CWAC at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 23 January 2021.

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.

It was a cool, overcast with high cloud cover this morning and a little wind from the SW direction, ideal for bird sighting at Zandvlei. There was a good turnout of counters even during these covid times. Speculation was people are tired of being house bound.
The pans are dried up in the main reserve area as these water levels are being managed correctly. The pans will fill up when it rains again. The water level of the main waterbody was very low even with the mouth closed. The water flow under the railway bridge was 1 metre in 10 seconds into the main water body from the catchment. Thank you to Barry and Val Cleveland for counting the northern Marina canals and the roost area for Night Herons. The southern Marina canals were not counted. The Whiskered Terns have been missing this summer so far.
We came across a new butterfly species for the nature reserve, a medium size, bright orange with black spots which has been identified as a Water Opal (Chrysoritis palmus). We saw 4 specimens flying about. There were a few dragonlies darting about and few other insects were seen.

The clouds cleared and the sun came out at about 10h00 with the wind strengthening from the SW. There were a number of fishermen spooning for leervis today. See the photo of the fisherman in calf deep water about 5 metres from the bank. The main water body had very few coots, possibly due to the shallow depth. Down near 2nd bend from the estuary mouth were 2 juvenile Greater Flamingo on the exposed sand bank. A highlight was the 2 Water Thicknee in the scout base as it is very quiet there currently with the Covid level 3 lockdown regulations in place.
The Zandvlei Strandveld Circle situated on the lower western shore, is progressing very well with the plants well cared for through the hot rainless months to date.

There was not a lot of bird activity here today. The Marsh Harrier and Yellow billed Kite were not seen patrolling the vegetation and open ground areas.


photographs by Gavin Lawson.

Gavin Lawson.


Below are the count datas for 23 January 2021.

Zandvlei upper count.
Zandvlei lower count.
Zandvlei Westlake Wetlands and Rutter Road Pond.



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