Outing to Macassar Waste Water Treatment Works.
05 September 2023.
Leader Dalton Gibbs.
A group of about 20 members, led by Dalton Gibbs, City of Cape Town, Regional Manager South, Nature Conservation, together with a few conservation interns and field rangers, gathered at the parking behind the Macassar Water Treatment Plant on a chilly September morning.
Our bird count grew quickly, under the beady eye of Dalton. His knowledge of the reserve, the history of the neighbouring Denel property, the regular and migrant bird populations, plants and so forth, was educational. For instance, did you know that South African Shelduck and Cape Shovelers are the only South African endemic ducks?
The Pied Kingfisher is the largest bird able to hover by flapping its wings without using air currents, and to catch prey without flying from a perch. It hovers directly above its prey, hence not needing to account for refraction or bending of light waves between air and water.
Together with 3 scopes to assist bird sightings, and a very informative pool of knowledgeable birders, we saw or heard 52 species of birds. The list included Rock Martin and Brown-throated Martin, Black-headed Heron, Cape Teal, Black-winged Stilt, Grey-headed Gull, Crowned Cormorant, Cape Shoveler, Greater Flamingo, Pied Kingfisher, African Darter, African Black Oystercatcher, Three-banded Plover, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Cape Weaver, Red-faced Mousebird, Southern Red Bishop, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Bokmakierie, Rock Kestrel, Yellow-billed Kite, Black-winged Kite and many more. Of course, there were the usual Egyptian Geese and Sacred Ibis, although Hadeda Ibis was absent.
A couple of summer migrants were seen indicating that the season is changing, such as White-rumped Swifts, Greater Striped Swallows and White-throated Swallows. One of our group, having newly joined the Cape Town Challenge, logged 6 new birds for her challenge list. For a few of us, this was a first visit to Macassar.
The weather was kind to us – minimal wind, some cloud cover, and a slight drizzle starting near the end of our walk, preventing a walk up the dunes. The rain did put a dampener on the traditional post-walk coffee gathering but didn’t impact too much on our time in the reserve.
All in all, a rewarding, enjoyable and informative morning was had. A big thanks to Dalton Gibbs and all his team, and the people who shared scopes and knowledge.
Photographs by Daryl de Beer, Penny Dichmont.
Report by Gillian Matthews.