SA Rare Bird News Report – 17 September 2020

Starting in the Western Cape, the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was still present at Kliphoek Salt Pans on Kuifkopvisvanger farm in Velddrif on Saturday while a BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE EAGLE was seen along the R27 near the Silverstroomstrand turn-off on Tuesday. Other lingerers included the GREEN-BACKED HERON still around Texel Close in Marina da Gama on Friday, the GOLIATH HERON still at Distell Dam in Stellenbosch on Sunday, another GOLIATH HERON seen again at a farm dam east of Philadelphia on the R304 at -33.702, 18.675 on Saturday and the other GREEN-BACKED HERON also still at Island Lake in Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve near Robertson on Sunday too. Moving eastwards, the FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCK was still on the dam between Swellendam and Buffeljagsrivier at -34.036, 20.524 on Friday while, over on the Garden Route, a SQUACCO HERON was seen again in the channel between Rondevlei and Langvlei near Wilderness yesterday, several LESSER STRIPED SWALLOWS were present at the bridge on the N2 over the Goukamma River near Sedgefield on Monday and the YELLOW-THROATED PETRONIA was still coming to the feeders at Reflections Eco-Reserve near Wilderness until at least Saturday.
Red-necked Phalarope at Kliphoek Salt Pans© Lamorna Georgiades
Up in Northern Cape, there was some local surprize when a GREY PLOVER was found in Prieska on Sunday. The Eastern Cape turned up some exciting provincial birds at the Wild Coast Sun on Saturday with both a GREY WAXBILL and a GOLDEN-TAILED WOODPECKER being seen. According to locals, it has been at least a decade since the last Waxbill sighting in the province while the Woodpecker is only the second confirmed record for the province.
Grey Plover in Prieska© Bets BotesGrey Waxbill at the Wild Coast Sun© Stewart MacLachlan
Grey Waxbill at the Wild Coast Sun© Corne ErasmusGrey Waxbill at the Wild Coast Sun© Jorrie Jordaan
Grey Waxbill at the Wild Coast Sun© Larry McGillewie
Golden-tailed Woodpecker at the Wild Coast Sun© Corne ErasmusGolden-tailed Woodpecker at the Wild Coast Sun© Barry Kurten
Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, a FRIGATEBIRD species was seen heading north from Blythedale Beach yesterday. Views were inconclusive and the species could not be confirmed, but it was thought to possibly be a Lesser Frigatebird. Elsewhere, a HARTLAUB’S GULL was present at the Umgeni River mouth yesterday and a single LESSER FLAMINGO was found on a farm dam at New Hanover, 30km north of Pietermaritzburg, on Monday and was still there yesterday. Unfortunately, it appeared rather weak and was eventually taken to a rehabilitation centre yesterday. Other lingerers still causing some local excitement included the GREY-HEADED KINGFISHER still around the Fairbreeze Mondi offices in Mtunzini today and the BURCHELL’S COURSERS still present on Galway farm near Normandien yesterday (where as many as 4 adults and at least one chick have now been seen together).
Burchell’s Courser in Normandien© Dave SandersBurchell’s Courser in Normandien© David Hoddinott
Burchell’s Coursers in Normandien© Avril Eshmade
Grey-headed Kingfisher in Mtunzini© Ian GordonGrey-headed Kingfisher in Mtunzini© Danielle Johnston
Grey-headed Kingfisher in Mtunzini© Terry StallardGrey-headed Kingfisher in Mtunzini© Robert Graham
Grey-headed Kingfisher in Mtunzini© Stewart ClarkeHartlaub’s Gull at Umgeni River mouth© Mike O’Donaghue
Lesser Flamingo in New Hanover© Horst VoigtsLesser Flamingo in New Hanover© Gareth Preiss
Into the Free State where a BLACK-RUMPED BUTTONQUAIL was seen at Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve near Memel at -27.555, 29.611 yesterday. In Mpumalanga, at least one CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVER was still at Leeupan near Leandra at -26.562, 29.001 on Saturday. Gauteng chimed in with a rather out-of-place BLACK STORK seen in Midrand at -25.939, 28.059 on Tuesday afternoon while the SLATY EGRET was still moving between Walkhaven Dog Park and Gnu Valley farm in Muldersdrift until at least Monday.
Slaty Egret at Gnu Valley farm© Willie VictorBlack Stork in Midrand© Robin van Aardt
Over in the North-west Province, the popular LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was still at Rockwall Dam near Rustenburg on Saturday while the LONG-CRESTED EAGLE was also still around Olifantsnek Dam on Sunday.
Lesser Black-backed Gull at Rockwall Dam© Shaun McGillewieLesser Black-backed Gull at Rockwall Dam© Helen Badenhorst
Lesser Black-backed Gull at Rockwall Dam© Bernard Tabane
Long-crested Eagle near Olifantsnek Dam© Shaun McGillewieLong-crested Eagle near Olifantsnek Dam© Helen Badenhorst
Up in Limpopo, it was all happening in the Kruger National Park with 2 LESSER FLAMINGOS found at the Punda Maria hide on Saturday that were still there on Tuesday and the AFRICAN SKIMMERS still at Sable Dam until at least Tuesday as well where up to 3 individuals have been seen together.
Lesser Flamingos at Punda Maria© SANParks WebcamLesser Flamingos at Punda Maria© Erika Vorster
African Skimmers at Sable Dam© Ingrid de BruynAfrican Skimmer at Sable Dam© Jono Savadier
And finally, in Namibia, an AFRICAN CRAKE was found in the gardens of Ondundu Lodge in the Huab River valley on Tuesday and was still present there yesterday while a COMMON REDSHANK was present at Mile 4 Salt Works in Swakopmund on Monday.
African Crake at Ondundu Lodge© Johann Veldsman
Thank you to all observers who have contributed their records. Please continue to send through any reports of odd birds as well as continued updates on the presence of rarities already previously reported, no matter how mundane you think they may be. Even if you think someone else has probably sent in a report, rather send the report yourself as well. The only way to improve this service and to make it as useful as possible to everyone is if it can be as comprehensive as possible. Kind regardsTrevor
Cape Town, South Africa

