Posted on the 3rd August 2017

Paarl Outing – Saturday 15th July.

We woke up to a VERY cold and rainy morning so I and 3 stalwart friends thought we would be the only “mad birders”; but no, another 4 people arrived at our meeting place. There was much discussion about whether we should or should not go to Paarl, and then the decision was made….. we would go. Once in Paarl we realized that the mountain gardens were definitely out, as there was no mountain to be seen! So we made our way to the Waste Water Treatment Plant (the polite version of Sewage Works). Due to several very unpleasant incidences, security is taken extremely seriously. After signing in, we had to carry a security guard inside each car and behind us travelled a security van, with yet another guard plus dog patrolling the area. This didn’t make for easy birding, but we had no choice. Not much of particular interest was seen to start with and then a Malachite Kingfisher looking stunning as some rays of sun were shining through, dived continuously into the “river”. Purple Swamphens always look good and at the heronry Cattle Egrets, Grey and Black-headed Herons, but sadly no Black-crowned Night-Herons. Cape, Red-billed and Hottentot Teals were all present, as were Little Grebe and literally dozens of Common Moorhens. Well spotted a Black Sparrow-Hawk sitting quietly in a tree. We knew that a Northern Shoveler (a rarity) had been seen, but we didn’t hold out much hope. Two lonely Greater Flamingos and a few Black-winged Stilts were near the island. Many Cape Shovelers were swimming around and there, in their midst was the beautiful Northern Shoveler! Such close and stunning views and he was far more gorgeous than any picture in the books. How fantastic, we were all thrilled and the security guards joined in our excitement! As he swam around the island we saw 4 White-faced Whistling Ducks and a pair of Hottentot Teal. Many Grey-headed and Hartlaub’s Gulls were flying around, and a small flock of Guinea Fowl were scuttling through the grass. By this time the drizzle was coming down and so we called it a day and found a great café where most enjoyed a full late breakfast and we discussed what we all thought had been a really great birding morning, with a tally of 24 species seen.
Jill Mortimer


















(Images by Anton)


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