WINTER CWAC ON BOTRIVER ESTUARY - AFRICAN OPENBILLS
Posted on the 12th July 2010
Yes, we birders are not deterred by rain, especially when CWAC-ing - a case of "the show must go on".
The TBC members, with a few members from the Birdlife Overberg & Hermanus Bird Clubs who braved the rain with us, did the compulsory winter CWAC at Bot River Lagoon (Botriviervlei) this morning in the rain. Our team, Melissa Demaio, Slavi Pombo and myself (depleted in numbers by the appallingly wet conditions) was assigned to the Arabella Golf Estate/Equestrian Centre and a stretch of the natural fynbos heading towards Rooisand. Needless to say, even the ducks weren't out in the rain so where the saying "weather for ducks" comes from is anyone's guess. The golf estate was seriously wet under foot (even the golfers weren't out but had elected to stay in the hotel's half-way house next to the open fire) - this section of the count was dominated by a good 150+ Kelp Gulls and 200+ Sacred Ibis and then the odd Black-winged Stilt or two and a few Yellow-billed Ducks (6 to be exact!).
The highlight of the morning was when we moved over (now drenched to the bone) to the Equestrian Centre side of the lagoon and Melissa spotted 3 Open-billed Storks perched in the Blue Gum tree at the water's edge – they sat relatively unperturbed for a good while until we got a wee bit too close and then they took off over the water and circled back to a Blue Gum a little further away from us - so, they're still here! According to Mariana Delport, the CWAC Co-ordinator, this is the first report of Open Bills for CWAC-ing at Bot River albeit that the first sighting of the relatively recent arrival of these birds in the WC was apparently at the Arabella Golf Estate.
The other highlight was an Osprey which had, it appeared, been eating it's breakfast in the clump of Blue Gums at the Equestrian Centre, but we only saw it as we approached the tree it was in and disturbed the main course - it took off (with breakfast in its talon) over the water towards theBenguela Cove side of the Lagoon.
So, who said birding in the rain isn't worth your while?
The third highlight, albeit not birding related, was being able to get into a set of dry clothes and enjoying Slavi's hospitality in the warmth of her home in Kleinmond and being treated to freshly made pancakes - thanks very much Slavi - the other teams really missed out.