Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2014.
A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club.
Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month.
Anyone interested in helping can contact Yvonne Weiss at 021 872 4972 for details of starting time and meeting place.
by John Fincham and Jo Hobbs.
The monthly count took place today 20 December and we counted >400 Greater Flamingoes on C pan next to the railway, and there were more on A pan overlooked from the viewing platform.
This morning 15 people participated in the monthly CWAC at PBS, which has been running for almost 21 years led by Yvonne Weiss.
There was a strong south easter blowing which forced most birds to take cover, so the overall count was low.
Spoonbills are not always around at PBS so 2 probing in a puddle were photographed. Grey-headed Gulls are a feature of PBS and the photo shows important ID features. A Jackal Buzzard was struggling to hold his/her position in the wind. Last year they nested close by so we are hoping they do so again this year.
The September 2014 bird count at Paarl Bird Sanctuary took place in mild sunny weather without a breath of wind.
The team enjoyed an excellent morning’s birding, with over 500 Greater Flamingos counted. The sighting of a pair of White-backed Ducks with 4 ducklings was a particular highlight. Also seen were several White-faced Ducks, six Glossy Ibis and two African Rails, among all the usual birds to be expected. The water lettuce infestation has almost completely cleared and Pan C is again full of waterbirds including 46 Maccoa Ducks. The heronry on Pan D is busy with nesting cormorants, herons and egrets. The vandalized bird hides will not be replaced, but instead viewing areas will be constructed where visitors can watch the birds from their cars.
We were delighted to see a Giant Kingfisher on the railing next to Pond E2, an unusual visitor to the sanctuary. Other highlights included 43 White-faced Duck, 68 Greater Flamingos and a pair of Hottentot Teal. The “specials” seen at the June count included three White-backed Duck of Pond C and 4 Fulvous Duck on E2 as well as numerous nests and chicks of both Hartlaub’s and Grey-headed Gulls elsewhere in the sanctuary.
At the count numerous nests and chicks of Hartlaub’s and Grey-headed Gulls were seen as breeding is now in full swing.
Interesting sightings included two Hottentot Teals, 7 Black Ducks and 64 Greater Flamingos and – very special – a Painted Snipe and pair of Black Crakes with two tiny chicks. On Pan E3 we recorded 17 Water Thick-knees on the banks and 40 Three-banded Plovers on the mud flats.
Unfortunately several of the pans are still covered with a thick mat of Water Lettuce but there are signs that it is beginning to respond to treatment and we hope that the cooler weather will assist.