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THE IMPORTANCE OF REPORTING THOSE RARE BIRDS - EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER

Posted on the 25th March 2010

There had been such a lot of activity on the capebirdnet since Jane Angus first reported the Eurasian Oystercatcher from the Bot river estuary mouth, that I decided to post only a week's worth of these comments.  This clearly illustrates the interest in rare and vagrant birds, as well as the phenomenal growth of birding as a hobby. - Ed.

18 MARCH 2010: Hi all, I went to Meerensee today to look for the European Oystercatcher or "Tjeld" as we call in in Norwegian (quite a common bird up north). I got very good directions from Margaret Mac Iver (Thank you). Unfortunately my regular birding assistant Emma (2 1/2) was busy at school, so I desperately tried to invite someone else on the birdnet yesterday. Wayne Jones took the challenge and he was promptly manned with the scope. I must say that he is quite a lot better than Emma with the scope since he at least looked in it from the right end. After some aimless walking Wayne managed to pick up the bird in the distant far shore. It was just a tiny speckle in the scope. We were contemplating whether to go around in the car or not, when the Oystercatcher made the decision easy for us by flying to our side of the lagoon. We had excellent views and also managed to fire off some photos before he decided to take a hike (the bird). It was quite sunny conditions, so the picture quality could have been better, but please find attached a picture. A gteat thank you to Wayne! Without his scoping we would not have gotten the bird today. Best regards Per

SA RARE BIRD NEWS – 18 MARCH 2010: The EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER at the mouth of the Bot River Lagoon has also still been performing well and was still present today.

19 MARCH 2010: Hi, Quite a few of you asked me for directions to find the Oystercatcher at Meerensee. I only followed the directions given by Felix Koimbury on the birdnet earlier :-) "Directions to Merensee: Take the N2, and turn off at the signpost for Kleinmond and Hermanus. Drive for about 23 km (don't take the Kleinmond turnoff that you will see about 15 km in). Take the Fisherhaven turnoff to your right (there should be another sign saying 'Merensee' just after it). Drive over a speed hump and up to the first stop sign. Turn left (there will be NO sign to tell you that you are headed towards 'Merensee'). This road will bend right and ends at a T- junction. Turn left, and follow this for about a hundred or so metres before turning right into 'Merensee'." This worked. There is a gate but the guard is quite happy to let people in providing you give him a R10 tip. Good luck. Per

19 March 2010: Hi all, I am hoping to go after this one on Sunday or Monday. If anyone does chase it over the weekend or something happens please post the details. Thanks! Karel Marais

19 March 2010: Hi, We are planning to go check it out this weekend. Can anybody (Margaret, Per, others) share the detailed directions to where the bird was seen? Thanks, Peter

20 March 2010: Hi all: Went again this morning with Rose Mills, as she was desperate to see it. Absolutely wonderful, much closer than last time - brilliant views. Then two African Black Oystercatchers attacked it and chased it away, but we found it again at the end of the sand spit, but much further away. This time fabulous close views of it flying - what a beaut! Was let in the gate without even asking this time!!! Lots more Whimbrels and dozens of White-fronted Plovers. Thanks to Barbara of Hermanus for pointing it out as we arrived. Cheers Jill Mortimer

20 March 2010: Also see our report on our morning outing elsewhere

21 March 2010: We ticked this bird today in the same general area at Meerensee it was seen before. From talking to other birders it seems the bird moves quite around a bit within this area and is quite skittish, so bring a scope and look around carefully. Peter & René

21 March 2010: Many thanks to Peter for allowing us to view the bird through his spotter at Meerensee this afternoon and also to the other birders who pointed us in the right direction earlier on. It was quite a distance away from where we were standing but as we were walking back towards the tern roost it flew past us from behind and we got excellent views of it in flight. It gave a very similar call to our local oystercatchers which caught my attention as it flew. Interestingly, we met up with 4 other birders from Somerset West who were staying at Meerensee for the weekend and who had no idea that the bird was in the area. Clearly they are not members of this forum! Thanks so much to all of you for all the great tips on seeing these unusual birds. Regards
Robyn Kadis

22 March 2010: Found Eurasean Oystercather at Meerensee easily. Seems to be a juvenile. Dark grey to dull red bill. Begging africans! Carel Schnetler

22 March 2010: Hi everyone, Had great views of the Euro Oystercatcher at around one today. To the left of the tern roost further down that shore on the other side of the channel. Awesome lifer!

And..also picked up something valuable, that some birder must have dropped. Please contact me as I feel bad selling it for cash! If you dropped something expensive on the beach next to the lagoon, PLEASE email me. Regards, Tiaan

SA RARE BIRD NEWS on 22 March 2010: The EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER at the mouth of the Bot River Lagoon also vied for attention and had a regular following of onlookers throughout the weekend.

24 March 2010: Hi folks, I found the Eurasian Oystercatcher late this afternoon (24th March) at Meerensee!! Thanks to whoever found it first (sorry that I don’t know who you are) and to Allan Ridley for his advice/ co-ords/ etc!! My first attempt at digiscoping with my CELL PHONE camera (and the weather was k*k! - howling wind and overcast, even spitting rain) can be seen at http://www.facebook.com/EverythingBirding (you don’t have to be a member of Facebook to go see). Hopefully my “proper camera” pics will be better.... Rgrds Ian Grant

 

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