BirdLife Overberg Monthly Counts - Rare and Vagrant Species

Posted on the 15th February 2022

Members and friends of BirdLife Overberg have been recording monthly counts in the Overberg region for nearly two years and the data is starting to show a very interesting pattern. We have discovered that some birds we previously thought were fairly scarce in our region are, in fact, appearing most months; birds such as the African Black Duck, the Red-billed Quelea and the Karoo Korhaan. Is this the result of birds moving away from their normal regions in search of food, or is it the result of climate change? Or, maybe, it is because projects like this are encouraging more and more birders to actively get out and really look. Maybe they are seeing what is already there but, as no-one coordinated these sightings or provided an easy way to record them, we never really knew the extent of the different species to be found.

Whatever the reason, we have now recorded an incredible 359 different species of birds so far in the Overberg region since April 2021 at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic. This is an increase of 32 species from April 2020 when our records began.
As well as our common resident species, or the wonderful endemics (particularly the fynbos ones) and the magnificent pelagic species seen from shore in bad weather or at sea on cruises, we have recorded the following rare or vagrant species in the Overberg region:

Dwarf Bittern, Lark-like Bunting, Baillon’s Crake, Eremomela Yellow-bellied, Sabine’s Gull, Goliath Heron, Lesser Kestrel, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Greater and Lesser Sandplovers, Pectoral Sandpiper, Common Scimitarbill, Saddle-billed Stork, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, White-winged Tern, Long-crested Eagle, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Temminck’s Courser, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Grey Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Crested Tern and Knysna Warbler.

This, in itself, is a very impressive list, but it seems that as months go by we are recording more and more of these rare species of birds in our region. In the last two months alone, we have added the Eurasian Golden Oriole, Amur Falcon, Black-headed Oriole, Common Cuckoo and Long-Tailed Jaeger to our list.

This impressive list of rare or vagrant birds that have found their way into our area goes a long way to show that the Overberg region really is a top birding destination.

Steve Peck
February 2022

(We include some images taken by BirdLife Overberg members)

Immature Saddle-billed Stork at Pringle Bay - Image by Jenny Parsons















Greater Sand Plover at Uilenkraals Estuary - Image by Carin Malan
Pectoral Sandpiper at Rooisand Nature Reserve - Image by Carin Malan











Goliath Heron at Vermont salt pan - Image by Johan van der Westhuizen
Red-backed Shrike at Swallendam

















Blue-cheeked Bee-eater at Gansbaai - Image by Riaan Jacobs
















African Crake at Swartrivier road - Image by Johan van der Westhuizen
Karoo Korhaan at Klipdale - Image by Lester van Groeningen













Long-crested Eagle at Napier - Image by Steve Peck

















Grey Tit at Greyton
Female Amur Falcon at Swartrivier road










Dwarf Bittern at Sandbaai - Image by Brian Taylor





































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