Monday the 1st of November was a declared public holiday in South Africa, to allow for the running of the municipal elections. Of course this little gift of a long weekend was too good to pass up, so the de Wets headed north into the Bushveld for a two night visit to the Nylsvley Nature Reserve – one of our country’s most highly-rated bird watching destinations.
Duck’s Den #3 at Nylsvley Nature Reserve, October 2021
Giraffe traversing the plains of Nylsvley
Decaying log or natural scuplture?
One of the hides at Vogelfontein in Nylsvley Nature Reserve, with waterbuck in the foreground
Exploring Nylsvley in the early morning
True to its reputation, Nylsvley delivered abundantly on the bird front during our visit, despite the fact that many of the summer regulars haven’t arrived in South Africa yet and despite most of the wetlands being completely dry at the end of the dry season. We managed to tick 82 species of birds without trying very hard.
Black-shouldered Kite preparing to dive onto its prey
Chinspot Batis (photo by Joubert)
Common Myna – not a species you want to see in a Nature Reserve, being an invasive exotic
Grey Go-away Bird (photo by Joubert)
Northern Black Korhaan male in flight
Ostrich (photo by Joubert)
Red-breasted Swallow (photo by Joubert)
Immature Saddle-billed Stork
Secretary Bird in flight
Southern Masked Weaver male
Spur-winged Goose (photo by Joubert)
Female Violet-backed Starling
Female Violet-eared Waxbill
Wattled Lapwing (photo by Joubert)
White-browed Sparrow Weaver
Yellow-billed Hornbill with a stinkbug
Besides the birds, another reason to visit Nylsvley is the sizable populations of three of South Africa’s rarer antelope species that are found here: Southern Reedbuck, Roan Antelope, and Tsessebe.
Southern Reedbuck ram
Southern Reedbuck ewe
Roan Antelope bull
Roan Antelope cow and calf
Tsessebe and suckling calf
These antelope were just some of the 25 kinds of mammals we encountered during the 48 hours or so we spent at Nylsvley, ranging from bats, squirrels and mice to lofty giraffes.
Bushbuck hiding behind himself
Young Kudu bull
Southern African Tree Squirrel (photo by Joubert)
We found a little waterhole that was well frequented by the reserve’s giraffes, and had great fun photographing the giants as they stooped to drink.
Dribbling Giraffe – photo by Joubert
Even on a smaller scale, Nylsvley has so much to offer!
A substantial ants-nest inside a living tree trunk
Large bee (Amegilla atrocinta) with a big thirst
Dusky Copper butterfly
Common Blue (Leptotes sp) (photo by Joubert)
Speckled Rock Skink
If you’d like to learn more about Nylsvley you are welcome to have a read through a previous post we did on the reserve following a visit in 2017.
Entrance Gate at Nylsvley Nature Reserve
And don’t worry – Marilize and I performed our civic duty by casting our votes as soon as we got back to Pretoria on Monday afternoon. 😉