REPORT ON THE BUTTONQUAIL BASH IN THE CAPE AGULHAS REGION
Posted on the 9th April 2017
(BirdLife Overberg 'reporter' Steve Peck forwarded this feedback, together with images on yesterday's Hottentot Buttonquail Bash in the Cape Agulhas area. - Ed).
Saturday 8th April 2017
Some twenty enthusiastic birders gathered in the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA office just outside Bredasdorp for the first ever briefing on a Hottentot Buttonquail quest early on Saturday morning. Erica Carla Brink welcomed everyone and introduced Mick D'alton who gave us a quick introduction to the work done by the SMA for conservation. Keir Lynch shared his experiences with us and explained how to identify our target of the day , the Hottentot Buttonquail.
The idea was to go to pre-decided sites and attempt to walk the veld and flush out HBQ and if possible photograph, record and GPS map their exact locations.
This was the first of hopefully more searches in this area, to help build up better understanding of these elusive and rare birds.
Only problem was, it was raining and had been almost continually for the last 24hrs….so walking, spotting and certainly photographing was extremely difficult. But still we persevered!
The first site was walked out towards the Elim and Die Dam area but unfortunately no birds were seen, so it was back for a coffee and comfort break and then on to the second site around the Struisbaai area.
Thankfully the rain had ceased and the veld was fairly dry, and within 5 minutes of walking the first bird was flushed!!
What excitement, cameras clicked, binoculars raised….... a lifer for many of us!
So we walked on and managed to flush at least four more individual birds in the space of a couple of hours …... a fantastic success for all concerned. Interestingly Rufous-cheeked Nightjars were flushed twice.
It was a day not to be missed and I urge other birders seeking this rarity to join the quest at the next opportunity.
But as always other sightings were made as we travelled to and from the sites and during the actual walking. ..
Some of the birds seen were, over a dozen Denham’s Bustards, Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Grassbirds, African Stonechats and Black-headed Heron.
Southern Black Korhaan
Also making an appearance was a couple of Cape Grass Lizards and the Quagga!!
And lastly on the way back lucky participants in one car also spotted the Blue-cheeked Bee-Eaters!
Our appreciation to Erica Carla Brink of the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA for organising this wonderful outing.
Hottentot Buttonquail flying in its typical habitat
Logically Steve won the prize for the best photograph on the day (Image provided by the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA)