Birding the Western Section of the Agulhas National Park
Posted on the 2nd November 2017
Birding the Western Section of the Agulhas National Park – Dr Wim De Klerk
On a windless Saturday morning in early October it was birds everywhere. Although mostly the common species, 40 species were listed within the first hour. Capped Wheatear, Common Quail and Cape Longclaw, were soon listed, a first for this pentad, followed by a Denham’s Bustard. It is breeding season and the LBJ’s are performing well with Cape Clapper Lark and Cloud Cisticola, taking first prize. Entering the Nuwedam farm, White-faced Duck and Yellow-billed Egret were spotted for the pentad. Alien tree removal has changed the farm into a haven for birds. The Greater Honeyguide called from its usual spot and a Streaky-headed Seedeater performed for the camera. The Waterford fynbos seemed quiet at first and then …… the jackpot - Hottentot Buttonquail but with a difference. The primaries and secondaries showed a 1 to 1.5cm silver edge posteriorly, back and rump a brown rufous colour. Juveniles? A whopping 74 species were recorded for day one.
Day two was spent in the Waterford pentad. At the T-junction towards Ratelrivier it was alive with birds. Soon, 20 species including the first Cape Bunting were recorded for the pentad. The shallow waters of the Maccoavlei, west of the Die Dam road, is a haven for waders and six new species were added for the pentad. A pair of Pearl-breasted Swallow was spotted, but no Barn Swallows, as yet for this time of year. On the R317 Denham’s Bustard and a pair of African Goshawks were spotted. Buffeljachtsbaai quickly added another 18 shore species and the Koksrivier track added another nine species. The day ended on 67 species which includes 14 new species for the pentad; proof that the Agulhas Western Section can be an exciting birding destination.
(This report first appeared in the November 2017 edition of the Agulhas National Park E-Bulletin. – Ed.)