Zoetendal Field Trip Report – Yet another great Overberg birding spot
Posted on the 28th October 2018
Zoetendal Winery Field Trip Report – 25 October 2018
On a very hot and sunny morning 13 members of BirdLife Overberg met at the Zoetendal Winery just outside Elim to bird their premises.
By 8.30 in the morning it was already 25c so we put our best foot forward and started to walk along a dirt road leading through a patch of wetlands. Almost straight away the call and then good sightings were made of a number of Little Rush-Warblers, followed by a Purple Heron exploding out of the grasses almost the same time as a Black-headed one flew overhead.
Little Rush Warbler showing broad tail - Image by Steve Peck
Purple Heron - Image by Riaan Jacobs
Levaillant’s Cisticolas were spotted in courtship dance above the reeds and all three of the African Stonechats put in an appearance (Mum, Dad and junior)
Also seen were Blacksmith Plovers, Water Thick-knee’s, African Pipits and Cape Wagtails.
Overhead soared a great sighting of a Forest Buzzard followed by African Spoonbill and Sacred Ibis.
Water Thick-knee - Image by Brian Taylor
Blacksmith Lapwing - Image by Brian
Forest Buzzard - Image by Riaan
Greater Striped Swallows - Image by Steve
We decided to move to the second location, so it was back to the cars, and back to the winery to check out their bird hide, and for those with some energy left, a short walk to two small dams over a wooden river bridge.
On the way Greater Striped Swallows were observed gathering mud for their nest in an old pump station, and soaring overhead with them were Brown-throated Martins, Saw-wings and White-throated Swallows. From the hide a family of Egyptian geese and Yellow-billed ducks were spotted and then obligingly a Reed Cormorant came and sat right next to the hide…you could here the flurry of camera clicks for miles!
Those that walked to the dams were rewarded with Common Waxbills, Cape Wagtails, Yellow Bishops and another Purple Heron.
But by now it was extremely hot, over 30c, so a cool drink was beckoning back at the winery, but on the way back, Cape Canary, African Darter, Drongo and Fiscal Flycatcher were all added to the list.
Once settled onto the terrace at the restaurant things started to get exciting as a flyby by a Yellow-billed Kite was made and then a Black Harrier (juv) was spotted in the tree line and came to rest in the bushes nearby.
Down at a small dam through the shimmering heat haze we spotted Spur-winged geese, Hadeda Ibis, Three-banded Plover and flying around were Barn Swallows.
The Zoetendal Winery bird hide
Chilling on the patio - Images by Steve
Lastly there was a great sighting of a Marsh Sandpiper in the shallows…
All in all despite the heat over 50+ species were recorded in less than 3 hrs…
So Zoetendal Winery….definitely worth a visit!!
(Some of these images were taken at the Napier sewage works or along the route to Zoetendal winery. Our thanks and appreciation to Steve Peck for organising this outing and forwarding this report – Ed.)