Athlone Bird Count August 2015

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

August 2015 – by Dick Bos.

Look there is the Black Sparrowhawk.

photograph by Dick Bos.

The weather was perfect and it was going to be a great count. The very first bird we recorded was a new species for our counts, an African Dusky Flycatcher. We struggled a bit identifying it, but in view of its size and ‘Duskies’ being residents, also eliminating other options like Spotted and Pale, it was decided it was a juvenile Dusky.

That was a very good start, soon to be followed by another first: a Booted Eagle. This bird had all the proper charteristics like buzzard proportions, underwing panelling and the telling white shoulder-patches. Gulls and crows did not like its presence of course, but we did. The eagle did not seem to mind the harassment and circled for quite a while.

During all the counts so far, the odd Southern Pochard has been recorded, today was going to be special: there were flocks of them, totalling 87 birds! Other waterbirds with high numbers were Hartlaub’s Gull as usual (304), Black-winged Stilts (185) and Greater Flamingo (90). (In brackets numbers counted).
Other noteworthy sightings include Cape Weavers that seemed to be rebuilding their colony in the usual pine-tree. Hopefully the Pied Crows that tore their nests apart (December last year), will leave them alone! On the look-out for a regular of late, the Jackal Buzzard, we did not spot it, but thanks to our expert Black Sparrowhawk spotter Fay Linder, we did see this black-and-white raptor, quite at ease, not far from a huge nest. We’ll have to keep an eye on that nest on future counts.

Many thanks to Gerhard Bothma, Ian Cranna, Gillian Ford and Fay Linder for joining this count. Many thanks also to Mr Fred Cupido, Manager of Athlone WWTW, for permission to conduct these valuable bird surveys and to mr. Enver Manual for his support during the count.

All in all 44 species were reported to the Animal Demography Unit’s ‘MyBirdPatch’ and 1091 birds
from 24 species for ADU’s ‘CWAC’ project.

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