THE WHALE COAST ROCK-JUMPERS REPORT ON BIRDING BIG DAYPosted on the 1st December 2014
THE WHALE COAST ROCK-JUMPERS REPORT ON BIRDING BIG DAY (BRIEFLY)
(This report is dedicated to the memory of the late Brummer Olivier, our BBD partner for many years. - Anton)
Carin Malan, Ilse Bigalke, Chris Cheetham and myself participated in BirdLife South Africa's BIRDING BIG DAY by visiting some of the top birding destinations in the beautiful Overstrand local municipal region. We initially set ourselves the target of trying to get the highly unlikely target of 200 species on the day, but brought this back to a more reasonable target of 150 species once we saw the weather prediction and specifically the wind factor.
|Chris, Ilse & Carin|
We set off at 04h00 and went to WITKRANS in the Uilenkraal's Valley. As we got out of the vehicle we were greeted by the calls of BUFF-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL, OLIVE BUSH-SHRIKE, BLUE-MANTLED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER and TAMBOURINE DOVES. Can you imagine our excitement at getting these very difficult to get species as our first 'ticks' for the day? As a friend said, you should have packed it in right there and gone back to bed. As the light improved we found a pair of CAPE BATIS at their nest, and two, YES TWO displaying pairs of BLUE-MANTLED CRESTED-FLYCATCHERS. (That 'tail-flick' of the male is simply awesome). And AFRICAN PARADISE FLYCATCHER and DUSKY, with CARDINAL and OLIVE WOODPECKERS, unfortunately not Knysna Woodpecker. AFRICAN GOSHAWK called continually and BLACK SPARROWHAWK shot through the trees. And many more – Witkrans is hugely underrated!!!!!!!!!! From here we went to PLATBOS FOREST and added BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE BULBUL and AFRICAN OLIVE PIGEON. Near Uilenkraals village we found SOUTHERN RED and YELLOW BISHOPS, KAROO PRINIA and CAPE SUGARBIRD in a patch of fynbos.
|Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher (Carin)|
|African Olive-Pigeons (Carin)|
The UILENKRAAL ESTUARY produced COMMON, CASPIAN, SANDWICH and SWIFT TERNS, together with REED and WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANTS, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER, as well as MARSH SANDPIPER and COMMON GREENSHANK. The highlight undoubtedly was an adult BLACK HARRIER quartering over the estuary, of all places. The coastal strip between FRANSKRAAL and KLEINBAAI produced the usual gulls, CAPE and CROWNED CORMORANTS, COMMON SANDPIPER, RUDDY TURNSTONE and COMMON WHIMBREL.
WILLEM APPEL SE DAM at STANFORD produced WHITE-BACKED DUCK, BLACK CRAKE, AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN, LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER and LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER. Also interesting that we found SOUTHERN MASKED-WEAVER in this area. CAPE SISKIN was easy to get at the usual stake-out.
|Willem Appel se dam|
The OUDEKRAAL and SWARTRIVIER ROADS really delivered on LBJ's as we found all the cisticolas of the region, LARGE-BILLED and RED-CAPPED LARKS, and AFRICAN and PLAIN-BACKED PIPITS along here. Water birds added included AFRICAN DARTER, WHITE-FACED DUCK and RED-BILLED TEAL. The highlight however was a sequence of raptors seen after each other: LANNER FALCON, SECRETARYBIRD, MARTIAL EAGLE, AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE and FOREST BUZZARD. Finally we found a mixed flock of swallows, swifts and martins that included all usual species that one would expect to find in our area during summer.
Then we visited Jessie Walton and Rob Martin at one of their fieldwork sites in the VAN DER STEL PASS. They have now found TEN KAROO PRINIA nests being parasitised by BROWN-BACKED HONEYBIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!. What an experience seeing these chicks in the prinia nests. Watch this space, as I'm sure that Jessie and Rob will draft a full report on this unbelievable discovery. Thank you for this wonderful invitation guys. We also added GREATER HONEYGUIDE, NEDDICKY and SWEE WAXBILL here.
We were beginning to run out of steam by the time we got to the ROOISAND NATURE RESERVE along the Botriviervlei where we added GREATER FLAMINGO, CAPE LONGCLAW, KITTLITZ'S PLOVER and LITTLE STINT. The stars however were two AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIERS and a magnificent WESTERN OSPREY. On our way to Betty's Bay we located a CAPE GANNET out to sea and in the village CAPE ROCK-THRUSHES feeding fledgelings. At STONY POINT we added BANK CORMORANT and AFRICAN PENGUIN.
At the ROOIELS site the wind was pumping as it can only do there. It did however produce CAPE BUNTING, ROCK KESTREL, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD, GROUND WOODPECKER, and wait for it, our magnificant club logo bird! At HAROLD PORTER we only managed to add BLACK SAWWING and VICTORIN'S WARBLER. On our way back got BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE and DENHAM'S BUSTARD along the KARWYDERSKRAAL ROAD.
|Rooisand along Botvlei|
|Disakloof, Harold Porter|
We were very pleased with the 171 species that we found on the day, of these 30 species were endemic and 11 near-endemic to southern Africa – not too shabby for the Western Cape Province. We probably spent too little time at WITKRANS and PLATBOS, and too much time along the OUDEKRAAL and SWARTRIVIER ROADS and the VAN DER STEL PASS. Next time we'll ensure that we also fit in some of the other brilliant birding destinations in our area such as the HAWSTON SEWAGE WORKS, ONRUS, HEMEL-AND-AARDE VALLEY, FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE and the KLEINRIVIER ESTUARY. My sincere appreciation goes to Carin, Ilse and Chris for sharing this wonderful experience. Brilliant day's birding, confirming the Overstrand's status as one of the top places to go bird-watching.
And the big dippers? Species that we found regularly on previous BBD trips, but not this year include Brimstone Canary, Long-billed Crombec, Maccoa Duck, Verreaux's Eagle, Cape Clapper and Agulhas Long-billed Larks, Ruff, SA Shelduck, White Stork, Amethyst Sunbird and Southern Tchagra.
More detail on birding opportunities along the CAPE WHALE COAST at the following link:
|Cape Rock-jumper - mission accomplished|
|Brown-backed Honeybird (Carin)|
|Western Osprey (Carin)|