Nahoon Nature Reserve-an urban gem
East London - South Africa, on the Nahoon River!.
The problem of what to watch on T.V. Wimbledon, Tour de France or Super Rugby was easily solved when Audrey and our grandson Zak persuaded me that a walk at the Nahoon Nature Reserve was a better option, and indeed is was.
Camera and binoculars and us into the car for the 3km drive to this beautiful nature trail in the East London urban area. There are three rivers that flow into the Indian Ocean in the City of East London, while another ,the Gonubie, about 15km to the N/E, enters the ocean in the satellite town named after it. The largest river is the Buffalo that provides East London with the only river port in South Africa.
A cold front is moving over the country from the S/E and preceding it is a “berg” (mountain) wind that comes down the escarpment bringing warm winter weather to the coast, as the air is heated adiabatically.
The Nahoon this evening did not disappoint. As we arrived in the car park there was a bird party in the trees around the Enviro-centre with Fork-tailed Drongoes, a variety of Weavers, a pair of Black-collared Barbets and some Cape White-eyes competing for an evening meal. An Amethyst Sunbird was looking for nectar in the Aloes while a bird we did not know called from nearby bushes, but remained elusive.
A brief visit to the bird hide provided us with a view of a large mixed flock of seed eaters including Pin-tailed Whydah, Red-headed Quelea, and Bronze Mannikin, Yellow and Village Weaver, and also a couple of Red-necked Spurfowl. I thought I spotted a rare Red-backed Mannikin, but Zak in his enthusiasm to put out some bird seed frightened it away before I could be certain.
A walk to the river under the cliffs and next to the most southern Mangrove Forrest in South Africa provided views of Hadeda and African Sacred Ibis, Black-smith Lapwing, Little and Greater Egret, Black-headed Heron, White-breasted Cormorant, Pied Kingfisher, Kelp Gull and Little Tern. The beautiful but secretive Knysna Turaco called from the Forrest under the cliffs, but time did not allow us to do that section of the walk to look for them and the other forest birds that live there.
We stopped to watch a troop of Vervet Monkeys who were crossing the path on the way back to the start of the walk. A Fish Eagle called as it patrolled the River in the early evening.
The sun was setting up the river as we got back to the car park and we knew that it would arise again in the east over the river mouth and ocean tomorrow morning, lighting up this gem for those who appreciate having such a great place right on their doorstep.