Wonderful winter birding at Likweti Estate

Birding at Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate – 10 June 2023

A wonderful lowveld sunrise greeted us as a group of ten eager birders joined me for a morning of birding at Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate on the 10th of June. The temperatures have dropped as we head into winter, but we are still fortunate to enjoy great birding in winter in the Lowveld. The morning’s walk started out quite chilly, but nothing a good cup of coffee couldn’t solve. With the group meeting at the main entrance gate, the birding got off to a start with a array of Sunbirds feeding on the flowering Bauhinia. We had exceptional views of Scarlet-chested, White-bellied, Amethyst, Collared and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds.

Southern Double-collared Sunbird

A few other noteworthy sightings included a very showy pair of Red-throated Wryneck, Brubru, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Black-backed Puffback, Levaillants Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, a displaying Croaking Cisticola. This was enjoyable as we could watch the birds displaying over the grass and get familiar with the birds’ typical frog like call. The call of an African Fish Eagle above us added to the atmosphere and a Giant Kingfisher was a surprise at one of the farm dams. A pair of Grassbirds remained hidden until our walk back where we got good views of this endemic species. A displaying African Goshawk was our final bird for this very productive area.

A highlight for the morning came in the form of a pair of Peregrine Falcons posing on top of a boulder for us to enjoy. This incredible bird is the most widely distributed species of bird of prey, with breeding populations on every continent except Antarctica and many oceanic islands. Sixteen subspecies are recognized. The Peregrine Falcon is best known for its diving speed during flight, which can reach more than 300 km per hour, making it not only the world’s fastest bird but also the world’s fastest animal.

Peregrine Falcon

From here we moved further into the estate where we saw some more great birds with highlights being, a stunning male Mocking Cliff Chat, African Hoopoe, African Palm Swift, Purple-crested Turaco, Black-winged Kite hunting, Long-crested Eagle, and Yellow-throated Longclaws displaying above us.

Long-crested Eagle

As we continued with the walk the birds just kept on rolling in and some of the highlights included: close views of Common Waxbill, African Stonechat, Neddicky, White-fronted Bee-eater, African Firefinch and a wonderful sighting of a Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird that called and gave us some fantastic views.

Our final stop for the morning back at the cars rewarded the group with some great views of Black Saw-wings. These birds dig nest tunnels in earth banks. The Grey-rumped Swallows also put on a show for us, the breeding of these birds’ peaks in winter and they make shallow nests at the end of rodent holes on open, flat ground.

A total of 58 species were seen collectively during the morning walk.

Marc will be leading more exciting bird watching walks throughout the year at Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate. Be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page for all the details.

Written by Marc Cronje
083 705 6463.
Photos supplied by Marc Cronje

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