Whos keeping an eye on me....

Saturday, 17 August 2013

South Africa 2013 - Pt 1

The birds around Mouille Point and Green Point, Cape Town:

A family holiday of 18 days comprising of three specific areas of interest. The first part of the holiday was based in Cape Town. We stayed with friends who live in the lovely suburb of Mouille Point.

Overlooking the shoreline it was no surprise to have an array of waders and common Seabirds.

The smallest being Kittitz's Plover

and when the wind blew even harder they would huddle up to a piece of seaweed for shelter
Although this iconic African bird isn't faring too well generally, they were in very good numbers here
African (Black) Oystercatcher
Plenty of Cormorants too, with the Crowned Cormorant being the most abundant but Cape and Bank Cormorants were also seen.

but the noisiest species would be a good fight between the Egyptian Goose (of which there were many, often perched on top of the apartments lining the shore road, or roosting on the golf course)
 or the Hadeda Ibis...... an unmistakable sound that followed me around South Africa
or possibly the charismatic but noisy Blacksmith Plover
The two species of Gull were Kelp Gull
 and Hartlaubs Gull
although plenty of Swift Terns passed close to shore every evening on a passage to roost somewhere further down the shoreline. Further out in the far distance Shearwaters followed the mid morning trawlers back to harbour, unfortunately I couldn't ID at this distance.... even with a scope.
A little closer to dry land African Sacred Ibis (which incidentally was the first species seen as I set foot in South Africa) and Little Egret search the low tide rock pools for food.
Across the road from the shoreline is a lovely Eco friendly Park at Green Point. A large pool that is utilised by the Gulls for bathing, open fields for the Geese and Ibis, reed beds, show borders and specimens of indigenous flora all attracted an array of bird species, and alongside lies a Golf Course to add to the open spaces.
 Cape Wagtail were abundant (and noisy), many hundreds walked the beach taking insects from the seaweed, while plenty more took advantage of the park, the roadsides and every available patch of green around the suburb
Common Fiscal (or as I was informed by a local....  the Butcher-bird)
Levaillants Cisticola
Cape Weaver
Yellow Billed Duck (these also spent a lot of time just off shore at low tide)
In the smallest of Reed beds tucked away between the Golf Course and the Gull pool I was surprised to find two lovely birds ......
....... Lesser Swamp Warbler
 and the Malachite Kingfisher
The reed bed was no bigger than five foot square, its amazing what creatures utilise the spaces available. One local visitor to the Green Point Park was astounded by the Kingfisher as he said he visits the park daily and had never seen it........ One for the local news for sure!
Rather more conspicuous were the Cape Sparrows
Cape White-eye, Red Knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Helmeted GuinefowlRock Martin, Pied CrowRed Winged Starlings and the inevitable Eurasian Starling were seen inlarge numbers, but particularly early in the mornings White-Necked Raven were seen.
Of the more impressive species a Lanner Falcon took advantage of the large Gull and Pigeon colony and caused huge panic in the sky, it took something but was too quick for me and in the confused commotion meant I missed my photo opportunity, although another raptor showed up and gave me a very poor shot......
Possibly  Black Sparrowhawk.
Sunset.........  Cape Town Style


Neil said...

Interesting post.Beautiful birds.

Stewart M said...

Thats a lot of good birds! We have Kelp Gulls in Australia, but you have to look hard to find them.

The W/Faced Heron is a bit smaller than the grey.

Cheers - Stewart M

theconstantwalker said...

A wonderful post Dave... I was born in Durban but was dragged screaming to the UK aged 2 in 1958 by my Glaswegian parents and have been in Cheshire ever since.