Garden Route Birding – summer season.

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Photographing African Spoonbill at the Langvlei culvert.

Our December birding tours in the Garden Route were a mixture of frustration, educational and insightful to avian behavior and breeding response to predation.

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Waiting for an hour in anticipation of a Red-chested Flufftail

Without a doubt the most frustrating part were our attempts at clear views of Red-chested Flufftail. In October and November we had many successful sightings at the Langvlei /Rondevlei culvert and near the Malachite Bird Hide. Not so in December. With the early summer rain, reeds and Wetland vegetation has overwhelmed all the easy viewings. Most frustrating was standing listening to three birds calling less 2m away and not being able to see so much as a tip of a feather.

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Watching a coalition of bird species attack and successfully repel a female Boomslang from approaching a Paradise Flycatcher nest.

Interesting was the regular sightings of Boomslangs hunting in the mid story of the forest. The collaboration of bird species attacking and repelling these stealthy arboreal hunters was amazing to watch. Of all the incidents, the Cape Robin-Chat was the dominant alarm caller and most times the most courageous attacker. In all of the incidents the overwhelmed Boomslangs method of retreat was to drop to the canopy floor. During one defense of Cape Weaver nests no less than 9 species coordinated to repel the snake.

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Photographing a Paradise Flycatcher feeding chicks in a nest.

In response to predation, both Paradise Flycatchers and African Dusky Flycatchers laid three clutches of eggs after the first two clutches were preyed on.

For guided birding tours in the Garden Route contact Garden Route Trail –  www.gardenroutetrail.co.za

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