Posted on the 15th June 2010

Very thick early morning mist messed up our plans to have a big turnout for our International Biodiversity Day outing and only nine members pitched to brave the elements. What a day it turned out to be though – from 09h00 the Overberg presented one of those beautifully clear (and may I add windless) Autumn days that our area is sometimes known for.

APPEL DAM AT STANFORDThe grass was still very wet with dew as the mist started clearing and most of the Appel dam specials were out in force. We heard three different warblers, but there were ducks a plenty. Most participants were very pleased to see African Black, White-backed, and White-faced Ducks from close by and significantly there were large numbers of Black Crakes out on the lilies. Always a pity about the Mallards though. We did not see Little Bitterns, Swamphens, Little Grebes or Purple Herons this time. The number of birds around was still impressive. A single Forest Buzzard and several Jackal Buzzards were seen on our way to Gansbaai.

UILENKRAALS ESTUARYThis estuary is really not in a good condition and we all agreed that we have never seen so few birds at this site. See reports about this elsewhere on this website – one hopes that work on the proposed estuary management plan commences soon. There were a few gulls, Little Egrets and plovers around. We did have good fun studying a pair of Malachite Kingfishers using small rocks as perches and then darting out over the water in an attempt to catch fish. Interesting that they would adapt like this in mud flats that are devoid of reeds or any other plants or higher vantage points. The bird of the day was undoubtedly a Terek Sandpiper hanging around with a pair of White-fronted Plovers. The yellow/ orange legs, together with the relatively long up-curved bill and the yellowy base makes this one unmistakable and this towards the end of May! Trevor suggests that it is probably a young over-wintering bird.

THE DANGER POINT SHORELINEWe always enjoy driving from east to west along this stretch of coastline traveling from Franskraal all the way to the lighthouse. We were really surprised with the vast number of African Black Oystercatchers that we saw and were able to discuss the differences between the various cormorants at Kleinbaai. Also of interest were Greater Striped Swallows and a single Common Whimbrel that was still around. (We will not comment on the 30 plus poachers that we were confronted with in the area around the lighthouse).

And then a slow picnic along this magnificent coastline in brilliant weather …........... In the two and a half hours that we birded actively we managed to see 74 species – 16 of these being southern African endemics or near-endemics. Not to bad for a day that started out with what looked like poor weather.



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