WALKIES ROUND THE ESTUARY, A 380 DEGREE TURN
This came about, because we realized the need for a re-assurgency in interest and to keep our members updated on the surrounds.
On Saturday morning, the 20th of October to be precise, for an hour an a half, a group of ‘Girls’ from the Umgeni Estuary Conservancy decided to do a “Tester Walk”. We went from the Riverside Hotel, where we parked our cars, across the Athlone Bridge to the Green Hub, where we talked to the staff and then across the new cycle/pedestrian walkaway on the M4 Bridge. There is a fantastic view of the uMngeni Estuary and the mouth of the great river, as well as the Mangroves and the waves of the Indian Ocean.
ON THE NEW WALKAWAY ON M4 BRIDGE
The Bird species that we saw were recorded by Denise Tsouris and Reinette van Rooyen.
Swift Terns; Whitebreasted Cormorants; Grey Herons; Greyheaded Gulls, Hadeda Ibises; Bleating Warber; Indian Mynahs; Blacksmith Plovers (Lapwing); Little Egret; White Pelicans; Pied Crow; Red Bishops; Spoonbill: Little Swifts; White-eyes; Yellow-billed Kites; Common Sandpiper.
We also saw this beautiful sight, the dense growth of Avicennia marina (White Mangrove). Because of the habit of this Mangrove as a pioneer plant, this area of the Estuary has been established quite quickly. Also, the fact that there are no big natural floods or any other ones, to be honest, so nature has not taken it’s course, and flushed out the river. This kind of area is not conducive to bird-life because of the White Mangroves mud-flats, with not a lot of fish or insect life. The fish nursery area has also probably decreased, due to pollution and lack of the right nutrients that come down with floods.
We also popped in at the Beachwood Mangroves EzemveloKZN Wildlife Open Day, where they were show-casing the new Education Centre.
EzemveloKZN Wildlife Honorary Officer Ron Horley (who is also on the Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Committee) with some of ‘The Girls’
Then the Rain started, but it was only light, as we left the Mangroves and proceeded across the Big Field, surrounded by Trees and onto the newly completed First section of the Paved Cycle-track. It was looking good and we were all in a cheery mood, despite from getting wet.
We walked past the Hibiscus tillaceus (Lagoon Hibiscus) Hedge
And up Soofie Saheb Rd to the back entrance of the Riverside Hotel.
Hazrath Soofie Saheb was born in 1848 on the west coast of India. He came to South Africa in 1895. He established the first Khanqah on the northern banks of the uMngeni River. He built a mosque, madressa, orphanage and catered for the elderly and destitute. Two cemeteries were also established. I gather that some of the complexes on Riverside Rd, are built on top of the some of the graves. And then up to the Group Areas Act after 1961, this land on the north bank of the River was reserved for people of European descent and all other people had to leave their homes for other areas. It is only fairly recent in the late 1980’s that this law fell away and that the name of the Road was changed to Soofie Saheb.