South Africa, St Lucia, Kwazulu Natal  27/11-9/12/2011

Getting to South Africa from Melbourne proved to be a real saga. We were diverted via Hong Kong as we failed to make our connection in Sydney due to bad weather in Melbourne. When we did arrive in Johannesburg, our bags didn't! We met our Daughter at Joberg and then flew to Durban, where we picked up our hire car and drove up the coast to St Lucia. Our base for two weeks.

I had briefly been to St Lucia in 2010 as part of South African birding trip. I was keen to return and thought it a great place to combine a family trip with some Dragonfly filming and birding.

Videograbs from my South Africa 2011 and 2010 Trip DVDs. See tab at top of page.

Male Vagrant Emperor
Anax ephipigger

Another draw for me was that it was a good place for Vagrant Emperor Anax ephipigger which I had seen the previous year but not filmed. I had also seen this species earlier in the year in Cornwall but again it eluded the Camera.

We based ourselves at Ndiza Lodge in one of their cabanas. Our bags eventually arrived a couple of days later. This place is ideally situated for early morning walks on the Igwalagwala trail as the start of the trail is only a few hundred yards from the lodge.

Livingstone's Turaco

I walked the trail every morning and saw the following species in the area around the Igwalagwala trail (Bold indicates the most sought after species):
Natal Robin-chat
Purple-crested Turaco

Spur-winged Goose 
White-faced Whistling-Duck 
Long-tailed Cormorant 
Goliath Heron 
Woolly-necked Stork 
Yellow-billed Kite 
African Fish-Eagle 
African Goshawk 
Water Thick-knee 
African Jacana 
Gray-headed Gull 
Lemon Dove 
Red-eyed Dove 
Tambourine Dove 
African Green-pigeon
Livingstone's Turaco 
Purple-crested Turaco [
Klaas' Cuckoo 
Little Swift 
White-rumped Swift 
African Palm-swift 
Narina Trogon 
Brown-hooded Kingfisher 
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 
African Hoopoe 
Crowned Hornbill 
Trumpeter Hornbill 
White-eared Barbet 
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird 
Brown Scrub-robin
Scaly-throated Honeyguide 
Golden-tailed Woodpecker
Barn Swallow 
Lesser Striped-swallow 
Black Sawwing
Common Bulbul 
Sombre Greenbul 
Yellow-bellied Greenbul 
Terrestrial Brownbul 
Eastern Nicator (Nicator gularis)
Klass's Cuckoo
Bar-throated Apalis [sp] (Apalis thoracica)
Rudd's Apalis [sp] (Apalis ruddi)
Green-backed Camaroptera 
Ashy Flycatcher 
Red-capped (Natal) Robin-chat 
Brown Scrub-robin 
Woodward's Batis 
African Yellow White-eye 
Collared Sunbird 
Amethyst Sunbird [
Narina Trogon
Black-backed Puffback 
Southern Boubou 
Square-tailed Drongo 
Fork-tailed Drongo 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling 
Violet-backed Starling 
African Pied Wagtail 
House Sparrow 
Spectacled Weaver 
African Golden-weaver 
Southern Brown-throated Weaver 
Lesser Masked Weaver 
Forest Weaver 
Grosbeak Weaver 
Common Waxbill 

Banded Mongoose and Vervet Monkey

Southern Banded Snake-Eagle

Staying at St Lucia meant that we got to drive through the Ismangaliso Park (Previously known as the Greater St Lucia wetlands) many times as the beach at Cape Vidal was Alison and Kirsty's favorite beach.

Greater Kudu

Common Bushbuck

Male Pied Spot
Hemistigma albipunctum

This provided opportunities for mammal watching along the way as well as some great dragonfly Spots. I also managed to catch up with Southern Banded Snake-eagle which I had missed in 2010.

A marsh area with a walking trail near the entrance to the park was also a great place for dragonflies.

Who's been walking on my fresh concrete?

Female Portia Widow
Palpopeura portia
Female Green Hooktail
Paragomphus genei
Dwarf Percher
Diplacodes pumila

Male Robust Skimmer
Orthetrum robustum
I paid a visit to the nearby Monzi golf course where I anticipated there would be some pools to irrigate the course. This proved to a good move, and I found a nice little pool with a number of Dragonfly species present.

Male Blue Basker
Urothemis edwardsii

Male Red Basker
Urothemis assignata

Grizzled Pintail
Acisoma panorpoides

Masai Sprite
Pseudagrion massaicum

We visited Hluhluwe Imfolosi Park on two occasions which is about an hours drive from St Lucia.
The park holds good numbers of White Rhino and smaller numbers of Black. Unfortunately we failed to find the latter and also missed seeing an Lion.

White Rhinoceros
 We saw good numbers of Elephant and had some scary moments when we had to reverse the car pretty quickly.

Southern Giraffe with attending Red-billed Oxpecker



Cape Buffalo