Athlone Bird Count February 2015

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

February 2015 – by Dick Bos.

Our group today.

photograph by Dick Bos.

Conditions at the beginning of this count were very good, clear skies and just a light wind. Unfortunately the wind picked up during the count and became quite strong towards the end. But that could not deter the group of 11 that showed up today and certainly did not appear to affect the birds judging by their numbers: well over 2400 birds and 47 (!!) species. These 47 included 4 new ones for this location: White-necked Raven, Barn Swallow, Common Waxbill and a Yellow-billed Egret have not been seen here before as far as participants could tell. Especially the last one of these was cause for some exitement since it is a fairly uncommon bird.

Hartlaub’s Gull came out ‘tops’ again, 854 birds were counted in the different sections of the Athlone area. We tried hard to find a few Grey-headed Gulls hiding in the large groups but did not succeed. Greater Flamingos are regulars by now and 410 were counted; this proved a bit of a challenge since they flew between the different ponds in large numbers (see picture). But that is what birds do and we just had to make sure for several species that we were not counting doubles. A few more birds having numbers with triple digits were Pied Avocet (101), Yellow-billed Duck (115), Black-winged Stilt (126) and Blacksmith Lapwing (163). It was good to see a Black-shouldered Kite again, unfortunately the Black Sparrowhawk of the previous count could not be spotted even though Fay looked hard (she spotted it last month). And like last time there was no sign of Weavers nor Water Thick-knee’s nor Fork-tailed Drongo.

Despite those last notes, once again this was an exciting and excellent count with many birds and many species! ‘Thank you’ to Joan Ackroyd, Jessie Blackshaw, Ian Cranna, Delene van Dyk, Gillian Ford, Fay Linder, Derek Longrigg, Sybil Majo, Peter Sumner and John van Zijl for taking part in this count. Many thanks to Mr Kevin van Rooyen, Manager of Athlone Sewage Works, for permission to conduct bird surveys and Mr Enver Manuel for his assistance during the count.


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