Yesterday we took a client to Papendorp (near Vredendal on west coast, Western Cape) to see the American 'Little Blue Heron'. We arrived and first scanned the mudflats and channels for some time from behind the first house you get to after leaving the tar.
We located it sitting on one of the rowing boats which lay on the shore, we were by that time on the dry flood plane, and approached it by car and then on foot. This bird is now in magnificent condition and even has a short 5cm plume, much better looking bird than when I first saw one/it a few years ago at Onrus on east coast. We first were able to get to within 100m of it before it flew off and landed on another boat. This time we were within 30m of it and had enough time to look at its outstanding views of its colour combinations of dark grey and dark rufous on the neck, bill shape, and eye colour. There were no white spots under the wing when it eventually flew up one of the channels.
There is also a hide being built overlooking the wetland on the left of the houses. It seems to be in a good position to view the water. We used it to view the Lesser Flamingos, Avocets and South African Shelduck. Other birds seen there were Cape Long-billed Lark, Cape Penduline Tit feeding close to the wetland, Karoo Lark, Sickle-winged Chat, Greater Kestrel, Namaqua Warbler and plenty of Yellow Canaries.
The surprise was seeing a small flock of Lesser Kestrel! I know they left the nest sites in Israel in April already but could they have moved this far south without being seen in northern South Africa?
If you have not seen this Heron yet, take the time and drive the tar road to Papendorp, about 325k (3hrs) north of Cape Town and enjoy this bird and area with its magnificent spring flowers and vegetation all the way up.