A drive this afternoon along the Swartrivier Road and past Teslaarsdal in search of birds revealed mostly the usual suspects, however, I was amazed to see no fewer than 19 Denham’s Bustards. I thought there might be a good collective noun for them, but it is just a ‘flock of bustards’. Never mind, they were still pretty spectacular, but I would gladly have swapped a dozen of them for a Secretarybird!
A quick foray into the area between Caledon and Teslaarsdal this afternoon produced a few birds for my Challenge list. The most exciting one was a Black Stork, something which we only rarely see in the region. Of course, there were all the usual suspects, but with the area becoming ever drier, it is increasingly difficult to add new species. A welcome sight was a flock of no less than 51 White storks.
A pleasant couple of hours birding this afternoon between Gansbaai and the Uilenkraal lagoon proved quite productive. I went to Gansbaai hoping to see the Elegant Tern that was reported there about a week ago. After quite a search, I gave up and headed back towards my car. Then I decided to have one more look, and there it was!! I was overjoyed.
The rest of the afternoon produced Common Ringed Plovers, Grey Plovers, Little Stints, White-fronted Plovers. Ruddy Turnstones, Common Whimbrels, Common Sandpipers and all the usual suspects! I was able to add quite a few species to my Challenge list.
Fifteen walkers turned up this morning for a quick two hour hike in Fernkloof. The weather was good with some cloud, but no rain (much needed in these parts). There was not a lot to see on the flower front, however, we met up with the BotSoc flower group, who seemed pretty enthralled with what they were looking at!
As far as birds were concerned, there were the usual Orange-breasted Sunbirds and many calls from Cape Grassbids, but the highlight of the day was a trio of Ground Woodpeckers, whose loud calls drew our attention to their presence on a rock above us.
This morning we were lucky to spot a Red-backed Shrike whilst out birding along the Swartrivier road. This species is quite rare in the area, so we were well pleased with our find. We had just seen a Denham’s Bustard, a pair of Secretarybirds and a dozen White Storks, as well as many smaller species. It was a good outing!
A morning at Jessie Walton’s bird friendly farm and garden is always a pleasure and today was no exception. We spent a couple of hours there and Jessie was a great host, showing us around and introducing us to her young raptors in rehabilitation. There was a juvenile Cape Buzzard in her cage as it is too young to be set free and there was also a juvenile African Harrier-Hawk in a tree in her garden. The walk around the dam was productive with a good selection of water birds and we were able to boost our challenge list quite considerably.
A cruise on the Klein River this morning with the Hermanus Bird Club proved to be fruitful. We saw a total of 55 species and these included a wonderful sighting of a Martial Eagle soaring overhead. Other raptors noted were African Harrier-Hawk, African Fish Eagle, Jackal Buzzard and Common Buzzard. There were many African Darters and Kingfishers, and all the usual waterbirds, although we did not go far enough downstream to see any Flamingos. The weather was perfect and the cruise ended all too soon, but we had a great outing!