04 February 2022

Christmas Eve Present

24 December 2021 - Plettenberg Bay; Day 2

A European Oystercatcher had been present on the Keurboom's Lagoon for the past few weeks and this was one that I needed for my SA list.

We had dinner with our good friends last night and he offered his rubber duck for us to go and check the lagoon this morning. We were at the dock just after 8am to launch the boat and headed out. The tide was quite low, so that prohibited us from getting too close to the banks. After about an hour, I caught sight of it as if flew out from behind some reeds and landed on a sandbank - getting close was another matter, as the two boys had to jump out and pull/push us through the shallow water. As we go close enough, a frigging tourist plane flew low overhead flushing all below..

Tourist plane

When I did relocate it again, it was amongst a huge Tern roost of Sandwich + Greater Crested Terns and a lot further away.

Tern roost - Swift and Sandwich

So a few record images had to suffice. Nevertheless, this was my 5th new SA species of the year, surpassing the 2 that I added in the past 15-years, so I was more than pleased and considered it a worthy Christmas Eve present to myself.

Spot the European Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

There were quite a few Reed Cormorants on the lagoon

Reed Cormorant (Microcarbo africanus)

Along with an assortment of waders; Common Greenshank on the banks

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

Grey Plover

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)


Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

Wader flock, including Bar-tailed Godwit

Find the Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

And of course many Kelp Gull's and Sandwich Tern's

Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)

Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

We stopped for drinks on the opposite bank and were treated to a Jet displaying overhead

Pulling G's

Smoke trail

After a successful morning, we pulled the duck out and headed back for lunch. In the late afternoon, now quite crisped from being out of the sun all winter and autumn, I had a walk along Lookout Beach. On the way down to the beach, got a Red-winged Starling which are common in Plett

Red-winged Starling (Onychognathus morio)

In amongst the dune vegetation between the sea and lagoon, there is a large Kelp Gull breeding colony. Some adults were still on eggs and others had fully fledged young

Juvenile Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)

Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)

Recently fledged

In amongst the Gulls, were African Black Oystercatcher's, many of which were ringed. These are just gorgeous shore birds

African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini)

It took me some time to find the White-fronted Plovers and I only found one pair. I really expected there to be quite a few more

Female White-fronted Plover (Charadrius marginatus)

Male White-fronted Plover (Charadrius marginatus)

In the dune vegetation, a couple of Water Thick-knee's popped out.

Spotted Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis)

The sun was beginning to set, so it was a steep walk back to our apartment on the main road, with a Cape Robin-chat the last bird seen on our first full day of holiday. 

Cape Robin-Chat (Cossypha caffra)

Always think of those no longer with us during these festive times.....this from the graveyard of the 1870 Church near our apartment

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