ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gubu Dam Reflections -February 2013

Updated on February 10, 2013
Grey-crowned Crane
Grey-crowned Crane
Reed-comorant sunning at Causeway
Reed-comorant sunning at Causeway
Cape-clawless Otter romping in clear water
Cape-clawless Otter romping in clear water
Unusual Sunset with storm clouds
Unusual Sunset with storm clouds
Another great sunset
Another great sunset
Black-headed Oriole
Black-headed Oriole
Cape-robin Chat in Fynbos
Cape-robin Chat in Fynbos
Juvenile Jackal Buzzard inspecting the dam. They have nested in area.
Juvenile Jackal Buzzard inspecting the dam. They have nested in area.

The members of the Stutterheim Fly-fishing Club don’t rush to Gubu in January, February and March because the fishing is at a low point. The water has warmed up and the fish stay deep to find the cooler currents. To catch anything you have to fish deep and slow with a sinking line and even then it is hard to hook an elusive Trout.

This suits me as I enjoy having the clubhouse to myself. Last night as the sun went down it was overcast and so I did not add to my portfolio of Gubu sunsets but this morning the dam was at its glorious best. As I sat in front of the braai area overlooking the dam I mulled over the birds I saw yesterday and added new ones that came out to explore the cool morning air after light showers during the night.

Rowing out into the inlet to the left of the clubhouse in my small boat I did not produce any fish but did add six new birds to my list that I will send in to the South African Bird Atlas Program 2 on the completion of the visit. As one of the 1000 plus birders who regularly send in lists of birds for specific areas known as pentads this is one of my areas. This information is then used to update trends in bird movement and to prepare statistics for handbooks, etc.

The recording of a Yellow-crowned Bishop added a new species to my personal list of South African birds that now stands at 530. In my boat I seemed to be able to get closer to the small LBJ’s that live in the Fynbos (mixed shrubs typical of the Cape and Eastern Cape) next to the dam. This gave me an opportunity to photograph some of these birds that are not only elusive to get near to but also to identify.

A slow drive on the track around the dam used by the forestry workers also proved very rewarding. A pair of Grey-crowned Cranes often seen in this area but always a pleasure see again had me grabbing for my camera and I managed a photo or two as the moved away.

An African Fish Eagle sitting in a tree across the dam called out and a group of Little Grebe fussed over food as they explored the weed banks in the part of the dam known as Doctors. A Raptor flew out of the reeds on the edge of the dam and disappeared into the forest. Probably an African Harrier Hawk but I could not be certain as I just caught a glimpse. On a previous visit I had photographed one in this area.

The colorful Black-headed Oriole called from the forest and then I was treated to an aviation display by the two larger Kingfishers found in the area. Firstly a Pied Kingfisher hovered over the water looking for a meal and then to my amazement a Giant Kingfisher swooped into the water and came out with a sizable fish. Sitting on a branch hanging over the dam he proceeded to beat the fish into submission against the branch, before swallowing it. Who says the fish are only to be found deep?

My final sightings as I made my way back to the clubhouse for lunch was a Reed Cormorant that arrived suddenly at the causeway and began sunning its wings, a Green-backed Camaroptera next to the road and a beautiful, regal Jackal Buzzard watching proceedings from its perch in a dead tree. This completed my list of 44 bird species recorded in less than 24 hours.

Gubu Dam is a great place to visit if you are interest in nature and birds in particular. You may even see a family of Otters patrolling the water, a Bush Buck coming to drink water and catch a Rainbow Trout or two if you are lucky.

Post script:

Today I go back to East London and this morning I am having a “sound bite” for breakfast. As I sit on a chair in front of the clubhouse I am treated to the sounds of African birdlife. The Fish Eagle calls from his perch in a tree across the water. In the large tree next to me a colorful African Black-headed Oriole calls in its liquid voice as it explores the leafy branches. A couple of Grey Crowned Cranes fly across the dam with their honking call while a noisy group of Hadeda Ibis leave their roosting place and follow them in search of their morning snack of worms. An unknown call comes from the Fynbos nearby and I will have to get help in identifying the “wip, wip, wip” call.

The Cape Otters did not disappoint as they passed the slipway in front of the boat house in a joyful celebration of water life. A group of Vervet monkeys explored the trees towards Home Creek and the Water Bailiff returning from a morning outing on his canoe told me he saw, close up, a beautiful pair of Bush Buck coming to drink. A last minute paddle on my small boat resulted in a beautiful Rainbow trout and so my pride as a fisherman was at least partially restored.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks for the comments- Gubu is great.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      What a glorious adventure this must have been. To be treated to such an array of birdies, flitting here and there, and to see the other wildlife too is akin to no other experience. Up close and personal in nature is breathtaking every time.

      And, the trout was the cherry on top of the whole day!! Good for you.

      sending you Angels today :) ps

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds like a wonderful place to spend the day, Johan.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)