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

02 to 12 January 2023.

cbc outing 75th celebration 06 HH 02 jan 2023


CBCCOCTBBY2023 Week 1&2, Days 2 to 15: RariTEAs.

Day 2 of the Challenge found us at Strandfontein section of the False Bay Nature Reserve also known as Strandfontein Sewerage Works. We were birding along the causeway between P1 and P2 with the ‘Birding Bus’ behind us. After enjoying good views of the beautiful Blue-billed Teals, I indicated to Andrew that a cuppa tea may be required. Whilst we were sipping our tea and coffee the ‘Birding Bus’, driven by Mike Mason overtook us. They hadn’t gone but 50 metres when the vehicle halted, and all the occupants piled out. Our focus switched to people-watching as there seemed to be some excitement.

I suggested to Andrew that we cautiously approach the phalanx of Trevor, Michael, Karin, Aadam, Oli and Matthew, who were creeping forward with their camera lenses poised, before they dropped to the ground in the road. (Looking like they were going to do some pushups but this time it wasn’t a case of ‘drop and give me ten’ but ‘drop and give me Tern!’ Before them stood an obliging young Arctic Tern! A tricky bird to see from land and in the city. We too could watch the bird and listen to the clicking camera shutters before it took off.

We have fortuitously been in the right place at the right time on three further occasions and it seems to be emerging that that there is a correlation between us drinking tea and the proximal sighting of a challenge rarity.

This past Sunday 15th January we had chosen to walk along the beach at Olifantsbos in Cape Point after which we had enjoyed a cuppa tea, coffee, and rusks. I had just told the confiding Cape Bunting where to look for the crumbs when my phone pinged. It was Cliff Dorse sharing the news of the Baird’s Sandpiper and we were within minutes of the Surfers Parking lot! Before you knew it, we were following Cliff’s footprints in the sand, and we were the second and third people to view the bird. We sat for at least an hour or more watching it, chatting to Cliff about birds, orchids and more before the twitchers started to arrive.

We have been fortunate to see some of the other rarities that have been reported in the first couple of weeks of January including the Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pectoral Sandpiper, European Honey Buzzard, Sand Martin, and Black-winged Pratincole. Thanks to all those who have used their birding skills, knowledge, and experience to track down these special birds and enable us to share the sightings.

If you see us in the field do join us, just don’t forget your thermos.

photographs by Andrew Hodgson.

Report by Heather Hodgson.