Kenilworth Racecourse

18 June 2015 – by Simon Fogarty

Fifteen birders arrived on a cool but wind free, sunny morning for the outing. We were joined by Ismail Wanbi, the People & Conservation Officer for Kenilworth Racecourse and three of his students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Ismail explained they were doing their monthly bird count and we willingly agreed to assist, adding another dimension to our morning’s birding.

Ismail led the way in front of the grandstand, across the racecourse and under the inner rails to a wide path that wound around the fynbos in the middle of the racecourse. Egyptian Geese, Blacksmith Lapwings and Helmeted Guineafowl were the most numerous species with a couple of large flocks of Rock Doves flying past.

A small wetland area which was pretty dry produced Levaillant’s Cisticola, Karoo Prinia and Cape Robin Chat and around the bend a flock of about thirty Yellow Bishops in non-breeding plumage, feeding on the grass at the edge of the racecourse, provided an identification challenge for some. A Black-shouldered Kite that had been seen perched earlier, reappeared hovering against the backdrop of table mountain. Two dams were visited where we saw White-breasted and Reed Cormorants, African Darter, African Spoonbill, Grey Heron and of course more Gypos and Blacksmith Lapwings. By now the weather had warmed up and the stunning views of Table Mountain In the sunshine made up for the rather slow birding. We reached an area that had recently undergone a controlled burn and the resulting re-generation was clear to see with lots of green shoots appearing in the bare areas.

Here Southern Fiscals, Bokmakieries and Cape Bulbuls were added to our list.

26 species were seen and a very pleasant outing ended at about 11.30. My thanks to everyone who turned up and especially to Ismail for his enthusiasm and willingness to share his knowledge of the area and for helping me to lead.