South Africa, Day 5, 5 September 2018 - West Coast NP

Despite a wet and wild night it dawned bright and fine this morning. After a rather splendid breakfast at the Swept Away guesthouse we drove the short distance north to the West Coast NP for a full day of exploration. On the way into the park Cape Spurfowl were plentiful with 2 roadside Grey-winged Francolins a nice bonus. First port of call was the Geelbek Bird Hide at the southern end of the park. The short walk to the hide is on a boardwalk over saltmarsh and the small pools here were excellent with Kittlitz's Plovers, Three-banded Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Greenshank and a gorgeous Cape Longclaw. The tide was well and truly 'up' from the hide so Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo and a distant African Fish Eagle was all I could muster. On the walk back an African Spoonbill showed nicely on the saltings amongst the African Sacred Ibis.

Kittlitz's Plover

Cape Longclaw

Lesser Flamingoes

Greater Flamingoes

African Spoonbill

Three-banded Plover

 Black-winged Stilt

After a coffee in the Geelbek restaurant to the sound of the large colony of Cape Weavers the area by the carpark had 2 Blue Cranes, Hadada Ibis, Banded Martin and 2 distant Eland.

Blue Cranes


Heading up the western (seaward) side of the park we were keen to visit the northern Postburg section which is only open during the September flower season. We were not disappointed! A group of c15 Cape Mountain Zebras was closely followed by our first of several Bontebok. A slow drive around the tracks of this section was spectacular with all the wildflowers and the birding was excellent too - 2 Crowned Lapwings beside the track plus showy Grey-backed Cisticolas, Levaillant's Cisticolas, Malachite Sunbird, 4 Southern Double-collared Sunbird, c6 Black-shouldered Kites, 2 Rock Ketrels, c10 Common Ostriches, 3 White-backed Mousebirds, 2 Bokmakerie and a Long-billed Crombec. Then I hit gold with probably my most wanted bird - Black Harrier! A pair were sailing over a roadside hill giving major views followed by a White Pelican and Rock Kestrel over.

 Black Harrier

Malachite Sunbird

Common Ostrich

 White Pelican

Black-shouldered Kite 

White-backed Mousebird

Cape Sparrow

Black-crowned Lapwings

 Grey-backed Cisticola


 Cape Mountain Zebras

A stop on the rocky coastline revealed the usual suspects of African Black Oystercatchers, Cape Cormorants, Hartlaub's Gulls and Kelp Gulls plus a few offshore Cape Gannets, Karoo Scrub Robins a confiding pair of White-fronted Plovers and along the shore a large gathering of Antarctic Terns. Back at the Geelbek hide the tide had receded a bit so a few more waders were in evidence - several Greenshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Marsh Sandpiper, Curlew, Whimbrel and c30 Curlew Sandpipers.

 African Black Oystercatchers

White-fronted Plovers

Hartlaub's Gulls

Kelp Gull

We finished our day with a visit to the Abrahamskraal Bird Hide which overlooks a reed-fringed pool. Here we had Black Crake, 5 African Purple Swamphen, a calling Little Bittern, Red-knobbed Coot, 2 Cape Teal and Little Grebe. Walking back to the car a male Southern Black Koorhan flew up and parachuted down in a bizarre display flight! A daytime Cape Dune Molerat crossing the road nearby was, I am told, very unusual and lucky!

African Purple Swamphen

Red-knobbed Coot

  Cape Dune Molerat

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