Our day-trip up the West Coast National Park started
at 06h30. Lex, Joan and I met at their Blouberg Strand guest-house
and discussed the emphasis of the day. We would focus on photography
rather than maximising the number of species. Lex is a keen photographer
and wanted to capture as many images of Southern African bird species
We first headed to Yzerfontein to explore the
area around the harbour and the tern roost. The misty conditions
opened up and light improved, allowing us good views of Crowned
Cormorant, Swift Tern and a few other
species at the harbour. Later, under far better light conditions,
we watched Sandwich and Common Terns
joining the roost, several species of gulls, a number of Sanderlings
showing on the rocks near the terns and African Black Oystercatchers.
Sanderling on this Birding Africa day trip
© Otto Schmidt
A drive down to the Strandkombuis produced a
few strandveld birds, with good views of White-throated
and Yellow Canaries and White-backed Mousebird.
The pans in the area were almost dry with very few roosting birds.
White-backed Mousebird and Karoo Scrub-Robin
on this Birding Africa day trip © Otto Schmidt
After entering the West Coast National Park, we
headed for Abrahaamskraal. The usual water-bird species were present
and a Black Harrier eventually made several close
fly-pasts. Yellow Canaries conspicuously flew in
to drink and Karoo Scrub-Robin and Levaillants
Cisticola posed beautifully as they fed in the very dry
scrub near the hide. A single female African Shelduck showed,
and good views were had of Lesser Swamp Warbler.
Little Rush Warbler was heard in the reeds.
From Abrahaamskraal we had a short stop at Geelbek
and then headed for the Seeberg area, where the gravel track down
to the hide produced a small group of Cape Penduline Tits
and several Bokmakieries. From the ease of the
car-park, we could see numerous waders on the sand-banks in front
of the hide. The tide was advancing, and allowed us to watch several
water-birds including Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey
Plover, Red Knot. Amongst the latter three species were
a few individuals already showing their very distinctive breeding
plumage. Behind the hide, Curlew Sandpiper, White-fronted,
Kittlitz’s and Common Ringed Plovers were
spotted on the small pans and in the salt-marsh vegetation. A group
of Greater Flamingoes was also present, as were
a number of terns on an adjacent sand-bank. Eventually as the water
level rose, the birds mostly departed and we headed back to the
Cape Teal photographed on this Birding Africa
day trip © Otto Schmidt
A trip up to the Seeberg lookout always provides
a great panoramic view of the lagoon. Here we added a pair of White-necked
Raven at the top as well as two male and two female Southern
Black Korhaan along the path. Unfortunately Grey-winged
Francolin did not make an appearance.
Southern Black Korhaan on this Birding Africa
day trip © Otto Schmidt
During our late lunch at Geelbek, we enjoyed
the Cape Weavers, House Sparrows,
Yellow Bishop and Common Fiscal
waiting for a hand-out. A second stop at Abrahaamskraal offered
additional photo graphic opportunities. We watched several more
Black Harriers as we headed out of the park, and
arrived in Blouberg by 18h00 with a creditable list of 83 species.
Interestingly, we saw only two Steppe Buzzards
(one along the R27 and one in the West Coast National Park) and
no Yellow-billed Kites, so these migrants have already mostly departed
on their way north.
For a full list of species from this trip, please
A Birding Africa Trip
Report by Tour Leader Otto Schmidt.
Many of the birding sites on this trip are described in detail
in the Southern African
Birdfinder which is widely available in South African bookshops
and on the internet. (e.g., www.netbooks.co.za
or www.wildsounds.co.uk). However
you're always welcome to contact
us if you're interested in a guided trip in this area.