LOOKING, LOGGING and LAUGHING through 2023 with CBC in the City of Cape Town.

01 January 2023.

cbc outing 75th celebration 02 HH 01 jan 2023

CBCCOCTBBY2023 Week 1 Day 1: Sunday 1 January 2023.

Andrew’s and my preparation for the Cape Bird Club’s City of Cape Town Birding Big Year was not very thorough. Basically, we checked we could recall our Birdlasser password and registered for the challenge and supplied our cell phone numbers to ensure we were added to the WhatsApp group.

We did, whilst journeying back from a hike in the Limietberg on the 31st of December, discuss some personal aims and principles for us. These included to:

• Have fun and make lots of magical birding memories!
• Visit some natures reserves and birding spots that are new to us
• Upload our photos to iNaturalist – https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/cbc-coct-birding-big-year-2023
• Contribute to Citizen Science by logging loads of observations
• Connect and catch-up with birding friends and make new ones
• Look at birds with fresh eyes and hone and improve our birding skills
• Be good ambassadors for the Cape Bird Club and the Birding Community
• Hope to see a lifer or two
• Post a respectable total and aim to finish in the Top 50

Perhaps we should have done some more preparation and research of stakeouts including baking batches of muffins for the early 5am starts.

It is my intention to visually chronicle Andrew’s and my CBCCOCTBBY2023. Here’s a link for our photo album with images of many of the creatures referred to: https://photos.app.goo.gl/xKYgwjsv35PLs4F29

We spent Hogmanay (Old Year’s Eve) dancing reels and on our way home in the wee hours of the morning we scanned the shores of Zandvlei, seeking a glimpse of anything avian. We were rewarded with sightings of Blacksmith Lapwing and Spotted Thick-knee which I dutifully logged. This meant for a few brief hours we topped the leaderboard for the challenge with our grand tally of two.

With just three hours sleep, we were up and ready ahead of time for the Kirstenbosch monthly count, so we detoured to Wildwood Island for 30 minutes of birding. This with the feathered friends that we had greeted in our garden, meant by the time we gathered beneath Nursery Buttress we already had 33 species logged.

I think this tally of 33 matched the number of birders who participated in the first Kirstenbosch monthly count of 2023, ably co-ordinated by John Magner. We meandered through the gardens following our usual route, chatting, catching up and birding, escorted along by the Common Dotted Border butterflies which were flitting about wherever one looked. Paradise Flycatchers and Spotted Eagle Owls were both seen in Matthew’s Rockery, with the Owls posing obliging for the photographers. Zoe located a Lemon Dove, always a delightful bird to see. Naturally, Andrew and I were distracted at times by other critters with wings and we saw at least four species of Damsels and Dragons viz. Cape Skimmer, Common Citril, Broad Scarlet and Red-veined Dropwing.

At our customary tea-stop, the calls of the Cape Robin-Chat and Sombre Bulbul were temporarily obscured by the popping sound of bottles of bubbly being opened – a lovely gesture to be able to toast the New Year and the Cape Bird Club on the milestone of 75 years!
May 2023 be a wonderful year for us all, with many shared sightings and lots of time in nature with birding friends old and new!

Photographs by Penny Diechmont, Andrew and Heather Hodgson.

Report by Heather Hodgson.