THE BEST EVER SA RARE BIRD NEWS REPORT FOR THE WESTERN CAPE!
Posted on the 6th December 2016
(Trevor Hardaker's SA Rare Bird News of 5 December certainly illustrates why the Western Cape is tops when it comes to birding in general and producing huge twitches in particular. - Ed.)
On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, there is no doubt that the spotlight remained firmly on Strandfontein Sewage Works over the weekend where Southern Africa's 7th TEMMINCK'S STINT continued to perform favourably for the large crowds. It seems to show a tendency of performing well in the mornings and then disappearing during the heat of the day with only very erratic appearances, but then showing again more consistently in the late afternoons. Whatever the case, it has certainly not stopped the crowds and, already, I have the names of 537 birders who have been to see it (and I'm sure the real number is actually quite a bit more than that)! There were plenty of other distractions on the weekend too for twitchers with the AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, an AFRICAN JACANA and a couple of sightings of SAND MARTINS (not reported yesterday or today) throughout the weekend (unless specifically mentioned, all birds were still there today as well). Please also just bear in mind that there are still many birders wanting to travel to see these birds, so please respect the birds and don't try and get too close to them for photos for fear of chasing them off... or else, you will have to deal with the disappointed twitchers...!
And news just in: Tuesday 6 December at 10h36: And Strandfontein just keeps giving although this is “just” a regional rarity.... BAILLON’S CRAKE – a single bird has just been seen and photographed in the western corner of Pan P2 at Strandfontein Sewage Works – reported by Howard Langley.
Elsewhere in the province, the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif remained in place until at least Friday while there was some excitement near Clanwilliam on Saturday when an immature COMMON CUCKOO was located in the gardens of Bushmanskloof Game Reserve and was still there yesterday. Also of interest, it has now been confirmed that the pair of WAHLBERG'S EAGLES on the farm Koetzerskraal near Oudtshoorn have now bred and currently have a chick on a nest there, almost certainly the first breeding record for the province of this species. Other good records included 2 female MONTAGU'S HARRIERS seen yesterday along the N1 at Matjiesfontein just before the Sutherland turn-off while a juvenile PALLID HARRIER was seen along the R62 near Plettenberg Bay on Friday. Lastly, a BLUE WAXBILL was reported from a garden in Akkerdal Avenue in Newlands on Friday, but this record almost certainly refers to an escapee, rather than a genuine vagrant.
Temminck's Stint. Image by Glynis Bowie
Strandfontein twitchers. Image by Chris Cheetham of BirdLife Overberg