Farewell to the Waders, West Coast National Park.

17 March 2024.

Leader Mel Tripp.


cbc outing farewell waders 10 PD 17 march 2024


On the 17th of March, CBC went on its annual ‘Farewell the Waders’ outing at West Coast National Park. My mom and I were the first ones at the gate – the park hadn’t opened yet! When we got in, we were greeted by the normal Cape Spurfowl and Cape Bulbuls, as well as about 5…. goats! What were they doing here?

Anyway, we made our way to Geelbek, where Uncle Mel Tripp, the leader of the outing, briefed us on the order of events. After that, we headed to the Seeberg hide, our first destination. On the way, my mom and I were the only two to spot an Osprey flying off into the distance. We were not the only ones to see an unusual raptor though – a few others saw a juvenile Pale Chanting Goshawk on the road to the Seeberg Viewpoint. (It seems that they got lucky getting a bit lost…).
As we were walking down to the hide, some Kittlitz’s Plovers and Little Stints presented us with some good photo opps.

We arrived to the greatest number of birds that most of us had seen here in a long time. For the record, we estimated that we saw about 1500 birds, including many Grey Plovers, Bar-tailed Godwits, Terns, and Whimbrels. It was estimated that there were about 500 Grey Plovers – a record for CBC.
A drop in the ocean… about 45 of the +- 500 Grey Plovers at Seeberg, along with a Eurasian Whimbrel  and some Bar-tailed Godwits.
There were also tons of Red Knots, more than in recent years.

I saw four Little Terns at different times, but only one of them was seen by the other birders. Birds like Sandwich and Common Terns and Eurasian Whimbrels also made a good account of themselves.

A very unexpected sighting was of an Ant-eating Chat, which flew past the hide and then perched briefly. Some birders managed to take a photograph of it. After some discussion, the ID was confirmed by Uncle Mel, David Swanepoel and others.

Some of us went back to Geelbek to have lunch and wait for 13:00 when we were supposed to go to the hide.
Eventually we headed out to the hide. I added Curlew Sandpipers to my list, along with South African Shelduck. Then someone spotted a Terek Sandpiper, and everyone was scrambling to see it with many forgetting to take photos in the excitement. Not much happened after that, so my mom and I decided to leave the hide.
Some people went to Abrahamskraal, but we opted to head home. It was an eventful day, and certainly one that will remain in my memory for a long time.

Photgraphs by Zach Kaspersen, Gertraud Burle, Athol Burrill, Penny Dichmont, Otto Schmidt, Daryl de Beer, Jens Kuhn, David Swanepoel, Sarel Snyman and David Swanepoel.

Report by Zachariah Kaspersen (12 years).