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Ken Borland



Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve 0

Posted on January 19, 2018 by Ken

 

Blue Duiker

Blue Duiker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amidst the suburban bustle of East London, the Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve is a small oasis in which majestic Crowned Eagles can be spotted side-by-side with the more prosaic Hadeda Ibis.

In fact, when I visited the reserve in Beacon Bay, I was fortunate enough to see a Crowned Eagle, flying majestically low over the coastal forest, although it was seemingly being chased by a Hadeda, which was following right behind it!

Considering that Hadedas are actually amongst the Crowned Eagle’s favourite avian prey, it is way more likely that it was just an illusion of perspective and the Ibis would have been keeping its distance from the powerful raptor.

The favourite prey of the Crowned Eagle is Dassies and Blue Duiker, and there were lots of the little antelope around, easily spotted on the various paths through the forest.

The 77km long Nahoon River is the centrepiece of the reserve and an excellent boardwalk allows one to explore the tidal flats as well as Africa’s southern-most mangrove forest.

The river bank no doubt provides breeding sites for Black Saw-Wing Swallow, and a pair of these summer visitors were sailing above a clearing in the coastal forest, along with Lesser Striped Swallows. Forktailed Drongos stand guard on prominent perches, one of them having a weird double tail moult.

Forktailed Drongo with double tail-moult

Forktailed Drongo with double tail-moult

Whitebreasted Cormorant fly over along the estuary, with Tawnyflanked Prinia in bushes on the flats, Spottedbacked Weavers in the reeds and Goliath Heron and Little Egret patrolling the water’s edge.

There are rocky areas as well, while pristine forest is tightly packed on the dunes bordering the river and the Indian Ocean. Trails criss-cross this enticing habitat and a pair of Greenbacked Camaropteras were jumping around next to the path, while Terrestrial Bulbul kept to themselves in the thicker stuff.

Where is the Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve?

 

Sightings list

Blue Duiker

Sombre Bulbul

Bronze Mannikin

Whitebreasted Cormorant

Forktailed Drongo

Laughing Dove

Redeyed Dove

Tawnyflanked Prinia

Black Saw-Wing Swallow

Crowned Eagle

Hadeda Ibis

Goliath Heron

Little Egret

Greenbacked Camaroptera

Terrestrial Bulbul

Lesser Striped Swallow

Spottedbacked Weaver

Cape White-Eye

Cape White-Eyes having a bath

Cape White-Eyes having a bath

 

Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve 0

Posted on October 24, 2017 by Ken

 

Nestled between the rampant development of Umhlanga Rocks is a little 26 ha sanctuary of coastal bush, a refuge for birds and small mammals amidst all the hotels and holiday homes that are mushrooming along the coast north of Durban.

The Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve, with its coastal dune forest, reed beds, ponds and the Ohlange River’s lagoon and mouth, provides an ideal getaway for the public to spend a few hours reconnecting with nature, and there are plenty of interesting birds waiting to be discovered.

The Eastern Olive Sunbird is largely restricted to these coastal forests and it disappears readily into the thick foliage, it’s dark olive plumage lacking any of the metallic shininess of the other sunbirds.

But it makes up for this unobtrusive behaviour by being amongst the most vocal of all sunbirds, and, in a couple of hours spent in the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve, I managed to find four different individuals singing little “whit-peep” songs from inside the trees.

As charming as the reserve is though, one cannot help but be dismayed by the pace of development squeezing it from all sides; the difference between my January 2014 visit and my previous foray to Umhlanga in 2003 was stark.

A Purplecrested Lourie flew into a bare tree above the forest and seemed to look around anxiously, seemingly perplexed by all the development going on around the oasis of green.

Nevertheless, three species of Weaver can be found in the reserve, including nesting Yellow Weavers, and there were fleeting glimpses of Tawnyflanked Prinia, as well as a Slender Mongoose scampering away into the reedbeds, just proving the wide range of habitats these carnivores can inhabit.

Common Sandpiper and Pied Kingfisher are prominent along the lagoon, while there always seems to be a Goliath Heron around.

Thickbilled Weaver can either be found nesting in the reeds or foraging on the way back through the forest.

Sightings list

Cape Wagtail

Spottedbacked Weaver

Blackeyed Bulbul

Yellow Weaver

Tawnyflanked Prinia

Purplecrested Lourie

Eastern Olive Sunbird

Cape White-Eye

Sombre Bulbul

Southern Red Bishop

Slender Mongoose

Common Sandpiper

Pied Kingfisher

Blackheaded Heron

Goliath Heron

Hadeda Ibis

Bronze Mannikin

Thickbilled Weaver

 

Sea of bad news for Dolphins but Morgan positive 0

Posted on June 15, 2016 by Ken

 

New coach Grant Morgan has just completed his first week at the Dolphins amidst a sea of bad news for the KwaZulu-Natal franchise, but as a dogged former cricketer he says the challenges will be turned into positives.

