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Page History: Darvill Resources Park

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Page Revision: 2008/10/08 14:25

Darvill Sewage Works, as it was formerly known, is a well-known birding spot boasting a list of over 280 species. A full morning’s visit should produce 50-60 species in winter and over 100 species in summer.


African Rail,Baillon's Crake, Black Crake, Green Sandpiper, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Red-headed Quelea, and about nine species of warblers.


1) The birds occurring on the top four settling ponds vary according the water levels. Usually the top two ponds consist mud flats and reeds and hold Palearctic waders in summer, African Jacana, African Rail and seed-eaters including Orange-breasted Waxbill. Yellow Wagtail are infrequent visitors to these mudflats The bottom two ponds hold the major attraction for waterfowl. Every species of waterfowl occurring in southern Africa has been recorded here with the exception of northern Northern Pintail. Large flocks of waders also summer here and other species to watch for include the breeding Black-winged Stilt, African Snipe, Baillon's Crake and Black Crake. The best to observe the elusive Baillon's Crake is to sit quietly and scan the exposed mudflats near the reeds for a foraging crake (and don’t forget that if you have never seen one before, they are much smaller than one would expect.) Hides have been erected to facilitate birding on these ponds.

2) Of significant interest to birders are the strip ponds located at the bottom of the Park (near the Umsunduzi river.) A Green Sandpiper is often around here during mid-summer. This is the best locality for Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Lesser Moorhen (scarce) and reed-haunting warblers. In summer all the following warblers can be found in this vicinity : Marsh Warbler, Great Reed-Warbler, Sedge Warbler, African Reed-Warbler, Lesser Swamp-Warbler, Little Rush-Warbler and Dark-capped Yellow Warbler. This is also the best area to search for Red-headed Quelea, which feed on grass stalks between the strip ponds.

3) The surrounding woodlands and secondary growth, which have been largely cleared and replaced by indigenous tree and shrubs, are worthwhile scanning for birds including Brown-backed Honeybird, Red-backed Mannikin, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Willow Warbler, Marsh Warbler and Klaas's Cuckoo.

4) Overhead, swallows and swifts are usually present. Amongst the usual species; Barn Swallow, Lesser Striped Swallow, Greater Striped Swallow, White-throated Swallow, Black Saw-wing, Rock Martin, Brown-throated Martin, Little Swift, White-rumped Swift, African Black Swift and African Palm-Swift. Rarities such as Pearl-breasted Swallow and Red-breasted Swallow and South African Cliff-Swallow have been recorded. Common House-Martin and Alpine Swift make occasional appearances. Recently recorded raptor rarities include European Honey-Buzzard, African Cuckoo Hawk and Sooty Falcon. More frequently observed raptors are African Fish-Eagle, African Harrier-Hawk, Osprey (summer only) and Black Sparrowhawk. Marabou Stork have been recorded overhead on several occasions.


The turnoff for this Pietermaritzburg site is just before the intersection of New England and Murray Roads on New England Road (past the Maritzburg Golf Course and city council refuse site.) A small entrance fee is now applicable.

Contact: City Engineer's Office Telephone: +27 33 396 1315

Adam Riley 2001. Rockjumper Birding Tours

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