INTERESTING SIGHTINGS OF BIRDS IN THE OVERBERG DURING JULY 2021
Posted on the 28th July 2021
The bird counts recorded in the Overberg region during July 2021 by members of BirdLife Overberg members and friends produced a commendable 200 species. This was done despite many of the migratory birds not being around and several cold fronts moving through the region making birding almost impossible at times. Even more impressive is that 25% of the species recorded are endemic or near-endemic. We highlight just a few of the interesting records:
A surprising number of overwintering migratory species were found. These included the BAR-TAILED GODWIT, COMMON GREENSHANK, and COMMON TERN located by Johan at various spots along the Botvlei, GREY PLOVER reported by Jason at the Breede River area, COMMON SANDPIPER photographed by Pieter at the Kleinrivier, BLACK SAWWING at Carin’s home at Kleinmond and goods numbers of COMMON WHIMBRELS seen at several spots along our coastline. Steve also recorded a COMMON QUAIL outside Napier! Most people would believe that these birds are in their first few years of life – migrating all the way to the north just does not make sense if they are not ready to breed yet. Others believe that climate change plays a role in this. The jury is out on this.
Bar-tailed Godwit and Common Whimbrel. Image by Lynette Rudman
The winter storms caused a variety of pelagic species to move closer to shore creating some excellent ocean birding at several spots along our shoreline. BLACK-BROWED and SHY ALBATROSSES, NORTHERN GIANT PETREL, WHITE-CHINNED PETREL, ANTARCTIC PRION, SOOTY SHEARWATER and BROWN SKUA were all reported by Pieter from Pringle Bay. Several other members reported sightings of these species from places such as Stony Point, the Bitou lookout spot in Vermont, the Hermanus new harbour and Kleinbaai. Sandra reported both the GREAT-WINGED PETREL and MANX SHEARWATER encountered on a whale-watching cruise around Dyer Island. Ocean birding from the Overstrand coastline is certainly hugely underrated.
Black-browed Albatross. Image by Lester van Groeningen
White-chinned Petrel. Image by Riaan Jacobs
Most exciting however were a number of species recorded that one would regard as being fairly rare in the region – one would not expect to find these in the Overberg very often, if at all. Species to take note of include the TERRESTRIAL BROWNBUL, CINNAMON-BREASTED BUNTING and LONG-CRESTED EAGLE all from the Grootvadersbosch area, a female BLACK CUCKOOSHRIKE at Kleinmond, KNOB-BILLED DUCKS at the Napier sewage works, STRIATED HERON at Arabella Estate, HALF-COLLARED KINGFISHER in Swellendam and BLACK-BELLIED STARLING in Stanford. Steve mentions that it is significant that several of these species were found well within the boundaries of the Overberg, an indication of how well out of range these species occurred.
Long-crested Eagle. Image by Louis Alberts
Immature Striated Heron
The complete list of species recorded can be viewed at this link:
The quantity and quality of species recorded in the Overberg region at this time of year certainly confirms the vast birding tourism potential of the area. The monthly lists that are being kept will continue as these lists are producing some interesting and often spectacular comparative results. We encourage all birders, be they locals or visitors to report sightings by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by WhatsApp at 082 550 3347. Photographs are also most welcome.
30 July 2021
Half-collared Kingfisher. Image by Rolf Wiesler
Female Black Cuckoo-Shrike. Image by Richard Masson