It has become very popular to talk about “pop-up restaurants” and pop-up this and pop-up that. Yesterday someone in the group suggested that we start talking of “POP-UP BIRDING OUTINGS” as this is precisely what the outing to Rooisand was. Earlier in the week Louis Alberts asked on the BLO SIGHTINGS WhatsApp group that we consider going to Rooisand over the weekend and out of the blue 12 members popped up and left at 06h00 on Sunday morning. Paula Combrink created this group with the main aim to inform members of great sightings and rare birds in our area. Everyone is welcome to join this group – simple send Paula a message at 083 212 0115 and request her to add you to the list. It is fun, interactive and caused this wonderful outing reported on here.
The access road to the Rooisand Nature Reserve from the R44 produced species such as the STEPPE BUZZARD and CAPE SPURFOWL. Interestingly there were NAMAQUA DOVES all over the place – I have never seen so many of these beautiful little birds in one area in the Overberg. A single PURPLE HERON and a pair of AFRICAN SPOONBILLS flew over us in the parking area. The south-easter was pumping and the glare off the water made birding fairly difficult. We initially walked in an easterly direction from the parking area and this at least took most of the sun's glare out of play.
Namaqua Dove. Image by Ingrid Grundlingh
Sub-adult Stilt. Image by Brian Taylor
There were several resident species on view and these included both geese species, HARTLAUB'S and KELP GULLS, BLACKSMITH LAPWING and BLACK-WINGED STILTS. We were delighted to find a few HOTTENTOT TEALS, a species that is being reported with increasing regularity in our area. There were droves of terns close to us, enabling the group to identify the differences between CASPIAN, COMMON, SANDWICH and SWIFT TERNS. The highlight during this initial hike however were the large number of waders foraging in the mud. Species such as COMMON GREENSHANK, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, SANDERLING, CURLEW and MARSH SANDPIPERS, LITTLE STINTS and COMMON WHIMBREL showed prominently.
Blue Cranes. Image by Brian Taylor
Great White Pelicans. Image by Louis Alberts
From here the group moved along the wooden boardwalk to the bird hide. The KITTLITZ'S PLOVER and THREE-BANDED PLOVERS were seen along the boardwalk, together with BARN and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS. The coastal brush produced BAR-THROATED APALIS, ACACIA PIED BARBET, BOKMAKIERIE, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, CAPE BULBUL, CAPE CANARY and KAROO PRINIA. We spent a lot of time in the hide and were entertained by species such as REED and WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANTS, YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, LITTLE EGRET, GREATER FLAMINGO, GREY HERON, GLOSSY IBIS, GREAT WHITE PELICAN and WATER THICK-KNEE. The PEARL-BREASTED and GREATER STRIPED SWALLOWS flew about and a pair of BLUE CRANES looked as if they were breeding. The RED-CAPPED LARK and AFRICAN PIPIT were also recorded. An AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER quartered over the dunes in the distance.
Hartlaub's Gull with catch, Image by Louis Alberts
Gull & Greenshank. Image by Louis Alberts
In total we were able to pick up 55 species (the list has been circulated through the BLO BirdNet). Species seen often during previous visits and not recorded yesterday included ROCK KESTREL and SOUTHERN TCHAGRA, BAR-TAILED GODWIT, all three grebe species and SA SHELDUCK. Disappointingly neither of the AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE and WESTERN OSPREY were seen and none of Kleinmond's famous wild horses this time. A visit to the Rooisand Nature Reserve comes highly recommended, even though it would probably be much better to bird there in the afternoon. This again illustrates the vast birding potential at so many brilliant birding destinations throughout the Cape Whale Coast.
Join Paula's WhatsApp group to get news of interesting species seen and there is talk of a “pop-up birding outing”, possibly to Strandfontein in the offing soon. Also note that details of arranged outings to De Mond Nature Reserve on 12 January and Rooiels and Harold Porter on 21 January is described under “EVENTS” on the club website. Our appreciation goes to all twelve members who contributed to making yesterday's outing such a huge success.
(I will replace my images with others as soon as these are recievd).
Terns, terns, terns. Image by Ingrid Grundlingh
Early morning birding at Rooisand Nature Reserve
On a more sobering note: Surely this is not allowed at Rooisand? (And there were people walking dogs!) We'll ask CapeNature for comment