Atlantic Beach Estate, Melkbosstrand.

09 June 2024

Leader Mike Buckham.


cbc outing atlantic beach estate 04 PD 09 june 2024

Mike Buckham was invited to present a talk at Atlantic Beach Estate in Melkbosstrand for the growing number of residents and members who have an interest in birding, and to follow that up with a walk on the estate. He gave an illustrated talk on Wednesday 5 June, which included photos of birds one could expect to see in a Strandveld area such as this.
He had already offered to lead an outing for junior birders on Sunday 9 June, so he combined this with a walk for residents and members of Atlantic Beach.
An enthusiastic group of seven CBC juniors and five members of the Bishops Bird Club gathered early on a perfect Sunday morning at 08h00 approximately twenty-five people (including two young children) were there from the estate.
Without having time to venture into the area of pristine Strandveld in the neighbouring reserve, and just remaining along the interlinking roads and two wetlands, the group saw sixty-eight species in the approximately two hours before returning to their cars. A Rock Kestrel flying overhead and a brief glimpse of a Chestnut-vented Warbler in a tree on the edge of the car park (sadly after most of the group had left) rounded the tally to a pleasing seventy.
The walk was enjoyed by all, including the residents who all saw birds they had never observed on their estate before.
Thanks go to Mike for leading the walk and to Kaley Gray who arranged this successful visit. It is hoped that the Cape Bird Club will be able to return for a Sunday outing there in the not-too distant future.

The following two accounts are written, firstly, by a CBC Junior who also lives on the estate and then by an Atlantic Beach resident who is a keen birder.

Report by Penny Dichmont


The Importance of Sound.

We started our morning at the Leisure Centre where we had a quick briefing about what we were going to do and where we were going to go. We headed off towards the park where, on the way, our first sighting was a tree full of Cape Weavers and a lot of nests. As we walked further up the road along the fynbos, we were treated to a Long-Billed Crombec singing and had a faint view of him. We were about to turn off to the park road when we saw a Karoo Scrub Robin just outside the fence being chased by a mongoose!

Then we saw some Cape Bulbuls and another crombec. We managed to spot our first special of the outing, a White-Throated Canary, which was crazy for me because I had been on this estate my entire life and had never seen one here, nor had my dad. My dad saw the bird, but I didn’t.
We finally arrived at the park, and just walked down to the water’s edge, and spotted a pair of Water Thick-knees and a young Purple Heron.

Walking back to the Leisure Centre, we saw nothing much until we reached the gate before the Leisure Centre where Mike heard what sounded like a Fairy Flycatcher. Everyone waited and Mike played its call a bit and it started to call back! Next thing we know it’s flying from bush to bush, and people are trying to get photos, but it was not sitting still. Everybody was hoping for a photo, so we followed it around for quite a while and some people managed to snap a few shots.

After a while people started to move off to the next wetland while Rhys, Zach and I stayed behind hoping for some record shots. We went back to the spot where we first saw it and it came back, so we followed it around a bit until it went towards the one tree. It was sitting still for a good ten seconds and I just snapped my camera and I came out with a few good shots. We were all so pumped with our sightings and decided to go and join the rest of the group at the second wetland. There wasn’t much there, just your common water birds.

Photographs by Penny Dichmont and Ethan Vleggaar.

Report by Ethan Vleggaar (12 years)


I have lived at Atlantic Beach Estate for 7 years, and as a keen birder, have logged some 107 birds seen within the Estate’s boundaries (or flying over) during the various seasons of those years. I must say that, since this walk occurred on a winter’s morning, I was not expecting the tally of 70 birds seen and heard in just 2 and a half hours.

It was such a lovely morning and we saw three birds I had only spotted once each, previously (Cape Batis, White-throated Canary and Speckled Mousebird). While these birds are common in other parts of Cape Town, they are not part of the regular ones seen here. It was great also to add two brand new birds to my Atlantic Beach list – the Fairy Flycatcher (1st heard by Mike and then seen by all the group); then, on the way to another of the wetlands, someone spotted a pair of Red-capped Larks on the driving range, which was another first for the Estate. At the second wetland, we saw Reed Cormorant, African Swamphen, Spotted Thick-knee, Little Grebe, and ten Black-crowned Night Herons which are resident in this area.

For me, the thing I really enjoyed about this walk was the sharing of sightings, no matter how common the birds might be to someone else. I was reminded as well of how important it is to learn bird songs, because that was key to identifying some of the birds we first heard and then only saw fleetingly.

A huge thank you to Mike, Penny and the team for sharing their expertise and my joy of the birds in my neck of the woods. It was encouraging to have the enthusiastic youngsters along also.
I hope other people will attend future walks around Atlantic Beach Estate – there is a wealth of bird life, as well as some great fynbos and strandveld fauna and flora, to be seen.

Report by Lydia McIntosh, Resident-Atlantic Beach Estate.