REPORT ON THE 2019 WEST COAST NATIONAL PARK WADER BASH
Posted on the 21st February 2019
Wader Bash, West Coast National Park, 15th -17th February 2019
It was with some trepidation that Keith and I set off for the ‘bash’ – we were hoping for good team members and were joined by a couple from Somerset West. Our expert was Kevin Drummond-Hay from Durbanville, who was there to confirm our sightings – thank goodness for Kevin and his patience! There were 9 ‘adult’ teams and 3 school teams. Dare I say we were probably the more experienced members of our team of 4!!
We had a slow start, not even picking up on the more common birds around the centre – except for a Spotted Eagle-Owl. There was an improvement as we went down to the Geelbek hide and in the short time before it was dark we had collected about 25 species, including the Little Stint, White-fronted Plover, Greater Flamingos, African Spoonbill and Grey-headed Gull.
With an early start on the Saturday we did much better – the hide at Abrahamskraal producing African Rail, Little Rush Warbler, Cape Teal and Red-billed Teal, and the African Purple Swamphen amongst the more common ducks and as we went back to the car we picked up a Southern Black Korhaan.
Southern Black Korhaan
At Tsaarsbank we saw Osprey and nearby had a magnificent sighting in the early morning sun of a Greater Kestrel. On the road to the Seeberg hide we saw Black Harrier, many Rock Kestrels (almost as many as the bulbuls) spent a long time looking and debating the Caspian Plover which was a lifer for us – and which made us rather late for the tide at the hide. We soon picked up the Common, Little and Sandwich Terns there, along with the Whimbrel and many Pied Avocets. We found Cape Penduline-tits (another lifer for us), African Black Swift, Cardinal Woodpecker, Yellow Bishop, a Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Grey-winged Francolin , Crowned Lapwing, Large-billed Lark, Cape Longclaw, a Ruff, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and a Ruddy Turnstone during our travels – to name just a few.
Altogether we collected what we thought would be a very lowly 96 species – but the winning adult team only managed 100 (we believe we were 4th!!) - the scores were irrelevant, we had a ‘ball’, the organization was excellent (particularly the Saturday evening supper and prize giving – the sponsors and Honorary Rangers did us proud!).
The presentations on the Sunday morning were both excellent – Colin de Kock telling us about the West Coast Birding Hotspots and then Faansie Peacock giving an amazing presentation on how and why he put together his new book –‘ Faansie’s Bird Book ….. for kids’. Take a look at it, it really isn’t how you imagine a children’s book. Believe me the book is well worth reading by most of us – before you pass it on to the Grandchildren!
Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk
The atmosphere for the entire weekend was amazing and we learnt a lot – which for us was the object of the exercise. We won’t hesitate to go again.
Keith and Barbara Baughan
(Images taken during previous Wader Bash weekends - Ed).