (19, 22 March).

COmmon River frog

Regular Walks at Bill Barnes take place on the third Tuesday of every month. Next one 16 March. Contact Warwick Fraser to book:  084 779 5375

compiled by Ann Burke – KZNCF Conservation Project Manager. Thanks to Alex March for Nerine picture.

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