Posted on the 18th January 2014

I made the rather nervous decision to skip the pelagic trip today due to a bad cough and faltering voice, and decided to pop out to Vermont Pan to use up the apprehensive hours until the trip returned. Chris Cheetham had recorded a Sedge Warbler at the pan on 1 Jan, and I had optimistic hopes that it might still be around if the habitat was favourable enough.
After 90 minutes or so of searching along the partly flooded path skirting the east and south side of the pan I was delighted to find the Sedge Warbler in the inundated vegetation between the path and the water’s edge, some 120m from where I’d left the car. The bird was interested in Sedge Warbler call and song but remained well hidden, and while I was trying to cobble together a few acceptable record shots I noticed a juv Baillon’s Crake quietly going about its business in inlets in the flooded grass, also persistently under the dry shrubs / sedges. Both birds declined to spend time in the open but I was able to accumulate reasonable views.
For those who might head out that way you take the Onrus / Vermont turnoff from the R43 at the traffic lights adjacent to the Onrus Trading Post and turn right into Rockhopper Close a few hundred metres down the road. Park at the parking area on the water’s edge and walk southward along the concrete pathway for some 120 metres. The birds were both in the flooded grass / shrub / sedge 20m or so after the second bench.
forgot to mention that also of interest was a huge flock of Common Swifts and a single House Martin, all in the vicinity of the Karwyderskraal / Swartrivier Road site that held a Common Cuckoo earlier in the week. I was unable to find the cuckoo, but as it was after midday that’s maybe not too surprising.
Kind regards, and good luck if you are chasing these.
John Graham.

Image by Charles Naude - BirdLife Overberg


TREVOR HARDAKER (posted: 2014-01-25 08:33:09)
SEDGE WARBLER - still present this morning at Vermont Pan in the brown scrub just beyond the second bench along the concrete path - reported by Clyde Porter.
Kind regards
TREVOR HARDAKER (posted: 2014-01-21 14:48:12)
SEDGE WARBLER – the single bird at Vermont Pan near Hermanus is still present this morning. Walk from the car park along the concrete path until just after the second bench and the bird is in the vegetation in that area between the path and the water – reported by Simon Fogarty.
Kind regards
INGRID UYS (posted: 2014-01-20 08:11:27)
Neither a fairly extensive early morning search nor a late morning search yielded any sign of the cuckoo. We did see a Spotted Flycatcher in the patch of bluegums near the barn (at the turnoff) and there were plenty of Common Swifts about.
We enjoyed success with the Sedge Warbler thanks to the efforts of Trevor Hardakar and Vernon Head. The bird called a fair bit but kept itself so well hidden and so constantly on the move low down in the undergrowth that we only enjoyed brief, clear views of it. It's a lovely spot and at any time one could relieve the frustration of peering down into low-visibility bushes trying to see an 'invisible' bird by simply lifting one's eyes and enjoying the clearly visible waterbirds!
Ingrid Uys and Felicity Elmore
SIMON FOGARTY (posted: 2014-01-18 16:37:15)
Shaun and I have organised to leave my house at 6.30 tomorrow. If anyone would like to join us either contact Shaun or me on 082 3482465.