(This article appeared in the Spring edition of 'The Kite', the newsletter of the Tygerberg Bird Club and is loaded with the permission of the Editor. - Ed).
SATURDAY, 19 MAY 2012
CLOOF & BURGHERSPOST, DARLING (Brigid Crewe)
Braving the cold, 15 of us met at Darling Cellars, and started birding up the road to Cloof winery early on Saturday morning. The 2 dams on either side of the road were dry due to very low rainfall during 2011. The fields had just been ploughed, and this resulted in a feast of LBJ's. We had great views of plain-backed pipit, a difficult bird to ID usually. The light was good, and the colour of the newly sown field brought groups of small birds to feed. It was great seeing African pipit, Red-capped and Large-billed Larks, Cape Longclaw& the Plain-backed Pipits all together in the fields, and at close range. Groups of Blue Crane were also seen.The only dam with water in, at Cloof, produced a fly-by from a Hamerkop – very nice tosee its underwing, etc. as it circled around the dam before settling on a small dam pump. Next we had good sighting of two lanner falcons hunting through the car park - chasing the doves. Rock Martin, lapwings, weavers and a Dusky Flycatcher, provided the group with good views.
We then travelled on to Burgherspost farm and walked up the path above the vineyards to get closer to the Rhenosterveld edge. Southern double-collar Sunbirds were showing off their epaulettes nicely. It was the morning of the Bokmakierie's calling. The choruses were fabulous, and all morning many of them were very vocal. We had to rush back to the cars while a light shower wet most of us.
Some of us then walked up the slopes of Burgherspost farm to try and flush more fynbos birds. Titbabbler, Cape Bunting, and the usual bush birds were seen well. Thanks to Wilferd Duckitt for his great help with all the birdcalls, and helping the group with all the pipits and larks. Without the migrants, or many water birds, we still had a wonderful morning out, and clocked up 74 different species of birds. Wine tasting & lunch was then on the agenda of some of the group. All in all, a lovely morning's birding. A big
thank you to Peter & Alexa Duckitt for allowing us to have our picnic on their lawns at Burgherspost. The team at Cloof always welcome our group and encourage birding on the farm. As usual, we also atlased the birds, in two neighbouring squares.