Springtime in the lowveld, namely Kapama Private Game Reserve is perhaps the best time of year for birding. All the migrants are flying in from all over. At Kapama we are lucky enough to have a beautiful river running through it called the Klaserie. The river is a permanent and seasonal home to a wealth of birds from common residents to the once in a blue moon scarce species. I personally have had some awesome sightings of the not so common birds which I was lucky enough to see along the Klaserie. The Gorgeous Bush shrike with its characteristic konkoit call. The scaly-throated Honeyguide which hides up in the canopies, has a very ventriloquistic call, making it very hard to locate. The Narina Trogon with its beautiful green and red colouring can be quite hard to come by. The African Finfoot – a shy and retiring water bird which sticks to the dense parts of the river with thick reed beds, where it will dive for fish.

I have also been fortunate enough to have some beautiful sightings away from the river,
of birds which are not seen very often, especially in this area of the lowveld. A Thickbilled cuckoo which I was able to locate by its call. This was a once off, as they usually occur far to the north of Kapama in the Pafuri region of the Kruger national park. I was also lucky enough to see the endangered Yellow-billed Oxpecker which you generally find on buffalo, a first time for me to see this species in this area. We have also seen the odd Saddle-billed stork at some of the dams.

Birdlife at Buffalo camp can also be very rewarding. The relaxed atmosphere and general still of a small bush camp with its tall fever tree and paper bark acacia’s allows for some quality close up birding. Some of the birds that it is possible to see include the Eastern bearded scrub robin, Gabar Goshawk, African Harrier Hawk, Bearded, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, White-browed Robin Chat, Ashy Flycatcher, Paradise Flycatcher and Barn Owl. These are but a few of the many resident birds in and around the camp. We are also lucky enough to have a pair of nesting Wahlberg’s eagles just outside the camp’s perimeter, being summer migrants they use the same nesting site each and every summer.

Story by Jordan Jacobson, Buffalo Camp Ranger

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