Macassar Waste Water Treatment Works 22 July 2015

Due to stormy, cold weather, only five people braved the elements for this month’s mid-week outing. Expectations were not particularly high as we left the meeting point and headed down the road to the works.

Suddenly, Des Lazar said “What’s that bird up there?” A long way off, hovering in the wind, against a stormy grey sky, was some sort of raptor, just a dark silhouette. We got a glimpse of its pale body and then a Pied Crow flew close, making us realise just how big it was.

“Could be a Martial Eagle?” I said, and we drove further towards the works for a better view – still nothing conclusive, even using a scope. Eventually we ended up driving round the boundary of the works where we could see it more clearly from an open area and sure enough an adult Martial Eagle. We watched it for a while and then lost it, so returned to the works to check in. Resuming the outing, we suddenly saw most of the birds on the lagoon near the sea take flight – yes, the Martial Eagle had spooked them all, including a flock of about 250 Greater Flamingos that flew around in circles, much to our delight.

Due to unpleasant weather and our being a small group, we decided to bird by car, getting out at various spots.

Bush birding was rather quiet, but we did see Cape Canaries, Southern Red Bishops, Yellow Bishops and African Pipit. In and around the lagoon area were lots of Black-winged Stilts, Blacksmith Lapwings, White-breasted Cormorants and a couple of Pied Avocets, as well as Kittlitz’s, Three-banded and White-fronted Plovers plus lots of Greater Flamingos. Red-knobbed Coots were the most numerous birds on the pans, with some Red-billed and Cape Teal, a few Cape Shovelers, Hartaub’s Gulls and one Grey-headed Gull in breeding plumage.

The sun was now shining and a pair of Spotted Thick-knees was a nice sighting just before we ended the outing.

A total of 41 species were seen and the small group all agreed it was a more exciting morning than expected and well worth the effort of braving the cold.

Simon Fogarty.