On the 21st August I had the privilege of taking Dale Wright from Birdlife SA for some birding with our main focus being on the Bitou River and its wetlands, the Keurbooms Estuary and the Keurbooms spit which is the breeding site for the large population of Kelp Gulls.
The morning started off well with the prompt arrival of the Squacco Heron at 09h30 at the small wetland opposite Stonefield Polo Estate. From there we made our way towards Emily Moon for a bird’s eye view of the Bitou River and then drove along the R340 to do some more birding along the Bitou River.
We had a great of sighting an African Fish Eagle and we saw large numbers of Black-winged Stilts and Red-knobbed Coots and many other birds too. One bird that stood out was one Yellow-Billed (Intermediate) Egret which was seen close to the Bitou River Lodge.
Mike Bridgeford informed us that the Palm Swifts had returned to for their third year to Palm Tree at Tsokwane Retirement Home. We were lucky enough to spot three Palm Swifts, just before we decided to leave.
The next stop was to Goose Marsh where we spend a good three quarters of an hour looking at the all the birdlife in the estuary. There were a large number of Swift Terns and Reed Cormorants and even a few Common Greenshanks. The Highlight of the walk here was to see one Greater Flaming and a Caspian Tern as well.
All in all I think Dale had a great opportunity to see the huge variety of bird life that is on offer in the Bitou and the potential for future projects especially with the potential of Kelp Gull Breeding Colony becoming an IBA (Important Bird Area). The Bitou River and Wetlands and the Keurbooms Estuary were also areas that Dale would be looking into and hopefully be able to work side by side with Cape Nature with a few projects.