Athlone Bird Count July 2016

A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club.

July 2016 – by Dick Bos.

Three Black Sparrowhawk chicks in the nest.

photograph by Gerhard Bothma.

Fortunately the rain that was predicted held off during the count today, a count that turned out to be fairly ‘standard’, except for two highlights.
As usual there were high numbers of Greater Flamingo (182) and Red-knobbed Coot (206). The count for Hartaub’s Gull was 406; a keen observer noted a Grey-headed Gull amongst them. Without the grey hood in non-breeding plumage the bright red bill and the white eyes give them away.

As for raptors: a Steppe Buzzard showed up today, not very usual, but not one of the highlights. Nr. 2 was a Peregrine Falcon feeding on the ground while ‘hiding’ in between some Egyptian Geese!
Regular readers will remember that last month quite some time was spent observing the big nest in the tree-line in the south-east of the Athlone works. A Black Sparrowhawk has been observed in that general area almost every month, but never close to or on the nest. However in June it looked like something was on the nest indeed, at that time it was not possible however to make out what it was. What we saw today was definitely highlight nr. 1: two Black Sparrowhawk chicks on that nest! A parent was keeping close guard (see photo). [fast forward to next month: it turns out the total chick count is three!]

All in all 43 species were reported for MyBirdPatch and 1082 birds from 24 species for CWAC. These numbers are a bit deflated since not all parts of the works were accessible. Many thanks to Fay Linder and Gerhard Bothma for doing the count today. And thanks Gerhard for the clear picture of the Black Sparrowhawks! Many thanks also to Mr Fred Cupido, Manager of Athlone WWTW, for permission to conduct these valuable bird surveys.

This data is submitted to the Animal Demography Unit’s CWAC and MyBirdpatch, projects.

Counts take place on the third Thursday of every month and start at 13:00.
Anyone wanting to assist should contact;
Dick Bos on 021 423 2546 or alternative