CWAC at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 19 January 2019.

This is a working relationship with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club.

Alan Morris started the co-ordinated bird counts in December 1974 and they still continue at Zandvlei.

The preceding day it rained gently with not much wind. Today it was partly cloudy, clearing to sunny with a slight breeze from the SE. There were very few birds visible in the air for a reason, which was difficult to understand. The barometric pressure was fine and forecasts suggested another good day for tomorrow 20th January.

There was no water flow under the railway bridge. The estuary mouth was partially open (a berm left so only a full tide could breach the top of the opening) for the full moon tides on 20th and 21st Jan. It is presumed the mouth would be opened for the peak tides for ingress of sea water and fish movement.

2 White backed Ducks have been noted since 01 January 2019 in the Scout Basin and we only picked them up by chance as they were almost glued to a buoy and looked like dirty smudges on the side of the buoy. When the heads moved they were seen by a sharp eyed younger member of the team! Well done Laurie. They have been seen inbetween 01 Jan and 19 Jan a few times. It is unusual for WBD to be here so early as the potamageton (water weed) which they thrive on has only just started to grow again. It had been cut back very hard in the Scout Basin 2 years ago (so that the yachts and rowing boats could move through the water freely).

The pleasant surprise was the 4 Sandwich Terns at the Royal Road bridge area. Also the Greenshank in the Central Pan. There were 37 Greater Flamingo at the northern end of the main waterbody and have been present for a couple of weeks.

Thank you to all who assisted with the count today not forgetting the unseen canoeists operating in the backwaters. The general perception by all the counters in the various areas was that the species and numbers were very low. The records suggest the numbers and species are only slightly down on the average of the last 7 years records compared.

photographs by Gavin Lawson.

Gavin Lawson.



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