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The Sappi-Stanger Bird Hide is situated just off the N2 at Stanger, some 70km north of Durban. The hide overlooks a large settling pond which is mostly covered by reeds and rafts of water hyacinth. A variety of wader and waterfowl species are attracted in fairly large numbers, and the hide provides opportunity to view a number of difficult wetland species. A visit to the Sappi Stanger Bird Hide can be combined with a visit to Jex Estate at the Umvoti river Mouth.

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Specials

Goliath Heron,Baillon's Crake, Black Crake, Greater Painted-snipe, Yellow Wagtail (in summer), Little Rush-Warbler, Lesser Swamp-Warbler, Sedge Warbler, African Marsh-Harrier, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, and Black-throated Wattle-eye. Recorded vagrants includeSpotted Crake, Lesser Moorhen and Pectoral Sandpiper.

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Facilities

Hide, picnic site and toilets.

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Birding

Birding is straightforward and is limited to the access tracks and the hide.

1. On the way to the Sappi security office, check the dam edges on the left. Greater Painted-snipe have been recorded when water levels are lower and some mud edges are available.

2. On the way to the hide, check the pond edges on your left for waders. Keep an eye out for African Marsh-Harrier quartering over the reeds.

3. At the hide entrance, look out for Black-throated Wattle-eye, African Stonechat, Crested Barbet and Burchell's Coucal.

4. Bird slowly along the path to the hide. Yellow Wagtail feed on the lawn in summer, and Little Rush-Warbler provide confiding views from the reeds. Baillon's Crake have been seen along the pond edges to the right.

5. In the hide, the patch of reeds and grass immediately in front and to the right of the hide is where to watch for Baillon's Crake, Spotted Crake (in summer), and Black Crake, which often provide very confiding views. Lesser Swamp-Warbler and Sedge Warbler provide close-up views as they feed around the hide.

6. On leaving the hide and heading back to the office, take the first track to the right and check for a colony of Southern Brown-throated Weavers.

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Access

Stanger is some 70km north of Durban. At Stanger, turn left off the N2 and after 1km, immediately after crossing a bridge, turn left again to the Sappi Stanger mill. The mill is about 3km along this road. Drive to the very end of the road and the security office entrance is the last gate on the right. Ask at the security office for the key to the hide. You will be required to fill in an indemnity form and visitors book, and will receive a cushion for the hide. Remember to ask for the key to the picnic site if you plan to picnic or possibly use the toilet.

Open daily. Tel: +27 32 437 2222

Guy Gibbon 2007.



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