After a long dry summer, the devastating fire the area experienced and then two weeks of lots and lots of rain we became a bit claustrophobic at home. When the sun showed its head on Saturday morning we decided on a photographic outing rather than a bird outing as we haven’t had much luck the past few months.
While starting to get ready for the outing we spotted Cape Sugarbird, Malachite- , Southern Double-collered and Amethyst Sunbirds, Cape Weaver, Speckled Mousebirds, African Hoopoe and the other usual garden birds at the feeder at our home at Arabella Estate. The Egyptian Geese are chasing one another in preparation for the breeding season. The flock of White-faced Ducks currently residing on the estate did their usual noisy morning flight bypass.
We decided to go down to Rooisand Bird hide as we haven’t visited the hide for at least a month, due to the lack of water and therefore no water fowl. On arrival we were greeted by the resident bachelor group of wild horses.
The wind was blowing and at first there was not much activity, but nevertheless we decided to go down to the hide. On our way to the lookout point we spotter Red- capped Lark and African Pipit, but as we reached the lookout point we were pleasantly surprised with the amount of water coming through the “keel” (the Throat). In effect this is the only outlet from the Bot River Lagoon, towards the Lamlock swamps and then into the estuary at Kleinmond. The gradient is very small and it only flows in winter.
To our SURPRISE as we approach the Rooisand Hide it was surrounded by water and we saw water birds and more water birds !! Now we were almost rushing to get to the hide - with great expectation we entered.
Although there were not a lot of different species present, the amount of birds per species was significant. The first sighting was five magnificent Grey Herons ! Lots of Yellow-billed Ducks (110+), Cape and Red-billed Teal, Glossy Ibis, SA Shelduck, lots of Cape Shovelers, Pied Kingfisher, Great White Pelican, Little-, Great-, Yellow-billed and Cattle Egrets, Little and Great Crested Grebes.
A huge flock of 30+ spoonbills, lots of Black-winged Stilts and Blacksmith Lapwing (20+), both species of gull plus Grey-headed. There were still some Sandwich Terns present as well, as some Caspian Terns.
Later the morning we were joined by a group of birders from the Somerset West bird club. The highlight of the morning was a African Fish-eagle coming over and flushing most of the ducks – what a sight.
Nature has once again come alive, where 2 weeks ago there was no water, water has again giving life !! A 3 hour outing, 10 minutes from home and we got 52 species .