Posted on the 31st January 2022

At 7.30am on 27 January, I met up with some clients in Bredasdorp for a morning of birding at De Mond Nature Reserve. We set off along the R316 and very soon picked up both Common Buzzard and Yellow-Billed Kites flying low and lazy. Cattle Egrets mingled with the cows in the fields, and feasted on the insects disturbed by the cattle as they were grazing. We spotted a pair of Blue Cranes close to the edge of the road. Pulling up to get a better look, we were treated to a display of jumping and dancing - always a great sight!

Turning into the gravel road that leads to the reserve, we travelled along slowly looking for interesting birds. We soon picked up Crowned Lapwing, Pied Starling, Speckled Mousebird, both Levaillant’s and Grey-Backed Cisticolas, Egyptian and Spur-winged Geese, Cape Bulbul, Cape Canary, Cape Sparrow, Red Bishop, Bokmakierie, Cape Crow, Fork-tailed Drongo and even more Blue Crane.

When we reached the copse of blue-gum trees, we spotted three juvenile Yellow-Billed Kites, sitting on the low branches. Pulling over for a photo opportunity, we could hear the kites calling to each other, probably discussing us! A little further along, a Black-winged Kite sat quietly in the upper branches.

We stopped at the vlei and got out of the vehicle to have a proper look around and, despite the water level being very low, we picked up Cape Shoveler, Pied Avocet, Red-billed Teal, Yellow-billed Duck, Black-winged Stilt, Common Moorhen and Common Greenshank. Both Barn and Greater Striped Swallows, along with White-rumped Swifts were in abundance overhead, as were more Levaillant’s Cisticola in the nearby reeds.

Moving into the reserve, we took the wooden boardwalk on the left-hand side – our main objective to find the terns. Unfortunately, although they were there in their thousands, they were at least two kilometres away on the horizon, so the decision was taken, due to time restraints, to concentrate on the birds in the shallow estuary next to the boardwalk. This turned out to be equally productive with Common Whimbrel, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, African Oystercatcher, Common-ringed, White-fronted, Grey and Kittlitz’s Plovers all showing nicely. Both Caspian and Common Tern and Kelp Gull were present, along with four Pied Kingfishers.

A special sighting was of a juvenile Black Harrier quartering over the fynbos, that soon had the company of three Rock Kestrels, hunting airborne insects in the same area.

On the fynbos side of the boardwalk Cape Wagtail, Yellow Canary, Sombre Greenbul, Cape White-eye and Cape Bulbul were picked up.

Then, over the bridge where Water Thick-Knee and Little Egret were evident, as were Reed and Cape Cormorant. The walk along the wooden boardwalk revealed Fiscal Flycatcher, Southern Fiscal, Cape Grassbird, Grey-backed Cisticola and an even closer showing of the Black Harrier.

Then, it was back to the car and a slow drive back along the gravel road where we then picked up Cape Spurfowl, Black-headed Heron, Helmeted Guineafowl and a different immature Black Harrier. This made three different juveniles we had seen that morning – great to know they are doing so well around the reserve.

Lastly, although not strictly birds, we passed a field containing Eland, Springbok, Impala, Zebra, Bontebok and Oryx!
So, yet again, De Mond delivered - if only we had managed to get to the terns!
Steve Peck

Blue Cranes
Rock Kestrel











Cape Crows
Kittlitz's Plover










Immature Caspian Tern
Pied Kingfisher










Immature Yellow-billed Kite
















Immature Black Harrier














(Text & Images by Steve Peck)


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