Dec 2011 Cape trip - Ch2: Rondevlei, WCNP

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5 years 9 months ago #66180 by John Young
John Young created the topic: Dec 2011 Cape trip - Ch2: Rondevlei, WCNP
Having enjoyed the sights of and from Table Mountain, we returned to our abode in Rondebosch around mid-afternoon. Sitting around waiting for life to happen doesn’t do it for me so it didn’t take long for us to set off again and make good use of the days remaining light. An advantage of the Cape is the lateness of sunset in summer which means longer birding time – bring it on!!. This time we were headed for Rondevlei Nature Reserve, and arrived at the gates around 4.15 pm. Staff were already leaving and the signs indicated a 5.00 pm closing time. Our dampened spirits were short lived as the on-duty member said we could stay as long as we liked as the main gate opened automatically from the inside for those leaving the premises. We had the place to ourselves and added the following birds to our growing list:
Water Thick-Knee, Egyptian Goose, Glossy Ibis, Cape Shoveller, Reed Cormorant, Red-Billed Teal, African Purple Swamphen, Common Moorhen, Three-Banded Plover, Pied Kingfisher, Cape Bulbul, Pin-Tailed Whydah, African Darter, Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Karoo Prinia, and the highlight for me Great Crested Grebe - another lifer.

Great Crested Grebe

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Reed Cormorant (Juvenile)

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Red-Knobbed Coot

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Little Grebe

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Day 6 (2 Dec) dawned and this time we were heading north to West Coast National Park. The plan was to time our run to get to the Seeberg hide at high tide around 1.30pm, as I was keen to find the Eurasian Oystercatcher reported from time to time in early December in Trevor’s SARBN reports. But this time the weather gods were not in our favour – grey, overcast skies, strong winds, and the odd shower. We were fine in the comfort of the car so enjoyed the visit all the same. Overall, I was a bit disappointed with WCNP, but have put that down to the weather and will try again another day. En route we saw Great White Pelicans at Rietvlei, and the drive up the R27 afforded us numerous sightings of Steppe Buzzards perched on road side fence posts, but every attempt to stop and get a picture was a failure. Drive past them and they stay put. Stop and they’re gone before the finger reaches the trigger!! <!-- s:biting: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/biting.gif" alt=":biting:" title="Frustration" /><!-- s:biting: -->

Once inside the Park, entering at the West Coast gate, we came across a family of Cape Spurfowls, and numerous Angulate Tortoises – some with passengers and hangers-on!! Didn’t think a tick could attach itself to the skin of a tortoise – gross! <!-- s:o --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_surprised.gif" alt=":o" title="Surprised" /><!-- s:o -->

Angulate Tortoise (and Ticks)



Just past the point where the road splits the east and west sections of the lagoon, my attention was drawn to something on my left which resulted in amazing views of a pair of Spotted Eagle-Owls. We’ve had them in our Hillcrest garden, but this was my first photo opportunity - and I’m not disappointed. <!-- s:bouncy: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/bouncy.gif" alt=":bouncy:" title="Enthusiastic" /><!-- s:bouncy: -->

Spotted Eagle-Owls

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We proceeded along the western road and called in at Abrahamskraal Water Hole. First up were a male Namaqua Dove and then a pair of White-Throated Swallows in and around the hide. From inside the hide, we had good views of Black Crake, Cape Shovellers, Cape Weaver, Familiar Chat, Little Grebe, and my first Yellow Canary. Please don’t tell me I’m wrong!! <!-- s:duck: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/duck.gif" alt=":duck:" title="Fear" /><!-- s:duck: -->

Yellow Canary

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Familiar Chat

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One of the swallows eventually braved our presence and came inside the hide to sit on the nest for a short while. Soon after she(?) departed, we managed a picture of an egg in the nest using my sons iPhone – too blurry to share with you!


We made our way back to the main road and headed up the eastern shores. Hunger pains had set in so we headed for the Geelbek Visitor’s Centre. Along the way we saw Black-Shouldered Kite, Malachite Sunbirds, Yellow Bishop, Rock Martins and White-Backed Mosebirds.

Black-Shouldered Kite




Breakfast would have to wait until lunch time as the restaurant prices at Geelbek didn’t seem reasonable. By now the wind had really picked up, along with the occasional gust of rain. It was still about two to three hours to high tide, so viewing from either of the Geelbek hides was not great. Plenty of waders on view but quite distant sightings – a spotting scope is on my wish list but will probably have to wait until I win one. What we did pick up around Geelbek were Black-Winged Stilt, Common Whimbrel, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Kittlitz’s Plover, White-Fronted Plover, Levaillant’s Cisticola, African Hoopoe, Southern Grey-Headed Sparrow and a low-flying Black Harrier.


Black Harrier

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5 years 9 months ago #66182 by John Young
John Young replied the topic: Re: Dec 2011 Cape trip - Ch2: Rondevlei, WCNP
Moving from Geelbek, we proceeded on towards Seeberg, seeing my first Karoo Scrub-Robins. They were quite far off so not the best of pictures, but being a lifer I’ve included the best I could get.

Karoo Scrub-Robins

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Further on was a pair of Common Ostriches and their offspring – youngsters still car shy so would not afford me front on views, so a back end shot will have to do.

Common Ostrich (Juvenile)

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We arrived at the Seeberg hide about an hour before high tide and stuck it out for an hour. Sadly, the Eurasian Oystercatcher chose my day to stay out of sight. <!-- s:cry: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cry.gif" alt=":cry:" title="Crying or Very sad" /><!-- s:cry: --> As the tide came in so too did the birds on offer get closer to us. On offer were Common Terns, Caspian Tern, Common Greenshank, Little Egret, Crowned Cormorant, White-Breasted Cormorant, Kittlitz’s Plover, White-Fronted Plover and a female African Stonechat.

Caspian Tern

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Crowned Cormorant

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White-Breasted Cormorant (and Common Terns)



White-Fronted Plover

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Kittlitz’s Plover

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Curlew Sandpiper

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Common Greenshank



I would have hung in for a bit longer, but the weather was getting worse, as were the hunger pains. We had lunch in Langebaan, and made our way back home. On the way, I tried again a few times to stop and get pictures for either Steppe or Jackal Buzzards – eventually finding one very obliging, albeit brief, Steppe Buzzard.

Steppe Buzzard

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Regards,
Dave

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5 years 9 months ago #66184 by docandy
docandy replied the topic: Re: Dec 2011 Cape trip - Ch2: Rondevlei, WCNP
Very nice trip report and photos. Well done! :D

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