The Dolphins have lost marquee stars in David Miller and Kyle Abbott, international all-rounder Ryan McLaren and up-and-coming players like Mathew Pillans, Jonathan Vandiar, Daniel Sincuba, Craig Kirsten and Aya Myoli, while their CEO, Pete de Wet, confirmed this week that he will be leaving his post at the end of July to become the chief executive of Central Districts in New Zealand.

“They can knock down Kingsmead stadium and move us all to Chatsworth and I won’t mind. I expect more challenges in the role and we will turn them into positives. A lot of people will look at us and say we’re in trouble, maybe underestimate us, and we can trade on that. There are some gems in KZN cricket that people don’t even know about,” Morgan told Saturday Citizen on Friday.

While the 44-year-old is not the high-profile, internationally-experienced coach some Dolphins fans were hoping for – it’s not as if the franchise has billions of rand to attract that sort of figure – Morgan fits the bill as a well-travelled and successful coach.

“The first challenge I had to get over was people always saying I haven’t coached at that level. But I’ve been involved with 19 different teams and encountered a lot of cultures and circumstances, at four different unions, some universities, IPL teams and overseas clubs.

“And there are a couple of lurkers in this Dolphins squad that most people in South Africa don’t know about, guys I really feel can make a jump up, they can jump out of the pack. Some are already good enough for the next level, I just need to build their self-belief. I tell them all that when they come back to Kingsmead for a 10-year reunion, I want them to say these were the greatest days of their lives,” Morgan said.

The winner of four domestic trophies with the KZN Inland side wants his players to be lion-hearted and brave in their cricket.

“We want to play positive and attractive cricket, although you always want the bragging rights of being able to win. But we need an aggressive brand that will turn people back to Kingsmead, we need to show that we are enjoying what we do. I’ll encourage them to take the risk, but be humble players.

“I also don’t want to isolate the amateur guys, I’ll be working with the semi-professional team coaches Shane Burger and Roger Telemachus. Those players must see that I am there for them too, I want to draw the net wider and develop them too, make them believe that they can step up as well,” Morgan said.

 

The matchfixing spotlight falls on disgruntled Bodi 0

Posted on January 17, 2016 by Ken

 

 

Amidst all the anger and despondency at the news that Gulam Bodi has been charged with contriving to corrupt domestic T20 matches, we should not lose sight of the fact that Cricket South Africa and their anti-corruption officials have pounced on the former international so decisively.

In the wake of former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns’ astonishing acquittal, cricket administrators have realised that they have to tread methodically and precisely because the standards of evidence required to secure a criminal conviction are higher than they imagined.

CSA announced on November 6, just five days into the RamSlam T20 Challenge, that they had started an investigation into an international syndicate seeking to corrupt domestic games and then, on December 15, they revealed an “intermediary” had been charged.

That was after the conclusion of the T20 competition and much attention has fallen on the Cape Cobras’ bizarre loss to the Dolphins in the semi-final playoff in Durban. The visitors were on 154 for three in the 16th over, chasing 179, and somehow managed to lose by five runs.

It is known that there was considerable concern amongst the Cobras management in the wake of the defeat, but given the fact that all domestic players were by then aware that CSA was on to something, the finger of suspicion maybe should not rest on a team that perhaps merely suffered one of those inexplicable implosions that make cricket such a fascinating game.

The RamSlam T20 Challenge was apparently not the only competition to have been improperly interfered with: The season-opening Africa T20 Cup was allegedly where the nonsense started. It was a televised event, without much at stake, featuring some of the younger, and therefore more naïve, players on the domestic circuit – the perfect breeding ground for matchfixers.

And now Bodi has been named as the South African at the centre of it all.

The former KwaZulu-Natal, Titans, Highveld Lions and Delhi Daredevils cricketer, whose international appearances were restricted to three limited-overs games in 2007, was the type of player that calamity just seemed to follow around – his career was dotted with comical run outs, extraordinary ways of getting out and even off the field he would do things like rolling his cart on team golf days.

Now one wonders whether the bizarre luck was just that or something else, something more deliberate?

And that is the biggest damage done by the disease of matchfixing – the doubts over whether all the weird and wonderful things you have seen on the cricket field are real or contrived?

A batsman who swings so freely from the crease like Bodi did is likely to get out in “soft” fashion from time to time, but the player born in Hathuran, India, always struck me as being a little disgruntled.

He was forever talking up his own performances and complaining about not getting fair opportunities. This from one of the players who was chosen ahead of Kevin Pietersen in KZN – in the days when they were both considered spin-bowling prospects – thanks to efforts to give players of colour more opportunity.

But the three international caps were well-deserved because Bodi was once one of the most free-scoring, dangerous top-order batsmen in domestic cricket.

However, the danger will always exist that players who feel hard done by, who believe they are not getting their due, could turn to the “dark side”. Judging by the rumours of white players going on strike, there is currently a large group of dissatisfied franchise cricketers and that should be a grave concern for CSA.

 



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