BIRDLIFE OVERBERG MEMBERS AT DUINEPOS - AUGUST 2013Posted on the 28th August 2013
TRIP REPORT : WESTCOAST NATIONAL PARK
From 13 to 15 August a small group of members of BirdLife Overberg spent a most enjoyable 3 days at Duinepos in the West Coast National Park. We certainly could not have fallen prey to more uncomfortable weather conditions, but fortunately our enthusiasm was not to be dampened. Our trip started with a lunch at the historical Ons Huisie on the beach at Boubergstrand. In spite of the wind and thrashing rain we settled in and had a lovely meal. As we hit the road north to the park there was a slight improvement in weather conditions. Mid afternoon saw us unloading at Duinepos to the abundant song of birds with Klaas's Cuckoo as the leading vocalist. Later on we were able to take quite an extended walk through the Renosterveld. The birds were certainly enjoying the last rays of a wintery sun. Darting from bush to bush we could hardly keep up with their activity in the process of identifying them. To name but a few, Yellow Canary, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Speckled Mousebird, Karoo Prinia, Wattled Starling, Pied Starling, White - throated Canary, Southern Double - collared Sunbird, to name but a few. Early evening found us gathered around the pitfire for a braai. Later on as things quitened down we could hear Fiery-necked Nightjars calling to each other. Later on the haunting call of a Spotted Eagle-Owl.
Wednesday morning dawned with light cloud cover. Around the chalets Karoo Scrub-Robin, Grey Tit, Cape Bunting, Olive Thrush, Pied Starling and Cape Spurfowl, to name but a few, were all very busy scratching for their breakfast. The plan was to visit Tsaarsbank, Postberg, and then the bird hide at Geelbek to catch the waders at ebb-tide. Miraculously the skies suddenly cleared on route. The sky a clear cobalt blue and the veld dappled in brilliant golden sunshine. On the lee-side off the sand dunes the view over the Langebaan Lagoon was purely pristine. At Preekstoel we spent some time wandering along the shoreline accompanied by Greater Flamingo's, several Waders and in the distance Lesser Flamingo's. Bush birds included Bokmakieries, Cape Robin-Chat, more Canaries and a Malachite Sunbird. We stopped at Tsaarsbank where the mountainous waves were a sight to behold. Amongst the rocks we spotted a young African Penguin all on it's own. In spite of our concern that he might be injured he seemed perfectly at ease. Also a ringed African Black Oystercatcher.
From thereon into the renowned Postberg Nature Reserve and it's abundant floral kingdom. The flowers had by then exposed their faces to the sun. What a splendid kaleidoscope of colours to behold. High in the sky a soaring Osprey and further along a Black Harrier. A picnic lunch was planned at Plankiesbaai but the wind did not play along so we settled on a spot at Kraalbaai. Here a Pied Kingfisher was very busy diving for his lunch.
This outing was just so rewarding that we completely lost all track of time and we suddenly realized that we were not going to get back to the Geelbek hide in time. Instead we opted for the restaurant for coffee and their delectable Lemon Meringue Pie and Carrot Cake. A stroll on the boardwalk to the hide offered viewings of Greenshank, Kittlitz's Plover, Black-winged Stilt and Common Wimbrel. The wind was most unpleasant in the hide so we moved on to the Abrahamskraal Hide. A mother Ostrich with 6 of her babies and a Southern Black Korhaan welcomed us. Little Grebe, Red-billed Teal, Common Moorhen, Common Greenshank, Redknobbed Coot and Levaillant's Cisticola (alas no African Rail) kept us occupied until the setting sun signified the end of a magnificent and extremely rewarding day.
|Southern Black Korhaan|
During the night the skies opened up once again and we awoke to a wet dark and gloomy sky. Hoegie, climbed back into bed, Hugo wanted to visit the Fossil Park near Langebaanweg and the others decided to settle down to some serious Scrabble playing. A Potjiekos was planned by Maureen for the evening. A very cozy fire crackling along in the indoor fire-place created a most companionable ambience.
A visit to the Fossil Park is a definite must. What an enlightening experience this proved to be with guided tour by the most entertaining Niekie as an added highlight. Lunch at Paternoster was also on the menu. What a heart rendering and disappointing experience Paternoster proved to be. Alas, this charming old fishing village of yonder year has now disappeared in the face of numerous and extensive housing developments. It has been totally ruined - the untouched appeal that drew so many a visitor here in the past, now no longer exists.
Meanwhile back at the ranch the Scrabble players and the chefs took a late afternoon trip to the Seeberg Viewpoint and Hide where they spotted a few Wader's in spite of the incriminating weather conditions.
A home bound trip via Velddrift and the famous Bokkom Alley offered views of African Darter, Reed Cormorant, Pied Kingfisher and Spoonbill. We gathered on the verandah of a little art gallery to say our goodbyes. Having a nice cup of tea we were scrutinized by and watched over by the hawk's eye of one very tame resident Pelican . A very appropriate and fitting conclusion to yet another most enjoyable and memorable birding outing. All in all we counted about 82 species and returned home in pouring rain well content that our 3 day excursion proved to be an extremely rewarding and worthwhile experience. !!!!!!
Anita de Jager
(Images by Anton & Carin).
|African Black Oystercatchers|