(The King Penguin at Buffelsbay near Cape Point caused a huge sensation in birding circles this week. Our appreciation goes to Trevor Hardaker for his report, as well as the latest unfortunate news on the bird. Brian Taylor was the first member to forward images and we thank him for the use of his photographs. – Ed.)
Well, well, well, things have definitely taken a turn for the better…😊
After what seemed like an eternity of just plodding along sedately while everywhere else seemed to be reeling in the goodies, the Western Cape finally put up its hand to be counted yesterday with the discovery of a KING PENGUIN found at Buffels Bay near Cape Point. Naturally, vagrant Penguins are always met with some skeptism by twitchers as to whether they are going to be left in place or removed, but an onsite inspection indicated that the bird seemed to be in good health and very relaxed and so it was agreed that the bird should be left in place. And, causing many smiles all around, it remained on to entertain twitchers throughout today as well.
This appears to be the 11th record of this species for Southern Africa. The first record I can find reference of is from back in 1975 in Llandudno, although details on this one are a little sketchy. The only other records that I can find reference to are from January 1977 at Bloubergstrand, January 1982 at the Sundays River mouth, August 2005 at Camp's Bay, January 2007 at St Francis Bay, May 2007 at Black Rocks near Cape Point, October 2007 in Milnerton, February 2009 at Cape St Francis, January 2016 at St Lucia and, most recently, May 2017 in Hout Bay (which a couple of thousand birders were still on the Flock at Sea AGAIN cruise). There may be others that have been taken in at rehabilitation centres that I am not aware of though!
Whatever the case, this is certainly the first twitchable one in living memory and is definitely proving extremely popular! By this afternoon, more than 360 twitchers had already been to see it (well, those of them that had sent me their names already!) and, should it remain into the weekend, those numbers would be expected to climb substantially!
Ladies and Gents,
I have been asked to circulate the following newsflash by SANParks. Unfortunately, I have no involvement with this, nor any ability to change things, so am sharing this purely for information to all of you.
“NEWSFLASH! King Penguin Update - Cape Point
1 November 2019
Since the arrival of the King Penguin who has waddled its way onto Buffels Bay Beach in Cape Point this past Wednesday, it has gained tremendous interest from birdwatchers across Cape Town and South Africa.
We, as SANParks Table Mountain National Park and SANCCOB, have monitored the bird over the past few days and have come to the decision to safely relocate the bird this afternoon to a secluded beach within Cape Point, for the safety and well-being of the bird.
Following assements done by a DEFF representative and SANCCOBs Clinical Veterinarian, the bird appears to be healthy and in very good body condition. Though his friendly interactions with tourists has shown his great character, he has moved further onto the parking area, near the entrance of the picnic site at Buffels Bay, and is at risk of overheating and being hit by a car.
We are closely monitoring the bird and have to consider the welfare of the bird if we see signs of stress (anthropogenic and/or heat) and moulting.
There will be a continuous SANParks presence on site during the day to ensure that the bird is given its space to move freely between land and sea.”
Sorry about that! I'm sure that there are going to be many upset people when they see this news, but please don't shoot the messenger here...