Our Mission and Values at GBT...
Here at GBT we hope to foster an interest in all things birding, and in so doing, also create a deep and abiding respect for our natural environment. We do so without taking ourselves too serioulsy, but we do take the state of our environment very seriously. We share our knowledge and our passion for all things birding willingly and enthusiastically.
Starting in the Western Cape, the SOOTY FALCON at the Emily Moon Resort in Plettenberg Bay is still drawing a regular crowd and was still performing well yesterday. According to Simon Valentine, the owner of Emily Moon, there have now been in excess of 600 people through their property to see the bird. That is pretty incredible and is showing the hugely increasing popularity in birding in this country. Elsewhere in the province, a YELLOW WAGTAIL was reported from Long Beach in Kommetjie on the weekend associating with Cape Wagtails on the rocks there whilst at least one GOLIATH HERON was still present at Verlorenvlei near Eland’s Bay on the weekend as well. And a cracking white WANDERING ALBATROSS was reported about 50 nautical miles south of Cape Point on Monday on board a trawler trip.
In the Northern Cape, an EMERALD-SPOTTED WOOD DOVE was reported from Rooibrak waterhole along the Aoub in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
In the Free State, 2 RED (GREY) PHALAROPES were reported at a salt pan close to Bloemhof Dam on the weekend, first seen on 5 April and still present on 9 April. The co-ordinates for the site have been given to me as follows: S 27 ° 44' 11.2" E 25 ° 20' 13.7"
And, finally, in Mpumalanga, there were still reports coming through of the LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Leeupan near Evander coming through earlier in the week whilst the other Leeupan, in the Kruger National Park, still had 2 ALLEN’S GALLINULES at the beginning of the week as well.
Alright, on to some news and, starting in the Western Cape, a GOLIATH HERON was reported from Strandfontein Sewage Works late yesterday afternoon. Given the proximity to Rondevlei Nature Reserve, one has to believe that it is probably the same individual that has been residing there now for some time and is just moving around a little bit more than usual.
In Kwazulu Natal, there was some excitement on the weekend when a pelagic trip out of Durban turned up an unusual (for the area) CORY'S SHEARWATER as well as only the 3rd ever record for the province of GREAT SHEARWATER. Also of interest was that the single GREATER FLAMINGO was also still present in Durban harbour on the weekend.
The most exciting news, however, comes from the North-west Province, where a GREY WAGTAIL was reported at a dam near the Madikwe Hills Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve last Sunday.
Sorry that I am sending this out so late, but it’s the first chance that I’ve had to actually sit down and type this since this afternoon.
As you all know, we have a new celebrity in town, a BLACK SKIMMER, which has turned up at Rietvlei near Milnerton this afternoon. Close to 50 people made it through there this afternoon still after the news was broken and I suspect that tomorrow is going to be rather busy there, especially with all the out-of-towners arriving.
Some people are obviously not sure where to go, so here are some directions:
From the City, you can get there by driving out on Table Bay Boulevard towards the northern suburbs, then taking the turnoff to Paarden Eiland and Milnerton (R27). You drive along Marine Drive to Milnerton, where it becomes Otto du Plessis Drive, and keep on towards Table View. In Milnerton you will see the estuarine part of the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve on your left, the road crosses the reserve at the Diep River Bridge; Rietvlei will now be on your right. Drive on to Table View and take a right turn into Blaauwberg Road (at the traffic lights at the Pick 'n Pay and Bayside Shopping Centres); in Blaauwberg Road you must take the first turn to the right into Pentz Drive (at the traffic lights), and carry on along Pentz Drive to the first 4-way stop where it crosses Grey Avenue. Turn right there and carry on to the end - you then enter the reserve through the gate to the Milnerton Aquatic Club. The gate guard from probably be able to explain to you from there where to go for the bird.
This afternoon, it spent quite a bit of time in front of the original hide on an island there with some pelicans, but also flew a number of circuits in front of the hide. Later on, it then settled down to roost a little bit north of this closer to the main gravel road. But effectively, it could be anywhere on the body of water, so some searching may be required in order to locate it.
As mentioned earlier, the reserve manager has agreed to open up the gates earlier than usual tomorrow morning at 6am for those who want to give it a go early on.
Unfortunately, with heavy overcast skies and light rain this afternoon, the photographic opportunities were not great, but just so that you know what to look for, here is one of my shots as a reference taken this afternoon.