The birds and habitat of Peddlars Bush, Barberton
The Indigenous forest of Peddlars Bush and the scenic mountain views above Barberton offer the birder some attractive birding. A strategic stop overlooking the valley with a hillside full of Mountain Proteas produces our first special bird for the trip. It is the stunning Gurney’s Sugarbird – an endemic species to Southern Africa, and one of two members of the Sugarbird family endemic to South Africa, the other being the Cape Sugarbird endemic to the fynbos of the Western Cape. Other great sightings along the boulder-strewn hillside include: Cape Rock Thrush, Red-winged Francolin, Buff-streaked Chat, Malachite Sunbird, Jackal Buzzard, Drakensberg Prinia and Alpine Swift to mention a few and to whet your appetite.
As we enter the cool, green indigenous forest we hear the familiar call of an Olive Woodpecker calling. As we get onto this beauty, we hear the deep growling calls of the stunning Knysna Turaco and enjoy cracking views of the stunning bird. What a start to the trip! Just before we enter the forest, we also have great views of a small group of Swee Waxbills. An enjoyable cup of coffee is on the cards as we watch the groups of Cape White-eyes, Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Canaries and Forest Canaries moving around feeding. Just as we are about to get going, we hear the characteristic call of the Narina Trogon. With a bit of searching we manage to get great views of this avian gem – a bird that can turn anyone into a birder.
As we catch our breaths from the spectacular sighting of the Trogon, we hear the chorus from the forest and soon hear the ventriloquist calling. It’s amazing how the Chorister Robin-Chat is a master at mimicry.
As we continue to enjoy the magic of the forest, we hear a raptor calling and get spectacular views of a Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk flying over the forest…a great bird for the province. Wow! What a great day in the forest. The trip however is not over and we still are missing one sought-after beauty – the near-threatened Orange Ground Thrush. After some searching and calling we manage to obtain the most incredible views of the bird feeding on the road with an Olive Thrush, just breath-taking.
Some of the other great species seen in the area include Barratt’s Warbler, Crowned Hornbill, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Dark-backed Weaver, Cape Batis, Olive Sunbird and Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler to name a few.
I look forward to sharing the above birding experience with you.