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TBC outing to Macassar Sewerage Works, Western Cape on Saturday 21 January 2012

TBC outing to Macassar Sewerage Works, Western Cape on Saturday 21 January 2012

Hi All,

The TBC (Tygerberg Bird Club) had their monthly outing to Macassar Sewerage Works on Saturday, which I led.  We met just outside the main gate at the bridge over the Eerste River.  

The cool windless conditions encouraged 25 keen members to start birding here and it was easy to watch Lesser Swamp Warblers flitting about the reeds below the bridge.

Within the rank river vegetation Bar-throated Apalis and Southern Boubou called and were eventually seen out in the open. A Black Sparrowhawk darted across the coastal dunes into the taller trees, amazing where they are now pitching up!

From the bridge we moved towards the pans and walked slowly around them.  A Three-banded Plover caught our attention along the edge of the pan and we soon noticed a Greenshank with a Common Sandpiper.

An unusual gull got us going as it swam with a group of Hartlaub’s.  It had a red bill with a black tip, greyish head and seemed larger than the others.  Also it had a dark eye but no spots on the black primaries as the others had. It seemed to me to be a Grey-headed but no light eye?  It has turned out to be exactly that but a non adult.

A group of Yellow-billed Ducks were on the far side of the pan with surprisingly 4 White-faced Ducks……..always great to see here on the Peninsula.  With the windless conditions Barn, Greater-striped and Pearl-breasted Swallows were joining the Brown-throated Martins skimming the water for insects.  All the swifts were also lower and made up of Alpine, Black, Little and White-rumped.  They were flying slower and lower so that the difference could be picked up easier by the members.


The coastal scrub had Brimstone and Cape Canary, African Pipit, Cape White-eye

The furthest pan nearest the estuary had a large group of terns and gulls and it is always good to scan the large groups as there may be an “odd man out”.  There were many Swift Terns and a few Caspian and Sandwich but no Commons Terns and nothing unusual amongst the Gulls.  A few Reed and White-breasted Cormorants were preening or drying off on the sandbank as were African Darter on the poles.  One WB Cormorant was ringed but all we could see through the scope was that the right hand had a metal ring and left had a coloured ring which said ”MX”.  Am awaiting details, if available, from SAFRING.   Black-winged Stilt were joined by a few Avocet.        

A lone Jackal Buzzard sat on a telegraph pole, with Stepped Buzzard and Rock Kestrel patrolling the skies looking for breakfast.  Our logo, a Black-shouldered Kite, watched “it’s” group enjoying their tea after a lovely birding morning of 73 species.

I am sure that this pentad can easily produce 100 species at this time of the year as there were a number of “were is the Black Oystercatcher or Cape Longclaw.” was heard etc etc.

Brian Vanderwalt

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I have been an avid birder in the Western and Northern Cape for over 45 years. Since 1999, I have guided Day trips and Overnight Tours (5 days or longer), as well as organised Birding weekends and Bird Ringing (Banding) outings. Read more...

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