BirdLife Overberg Field Trip at Napier – 28 April 2018
Posted on the 28th April 2018
A dozen intrepid birders met at Napier sewage works for the start of a morning’s birding in the Napier area.
A slow walk around the works revealed the usually suspects…Red-billed Teal, Cape Teal, Yellow-billed Ducks and Cape Shoveler.
Water Thick-knees, Black-winged Stilts and Three-banded Plovers hugged the bank sides, whilst Brown-throated Martins and Sacred Ibis flew overhead.
Tucked into the reed beds were Lesser Swamp-Warblers and popping in and out was a Common Moorhen. Little Grebes were on all the ponds and a nice sighting of a juvenile with their parents was spotted.
We all moved onto the tar road heading to the dirt roads of the wheatbelt region and Cattle Egret and Grey-winged Francolins alongside Hadeda Ibis and Rock Kestrel were seen.
On the start of the dirt towards Klipdale we saw our first Blue Cranes, ones on many seen along the trip.
A slow drive revealed plenty of specialists like African Stonechats, Plain-backed and African Pipits, Red- capped Larks and Large-billed Larks.
A stop for a chat and break was made and a unanimous decision was made to try and locate the Agulhas Long-billed Lark…this would be a lifer for many on the trip!
So we set off in search of our quarry!!
We soon came across Crowned Plovers, Spur-winged and Egyptian Geese, and Cape Sparrow and Red Bishops sat on the wires in their droves. A nice spot of a Yellow Bishop was made alongside Cape and Yellow Canaries.
A male Namaqua Dove posed for shots on the phone lines and the sighting of the day for me (though sadly no photos) was made as we drove over a ridge…a huge male Jackal Buzzard feeding on a fresh carcass of a Bat-eared Fox in the middle of the road!
Then 19, yes 19 Denham’s Bustards took flight and crossed the road in front of us. Another 5 more were seen a little later making 24 for the day!
A stop for coffee was made and Familiar Chat and African Stonechats were all around us. with Blue Cranes in the fields nearby.
Back on the road and our search continued, more larks and pipits at every corner, plovers and even some great sightings of Yellow-tailed Mongoose, Grey Rheebok and Steenbok were had, but no Agulhas Long-billed Lark!!
Just as we were giving up hope a lone one was spotted…. cameras at the ready, binoculars focused. but it was gone quickly and not everyone had the sighting!!
But never mind, onwards we went and then bingo….two Agulhas Long-billed Larks right next to the car…and then to top it all, one went and sat on a pole and allowed the cars to get close in for that great shot.
So now happy and contented we headed back to Napier feeling pleased with our morning’s work….over 60+ birds recorded and the special lifer as well!
(Our appreciation expressed to Steve Peck for leading the outing and submitting this lovely report. These images were taken previously and will be replaced by images of participants as these are received.)