Social media initiative started to save Muizenberg beach huts

Published by Kirsten Jacobs on September 11, 2020 44911

They’ve probably appeared on every marketing campaign about Cape Town for decades, provided a backdrop to countless photographs and are such a colourful part of local beach life, that it’s inconceivable to imagine them not being there.

Red, yellow, green and blue — the iconic, photogenic Beach Huts on Muizenberg Beach are hurting. Just as 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, the primary colour boxes on this famous surfer’s beach are not so bright right now.

The 31 huts are in need of urgent attention before they are removed for being an eyesore and safety hazard. When local beach-goer Angela Gorman walked past the huts recently, she was shocked to see the dilapidated state they were in.

“Muizenberg is my favourite beach and it is tragic to see these iconic, vibrant parts of our heritage in such appalling condition. I would love to see a community project set up to contribute towards maintenance of the huts,” says Gorman.

She decided that the only way to get something done was to get it started herself. Gorman put on her proactive cap and set up a Facebook page called Save Our Beach Huts, calling for material sponsorship like wood, paint and brushes, along with volunteers to help paint and repair the wooden structures.

The response has been amazing, with commitment to help coming not only from Muizenberg itself, but from across Cape Town. Words of encouragement have also come in from people worldwide who have visited Cape Town in the past and remember the bright huts.

“I’m aiming to repair one hut at a time and hope that once people see us actually working on the project, more volunteers and donors will come forward,” says Gorman, who is hoping to get work started as soon as November. According to her the huts were last painted and repaired in 2017.

Phase one of her plan is to repair and paint the first 25 huts up to the Lifesaver’s Tower, with sponsorship for repair of the first four already secured.

“We are currently waiting for the City Council to provide us with the technical specifications for the wood and paint to be used before going ahead,” says Gorman, who said the City Council are happy for her to raise awareness on social media, and try to get as many interested parties involved as possible.

She confirmed the support of several role players, including the City of Cape Town, Muizenberg Improvement District, Neighbourhood Watch and Surfer’s Corner. The ultimate goal is to secure community maintenance of the huts after they have been repaired.

Angela is motivated to see the project through because the huts symbolise happiness to her that goes back to family outings as a child.

“Every time you walk past there are people taking photos and admiring them  They symbolise a family day at the beach.  As a Swiss friend said on a Facebook post —  These huts are such a symbol, used by the international travel industry to promote South Africa.”

Apart from being part of Muizenberg’s DNA, the huts bring added value in the form of Instagram publicity and more importantly as a backdrop for advert and film shoots.


Anyone wanting to get involved to help save the Muizenberg Beach Huts can contact  Angela Gorman via email

Social media

Join the Save Our Beach Huts Facebook

Hacking Team at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – September 2020.

This is a voluntary working relationship with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club.

Spring has arrived at Zandvlei and there is lots on the go. Down at the “bends” between Thesens bridge and the No.2 corner, dredging of the estuary is taking place. This is long over due and is part of the long term maintenance of the estuary. Also to be seen is the new Strandveld garden layout adjoining the Zandvlei Nature Reserve office (the old Rendeveue/bowling green). It is a work in progress and looks very interesting.

The sky was blue the air was warm, with a slight breeze from the NW, with rain forecast for tomorrow. The mouth of the estuary was open and the water flowing under the railway bridge was at 1 metre per 8 seconds and crystal clear.

Bert carried on in his area chopping large branches which we could hear all afternoon. Barry went to work on some trees he knew in the area adjacent to Rutter Road pond on the west side of the railway line. Earlier he was showing us his new high quality facemask made with graphene. The railway lines are rusty with no trains going up or down the line for months. They operate from Cape Town to Retreat station reported in the news. Sue got stuck into the vechia which has “taken off like a house on fire”. We cleared this section very well last year we thought, ha,ha. Robin and I carried on in the reed beds cutting down rooikrans, manatoka,brazilian pepper and port jackson saplings which are becoming well established. There is plenty to do in this area.
Robin found a few interesting business cards from a Maserati motorcar salesman. Printed on them is they are worth R20,000.00 to the person as commission for the sale of a car at the Cape Town franchise. What on earth are these cards doing in a wetland area no where near a road?
There were plenty of dragonflies about and horseflies as well. While working the Leopard Toads were calling intermittently from the entrance of the Keysers and Westlake Rivers to the north end of Zandvlei.
31 species of birds were seen and the highlight was a pair of Yellow billed Ducks with 8 chicks being maneuvered around the canal. There are still a few Greater Flamingo present at the northern end of the vlei.