BIRDLIFE OVERBERG AT AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK FOR WATER DAY
Posted on the 24th March 2017
Members of BirLife Overberg were invited by the staff of the Agulhas National Park to join them in celebrating World Water Day on 23 March on a walk focusing the attention on the importance of freshwater and to advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Group being briefed by Emmerentia de Kock of SANParks
A group of 10 left Hermanus early this morning for the NP. We were not sure about the weather as the forecast was for rain later in the day. On the way to Bosheuwel via Papiesvlei and Elim we were fortunate to spot 24 species including Jackal Buzzard, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Harrier, Denham's Bustard, Bokmakierie, African Pipit, Capped Wheatear, Cape Longclaw, Fork-tailed Drongo, Large-billed Lark and Barn Swallows.
Juvenile African Harrier-Hawk
At Bosheuwel we met Emmerentia de Kock and other staff of the park. We were also joined by others birders from Napier and Agulhas. The ±6Km walk through the wetlands was from Rhenosterkop past the salt pan and back to Bosheuwel. Emme informed the group about the ongoing alien clearing done by the Working for Water. Apparently large parts of the park used to be covered in alien invasive plants. Now one can enjoy the renosterveld, restios and other local Fynbos.
Birding was not all that exciting during the walk as it was overcast and a slight wind was blowing. We did see Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Clapper Lark and Cape Longclaw. On the salt pan there was a fairly large pod of Great White Pelicans and a few White-breasted Cormorants.
Chris could not join the walk so he did birding around Renostervlei and the river below Bosheuwel and added Water Thick-knee, Yellow and Red Bishop, Laughing Dove, Kittlitz and Common Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Fiscal Flycatcher, Common Buzzard, Greater Flamingo and Karoo Prinia to name but a few.
Along the perimeter of the salt pan we saw a small number of young dead tortoises. SANParks staff were not sure of the reason why this happened. For some strange reason an adult tortoise attempted to cross the drying salt pan and succumbed on the way. It was literally stuck in the SALT.
Back at Bosheuwel we enjoyed lunch before leaving in search of the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. Only a few Km from Bosheuwel Chris spotted this much sought-after and very rare bird for our region in a tree alongside the gravel road. While we were there three or four other Bee-eaters entertained us.
On our way back we stopped at the Napier sewage works. There we added Blacksmith Lapwing, Yellow-billed Duck, Cape Shoveler, Little Grebe, Cape and Red-billed Teal and Three-banded Plover to the list.
To complete the list of 40+ species Conrad and I were very fortunate to see a Secretarybird and a number of Blue Cranes.
Thanks to SANParks for the kind invitation and to Chris for co-ordinating the trip. Really appreciated.
23 March 2017.
(Images by Chris Cheetham, Carl Swart and Conrad van Heerden)
(It seems as if our involvement in the greater Agulhas region is increasing rapidly. Check the following out under “events” on the club website: SATURDAY 8 APRIL: Agulhas Buttonquail Birding Bash - contact Chris Cheetham if you want to participate, but book soon/ 27 April (A public holiday): Steve Peck will introduce us to the birding delights of the Napier region/ THURSDAY 11 & FRIDAY 12 MAY: FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS COURSE at the Bosheuwel EE Centre in the Agulhas National Park. Contact Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 455 8402 for details and to register. - Ed.)