The warmer weather on the mid-South Coast is encouraging more outdoor excursions, and for those birdwatchers looking to travel, then the Rocky Bay area is a real highlight. With its coastal forests and subtropical climate, the region has become renowned for some of the best bird sightings in KZN.
“There’s no doubt that this area is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground, but for the twitchers out there, it’s an absolute must-visit,” said Annien Koulountis, Resorts Manager at Rocky Bay Resorts. “Rocky Bay’s nature trails are operational and ready to welcome keen visitors looking for a great hike and a chance to tick off those bucket list bird species!”
Rocky Bay boasts some of the best outdoor trails for hiking, biking and birding. Extensive work has been done on the 111km Rocky Bay trails that wind through sugar cane fields with ocean views, and into the cooler indigenous coastal forest sections.
Sandy Olver, an Umdoni Village resident and member of BirdLife South Africa and South Coast Trogan’s Bird Club, has vast experience in spotting local bird species in the various habitats found within the region. In welcoming visiting twitchers, she has shared some local insight to make this a really worthwhile experience.
“If you don’t want to go too far then it’s worth a walk down to the folly on the ruins of the old railway bridge overlooking the estuary,” commented Olver. “When the mouth is closed and the river full, you should see kingfishers – giant and malachite – cormorants and even a black-crowned night-heron. Check under the existing bridge for nests of the little swifts and, in summer, the lesser striped swallows. The most common sea bird on the beach is the swift tern, but in Sardine Run season watch the flocks of beautiful cape gannets perform death-defying dives after the shoals.”
She said other good birding sights can be found on Rocky Bay Trails at a nominal fee, with entrance to these trails at Rocky Bay Resorts.
“Bush birds can be difficult to see so if you can recognise the calls of the migrant cuckoos, honeyguides, the mournful buff-spotted flufftail, or Narina trogon, then you know what to look for and where. Remember to look up to the skies for raptors.”
Other bird species to look out for include:
White-faced, white-backed, yellow-billed and African black ducks;
- Little grebe;
- Grey-crowned cranes in the grassland or tree-tops;
- Red-capped robin chat or scrub robins in the bush;
- Weavers, waxbills, widows or woodpeckers, sunbirds, shrikes and starlings, doves and drongos in the riverine bush and grassland;
- Scarlet-chested sunbird;
- Grey cuckoo shrike; and
- Scaly-throated honeyguide.
“It’s best to take it slowly and avoid birding around midday when it gets uncomfortably hot for you and the birds tend to be a bit quieter,” continued Olver. “Remember your binoculars and check when a rally or group activity is planned. It’s no good looking for birds if the roads are busy.”
For the best in birdwatching, get to Rocky Bay Resorts this spring! Rocky Bay Resorts has accommodation ranging from one-bedroom log cabins to a six-sleeper, three-bedroom log cabins and a Caravan Park with many sites offering sea views. To put a little extra ‘spring in your step’ Rocky Bay Resorts is offering 20% off all new reservations received for log cabins and campsites (T&Cs apply).
Visit www.rockybay.co.za or like the @RockyBayResorts Facebook page. To book accommodation at the Rocky Bay Resorts log cabins or Caravan Park, call 039 976 0336. Book the beach break of your dreams today: https://enquiries.rockybay.co.za/
Disclaimer: Rocky Bay Trails are maintained but not manicured to retain more of an ‘adventure experience’. Visitors use the trails at their own risk. There are no collection or rescue services for any emergency.