A few of us enjoyed a very enjoyable outing to Stanford yesterday. Conditions were not optimal for birding as it was a typical in-between autumn day and there was a cross-country race with us having to dodge athletes along the trails. We welcomed Inge Hugo to our activities and were delighted that Chris Neethling joined us for the first time in several years.
Appel se Dam is unfortunately very overgrown with reeds at the moment making birding fairly difficult and the hide needs a bit of a spring-clean. There were good numbers of WHITE-BACKED DUCKS, WHITE-FACED WHISTLING DUCKS and YELLOW-BILLED DUCKS on view with BLACK CRAKES, COMMON MOORHENS and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHENS, as well as the inevitable RED-KNOBBED COOTS being prominent. An also AFRICAN DARTER also flew past and small numbers of BARN, GREATER STRIPED and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS were also seen at this late stage. The calls of LESSER SWAMP-WARBLERS came from the reeds continually.
White-faced Whistling Duck
A walk along the dam produced sightings of some of the common species to be expected such as the YELLOW BISHOP, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, SOMBRE GREENBULL, SOUTHERN MASKED WEAVER, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, CAPE WEAVER and PIN-TAILED WHYDAH. We also had great sightings of LITTLE RUSH-WARBLERS and the calls DIEDERICK CUCKOO and CAPE LONGCLAW were somewhat of a surprise. Some highlights here were an AFRICAN GOSHAWK spotted by Lester and an AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK spotted by Kobus. A pair of STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATERS on a dry tree allowed great photographic opportunities.
Lesser Swamp Warbler
From here we drove to the picnic area close to the launch site along the Klein River and almost immediately found an OLIVE WOODPECKER foraging along the branches of a dead tree in the company of an agitated pair of FORK-TAILED DRONGOS. GIANT and MALACHITE KINGFISHERS and LITTLE GREBES were seen several times. A walk along the well-wooded trail produced great of species like the BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, a female SOUTHERN BOUBOU, CAPE BULBUL, ROCK and BROWN THROATED MARTINS, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED and MALACHITE SUNBIRDS, COMMON WAXBILL and CAPE WHITE-EYE. We only heard, but never saw the KNYSNA WOODPECKER, much to Johan’s displeasure.
This outing in fairly difficult conditions once again illustrates the wonderful birding potential of the Stanford area. It is vastly underrated area deserves a visit by all birders visiting the Cape Whale Coast region. It is such a pity that so few members participated and we would like to encourage all members to start joining our outings again – we do enforce stringent COVID19 prevention measures on these outings.
Upon our return to Hermanus we popped into the site along the Klein River estuary where the African Rail and Western Yellow Wagtail were photographed last week and we just managed to see the WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL in the distance . (They were again recorded later on in the afternoon and early this morning). There were some boats messing around in the area, but besides this we had good sightings of species such as the LITTLE EGRET, GREATER FLAMINGO, GREAT CRESTED GREBE, GLOSSY IBIS, GREAT WHITE PELICAN, THREE-BANDED PLOVER and COMMON and CASPIAN TERNS. A birding visit to the Stanford area is always worth one’s trouble.
Great White Pelican with coots
Western Yellow Wagtail in the distance
Fork-tailed Drongo confronting an Olive Woodpecker