De Mond Nature Reserve – Trip Report
On Wednesday 22rd September Lee and I decided to take a quick impromptu trip to De Mond Nature Reserve just outside Bredarsdorp, to check out the conditions before I took a party of birders from Johannesburg on a tour there next week.
We turned onto the gravel road leading to the reserve at about 9.30am and drove slowly along its length as this road always produces good sightings, and today was no exception.
We had great sightings of numerous Yellow-Billed Kites, Blue Cranes, Denham Bustards, Cattle Egrets and a fair few of the LBJ’s like Grey-backed & Levaillants cisticola, Large-Billed Lark, Cape Longclaw and African Pipit. A beautiful juvenile Black Harrier was seen hunting low over the fields as well.
A short stop at one of the roadside dams revealed a lovely view of a family of Red-knobbed Coots along with Black-winged Stilts.
Finally we arrived at the park’s reception and we were expecting the usual suspects around the Milkwood trees but alas due to the high winds most of them were missing! Just a lone Olive Thrush searching through the fallen leaves was all we managed.
Anyway we took a walk along the wooded boardwalk and soon came across Grey Plover, Sanderlings and Curlew Sandpipers close to the shore line. Yellow Canary and Cape Wagtail were hanging onto the fynbos next to us as well.
We could see in the distance hundreds if not thousands of birds on the sandbanks, heads pointing into the wind and huddled up close so we ventured towards them. On the way we picked up White-fronted & Kittlitz’s plovers at the shoreline and a lone Caspian Tern overhead.
When we reached the sandbanks we found the majority of the birds were Greater Crested (Swift) Terns but if you looked closely hidden amongst them we found Common & Sandwich Terns, White-Breasted Cormorants, Common Whimbrel and Kelp Gull.
Turning our backs to the wind we walked back to the reception area and took the bridge across to the opposite bank, here we spotted a pair of Pied Kingfishers, Common Greenshank, Brown-Throated Martin and a wonderful sighting of a Grey Heron hunting and catching a huge fish in the middle of the lagoon.
So back to the car and a slow drive back along the gravel road revealed a wonderful sighting of a Jackal Buzzard flying away from us with a Rinkals snake dangling beneath him!