CWAC at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 20 April 2024.

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.

Zandvlei Upper.

The weather was forecast to be foggy all day and it was cool with a slight breeze from False Bay and the fog very dense and low to the ground early on. The height of the fog lifted later, but the sun never came through by mid day when we finished the count. It probably lifted about 50 – 75 metres above ground level when looking at the mountain side which was visible then. Usually these are good conditions for seeing all species of birds at Zandvlei.
The highlight for the upper main reserve areas was a first for the cwac at Zandvlei, a Black Heron was recorded by David Walker, and was probably the one sighted in the Marina last year. There were a number of Greater Flamingo as well. We have not seem Spoonbills for some months and a few were present today. There were very few insects present in the vegetation with Cape Autumn Widow and Boland Brown butterflies here and there. A Jackal Buzzard was on the overhead railway power lines where we have seen them on previous counts.

Zandvlei Lower.

Thank you to Kyran for counting the Marina canals and Park Island and the Caravan Park by boat today. There was a very large sand bank between the 1st and 2nd bends from the estuary mouth today, the estuary mouth was closed. There was lots of kelp washed beyond the Yacht Club basin when the mouth was open previously. A lone Spotted Thick knee was seen at the yacht club. No Water Thick knees on the west shore as it was the annual Scouts Kontiki raft week-end last week with hundreds of people about. We also saw a Peregrine Falcon over the Yacht Club pond and Kyran noted a Black Sparrowhawk in the southern Marina canals. We saw a very large bait ball of small unidentified fish near the Thesens bridge when passing there. The usual Cape Cormorants were constantly flying in and out of Zandvlei while we were counting the lower section. So there must be fish for them to eat. We were fortunate to see 4 species of terns today.
We saw a Grey Heron and Sacred Ibis in the Norfolk Pine tree in the house garden in Axminster Road which the herons were using as a roost and breeding site, reported on previously.

Zandvlei Westlake Wetlands and Rutter Road Pond.

We noted that a pair of Brown thoated Martins were flying up and down and under the railway bridge. Then we saw a new nesting hole in the bank at the confuence of the Keysers and Westlake Rivers. As far as I know this is a first for Zandvlei. There are kingfisher holes in the banks else where in the area.
The water was flowing into the main body under the railway bridge at 1 metre per 8 seconds.
2 separate fires had burnt the reeds along both sides of the railway line, on the west side all the way to the Rutter Road Pond which we could clearly see from our vantage point at the railway bridge. On the eastern side of the railway line the reeds had been burnt and another vista is opened up which I have never seen before in more than 35 years working here. This is along the canal from the railway bridge into the main body of Zandvlei. (see the photos) We saw Ricardo and his team counting in the Westlake Wetlands. There was a pair of White necked Ravens flying over the wetlands.

photographs by Gavin Lawson and Gigi Laidler.

Gavin Lawson.

Trip: 2024_04_20 Zandvlei CWAC supplied by Gigi Laidler.
Date: 2024-04-20 to 2024-04-20
Observations: 56
Species: 56
Species (heard only): 1

Pentad: 3405_1825, Start: 2024-04-20, End: 2024-04-20, Species: 56, Observations: 56
1. Little Rush Warbler, 2024-04-20 11:58
2. Cape Wagtail, 2024-04-20 11:53
3. Greater Crested Tern, 2024-04-20 11:48
4. Cape Sparrow, 2024-04-20 11:39
5. Kelp Gull, 2024-04-20 11:34
6. Sandwich Tern, 2024-04-20 11:33
7. Grey-headed Gull, 2024-04-20 11:31
8. Greater Flamingo, 2024-04-20 11:16
9. Cape Spurfowl, 2024-04-20 11:15
10. Hartlaub’s Gull, 2024-04-20 11:11
11. Pied Crow, 2024-04-20 11:09
12. African Sacred Ibis, 2024-04-20 11:03
13. Cape Cormorant, 2024-04-20 11:01
14. Spotted Thick-knee, 2024-04-20 10:57
15. Rock Dove, 2024-04-20 10:54
16. Hadada Ibis, 2024-04-20 10:52
17. Common Tern, 2024-04-20 10:43
18. House Sparrow, 2024-04-20 10:27
19. Lesser Swamp Warbler, 2024-04-20 10:14
20. Southern Double-collared Sunbird, 2024-04-20 10:10
21. Cape Robin-Chat, 2024-04-20 10:08
22. Great Crested Grebe, 2024-04-20 10:06
23. Cape White-eye, 2024-04-20 10:06
24. African Spoonbill, 2024-04-20 09:57
25. Egyptian Goose, 2024-04-20 09:55
26. Caspian Tern, 2024-04-20 09:40
27. Pied Kingfisher, 2024-04-20 09:40
28. Yellow-billed Duck, 2024-04-20 09:33
29. White-necked Raven, 2024-04-20 09:33
30. Grey Heron, 2024-04-20 09:30
31. Blacksmith Lapwing, 2024-04-20 09:29
32. White-breasted Cormorant, 2024-04-20 09:23
33. Cape Weaver, 2024-04-20 09:12
34. Common Moorhen, 2024-04-20 09:12
35. Brown-throated Martin, 2024-04-20 09:11
36. Reed Cormorant, 2024-04-20 09:10
37. Red-knobbed Coot, 2024-04-20 09:09
38. Brimstone Canary, 2024-04-20 09:06
39. Peregrine Falcon, 2024-04-20 08:56
40. African Darter, 2024-04-20 08:56
41. Little Egret, 2024-04-20 08:50
42. Purple Heron, 2024-04-20 08:47
43. Yellow Bishop, 2024-04-20 08:41
44. Southern Masked Weaver, 2024-04-20 08:36
45. Malachite Kingfisher, 2024-04-20 08:35
46. Three-banded Plover, 2024-04-20 08:35
47. Common Waxbill, 2024-04-20 08:28
48. Laughing Dove, 2024-04-20 08:28
49. Red-eyed Dove, 2024-04-20 08:22
50. Cape Bulbul, 2024-04-20 08:22
51. Speckled Pigeon, 2024-04-20 08:22
52. Jackal Buzzard, 2024-04-20 08:21
53. Red-winged Starling, 2024-04-20 08:21
54. Common Starling, 2024-04-20 08:13
55. Southern Fiscal, 2024-04-20 08:13
56. White-backed Mousebird, 2024-04-20 08:13


Below are the count datas for 20 April 2024.

Zandvlei upper count.

Zandvlei lower count.

Zandvlei Westlake Wetlands and Rutter Road Pond.



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