At lunch today it became evident that the Proteas will smoke the boys from Oz and we decided to go birding, particularly after the disappointment of BLO outings being cancelled due to bad weather over the last two weekends. We did the VERMONT SALT PAN, HARDERBAAI and the SWARTRIVIER ROAD and spent just over three hours out there.
VERMONT SALT PAN was great with so many species tending to chicks – the cormorants, several duck species, BLACK-NECKED and LITTLE GREBES, GREY HERON, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. CAPE SHOVELER, CAPE SPURFOWL and so one could go on. We racked up 41 species, the same I did there on Monday morning. We reached 50 species within 45 minutes and eventually reached 100 species in less that 3 hours. The SWARTRIVIER ROAD is brilliant for birding even though large parts of it are currently under wheat. We managed to get all of the cisticulas, larks, pipits and had good sightings of DENHAM'S BUSTARD (white plastic bag and all), BLUE CRANE, AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE and one of our personal favorites CAPPED WHEATEAR.
Here is a brief list of species that we had missed out on – all birds that one would expect to find easily at this time of year: BRIMSTONE and YELLOW CANARIES, PURPLE HERON, AFRICAN HOOPOE, PIED KINGFISHER, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER, KITTLITZ'S PLOVER, SA SHELDUCK, RED-WINGED STARLING, AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN, etc.
This is actually a message to Carin, Chris & Ilse of the BLO CAPE ROCK-JUMPER BLSA Birding Big Day team: surely if we can get 100 species within 3 hours on a blustery afternoon we should be able to crack 200 species within a 24 hour period on 26 November? Let's do it folks – watch this space.
Herewith some images of birds seen today that I have not posted before.
Plain-backed Pipit illustrating streaking on head, yellow, not pink lower mandible & plain underparts