The Cape Bird Club

Velddrif camp at Kuifkopvisvanger Farm   05 - 07 March 2010.
                                                                                                                            
by Margaret Mac Iver. by Margaret Mac Iver.

The occasion was the Weekend Camp at Kuifkop www.kuifkop.co.za a farm along the Berg River just outside Velddrif. There was a large turnout and all chalets were full. Vernon Head was our leader.

Unfortunately there was also a heat wave on the weekend, which meant a lot of early morning birding and sitting in the shade or in front of a fan in the room later in the hottest part of each day.

We started at about 6am each morning, driving or walking through the farm fields, looking for bush birds.

However, the heat didnt put the waders off and we saw thousands of them all along the Berg River. Those of us brave enough to do a boat trip in the middle of the day, with no canopy to shield us from the sun, were rewarded by getting really close up to the waders, many almost in breeding plumage.

We also visited the Tern roost at Velddrif and much to our excitement, Vernon found an Elegant Tern, which was hotly debated all weekend as it was just too far for decent photos. It could clearly be seen through the scopes and various keen birders drove up from Cape Town to join us and see and confirm the bird's ID. Just a pity it was only there in the heat of the day, and it was very difficult for us to stand out there in the blazing sun and near 40 degree temps - but in the interests of rare birding, naturally we didnt hesitate!

One nice thing about this camp - I think every single person got "lifers", except Vernon, who had seen the Elegant Tern in 2005 / 6. One new member, Ron, got well over 20!


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

The scopes were lined up on the patio during the hot daytimes
for anyone to have a really close up look at all the waders
in the river.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

Ticking off the lists.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

Vernon Head and Simon Foggarty setting up the scopes.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

The Berg River running in front of the chalets.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

Members watching the river closely and starting on the sundowners.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

Birders sitting around in the cool of the patio in the evenings.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

Everyone trying to pace themselves in the very warm conditions during the days.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

The sunrise we had each morning from our patio's, and they were all stunning.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

Two baby Namaqua Doves seen in the field just behind our cottages.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

The start of the 'Elegant Tern Twitch'. Taken at Veldrif harbour, it shows
a few birders with their scopes and cameras, trying to keep the Tern across
the river in view.
Sion Stanton on the ground on the extreme right had the biggest lens and
still couldnt get a proper identifying photo.


photograph by Margaret Mac Iver

Everyone on a very early morning walk to the salt pans at the Velddrif bridge,
on our last morning.
  
                                                                                                                                         

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