Koeberg Nature Reserve 16 August 2015

The Koeberg Outing began on a cold and blustery winter’s morning when all sensible birds had hunkered down deep in bushes, well protected from the weather. The not so sensible twenty two birders decided to persevere with their bird watching activities, and as the day progressed, were well rewarded with some excellent sightings.

To start the day off, a Grassbird serenaded us all from the top of a bush, not five meters from the roadway. The light was good and the distinctive russet head, moustacheal stripes and the well-marked streaking on the breast were all clearly visible.

As all birds have to feed, it was not long before the Yellow Canaries were gleaning insects from the fynbos, Cape Robin-Chats became quite abundant and several Southern Double Collared Sunbirds were displaying in their breeding plumage, many of them showing off their yellow epaulets.

Gulls, Pied Crows, Common Starlings and a host of other species started foraging as the weather improved and just before we returned to the Visitor’s Centre, we had excellent sightings of a herd of forty five Eland. Then there was a good sighting of a Peregrine Falcon sitting on its hunting perch on one of the control towers, hoping to spot its daily meal. There were a few flocks of Speckled Pigeons around so it probably did not have to wait too long to catch its prey.

On returning to the Visitor’s Centre, Rocco Nel a member of the Industrial Relations Staff at Koeberg was there to greet us. On the balcony, looking towards the Nuclear Power Station, Rocco gave us a very interesting talk on the functioning of Koeberg, how the electricity was generated and how safely the nuclear rods were managed. Thanks Rocco for a very informative talk.

Rocco then opened the security gates for us to enter the Nature Reserve proper and we were treated to a proliferation of birds feeding on the grasslands amongst Zebra and Springbok. Here we saw Crowned Plover, African Pipit, Red-winged and Pied Starlings as well as Helmeted Guineafowl, Spotted Thicknees. A pair of Rock Kestrel are nesting in an air vent in one of the buildings and we were able to distinctly see the difference in the tail plumage between the male and female. A wonderful sighting.

After the birding was done, we congregated in the Visitors Hall for coffee and sandwiches, where a bird list of forty seven species was put together. Thank-you to all the die-hard birders who came to the Koeberg Outing, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Peter Nupen.

Cape Grassbird
Rock Kestrel