CARIN MALAN CELEBRATES OVERBERG BIRDS - DECEMBER HOLIDAYS
Posted on the 11th January 2015
Summer Holiday Birding in the Overberg
After finishing off quite a hectic last few days at work, our summer holiday arrived by mid-December. I have just acquired the very sought-after copy of our dear Prof Phil Hockey’s book, Waders of Southern Africa (out of print) and decided that this will be the holiday to get those LWJ (Little White Jobs) under the knee. I also still had to honour a lucky draw to one of our club members.
I had the privilege to bird with a young couple from Gauteng one morning, looking for the Hottentot Buttonquail. After about 2 hours and quite a few kilometres marching through hip high veld, I asked if they were still ok to carry on, faintly hoping they will throw in the towel, only to learn that they both completed the Comrades in 2014 …… so we kept on marching !!?? Eventually they were happy to add 4 new species to their list (Including the buttonquail) and also picked-up on the Cape Rock-jumper that afternoon.
Next, I needed to honour the lucky draw price. I invited Ilse Bigalke to join me. She came prepared, no camera, just her bins “as to learn”, and I was silently hoping that I would be able to help her as she is very good birder herself. We started just after 07h00 on the Arabella Estate. It was a beautiful morning and we saw lots of special birds. We then took the Karwyderskraal and Swartrivier Roads and ended our wonderful morning's birding at Gabrielskloof with coffee and cake for breakfast (its holiday after all) and 84 species in the bag. Thank you Ilse for being so enthusiastic and sociable.
Other lovely places we visited to specifically sort out our the Waders and Terns (LWJ), included Kleinmond beach and estuary, the Botriver mouth and estuary, Hermanus New Harbour (lots of terns), Prawn Flats on the Stanford side of Hermanus, Gansbaai Harbour and the Danger Point Peninsula and of course the ultimate LWJ area, DE MOND NATURE RESERVE. All these areas are great for Waders, Terns, Plovers, etc.
A visit to Stony Point is a must, not only for the penquins, but we got 4 cormorant species, with lots of young Cape Cormorants and some of the Bank Cormorants still sitting on eggs. All 4 species of flycatchers at Harold Porter Botanical Garden is almost guaranteed, albeit all the holiday visitors.
We visited many wonderful places in the Overstrand to indulge in the best hobby ever, bird-watching !
Pretoria birders chasing Hottentot Buttonquail
Ilse Bigalke on the Swartrivier road
Burchell's Coucal on Arabella Estate
Terrapin on Botvlei
Little Grebe chicks on Arabella Estate
Blue Cranes with chick at Elgin
White-throated Swallows on Swartrivier road
Macoa Duck on Vermont salt pan
Ruddy Turnstones in flight at Danger Point peninsula