18 June 2021

A few nights in the Mountains

12 - 14 March 2021 - Mountain Sanctuary Park, Magaliesberg

After many years, it was really cool to dust off and shake out the camping equipment that had been stored whilst we were in Kuwait. We planned a weekend trip to Mountain Sanctuary Park, about a 90-minute drive from our house, together with my wife's two brothers.

It is a well managed park, with spacious campsites and upgraded ablutions with a number of well marked walks from the site. Granted Magaliesberg is not the same scale as the Drakensberg, but the fresh air and clear skies were really enjoyed, as was the good food and great company and much laughter.

We had some clouds appear over the mountain over the first day, but fortunately they did not bring the rain to our side

Threatening Clouds from the South

Walks around the camp over the 2-days produced a few expected birds - these are the few I managed to photograph; Familiar Chat

Familiar Chat (Oenanthe familiaris)

Groundscraper Thrush foraging around the empty camp sites. Which of the first two images do you prefer - one with some habitat to provide context or just a bird on a branch?

Groundscraper Thrush (Turdus litsitsirupa)

A migratory Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

A female Black Cuckooshrike

Female Black Cuckooshrike (Campephaga flava)

and a distant juvenile Black-chested Snake Eagle

Black-chested Snake-Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)

This was the view north from the camp

Looking North

I was really hoping to see the Verreaux's Eagles and on the morning we were packing up - my son spotted a pair passed by overhead. They really are magnificent

Verreaux's Eagle (Aquila verreauxii)

There weren't too many birds seen on the walks, but Lazy Cisticola was great too see

Lazy Cisticola (Cisticola aberrans)

Of course there were many invertebrates around and butterflies included Common Diadem

Common Diadem (Hypolimnas misippus)

Velvet-spotted Babul Blue

Velvet-spotted Babul Blue (Azanus ubaldus)

White Pie

White Pie (Tuxentius calice)

Broad-bordered Grass Yellow

Broad-bordered Grass Yellow (Eurema b. brigitta)

and Two-pip Policeman

Two-pip Policeman (Coelliades pisistratus)

I did also find a male African Hummingbird Hawk-moth that disappeared quite quickly

African Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum trochilus)

And a striking Jaunty Dropwing near one of the small but pretty waterfalls on the walk up the mountain

Jaunty Dropwing (Trithemis stictica)

It was really a great and relaxing few days and a weekend we will certainly be repeating in the coming year, now that the camping gear is out and used again.

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