11 September 2023

Winter Solstice Charadrius

21 June 2023 - Leeupan

A couple of Chestnut-banded Plovers and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull had been reported at Leeupan and since I needed the Plovers and it was way closer than driving to the west coast, it was a no-brainer to make a plan to get out there.

It was a fair drive from Midrand, but I arrived at the Pan around 8am and was the only person present. It was a bigger dam than I expected and there was only access to part of it. I drove slowly along the edge of the dam and enjoyed the myriad of waders and waterfowl on the dam - there were a few Three-banded Plover's

Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris)


But they were vastly outnumbered by Kittlitz's Plovers

Kittlitz's Plover (Charadrius pecuarius)








Black-winged Stilts foraged in the shallows along the waters edge

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)






It was great to see numbers of Cape Teal

Cape Teal (Anas capensis)



and a distant Great-crested along with a closer Black-necked Grebe in winter plumage - love the red eye!

Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)




A few Brown-throated Martin's were hawking low over the still water

Brown-throated Martin (Riparia paludicola)



I had a fly by of a few Greater Flamingo's

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)


I got to a point where I couldn't drive any further and I hadn't yet found my target. So, I then had to continue on foot finding a lone Curlew Sandpiper which is a great wader to see inland

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)



Suddenly, amongst a few Kittlitz's I spied a small pale wader - success, this was a juvenile Chestnut-banded, so sat down in the sand to get a low angle and spent some time with it

Juvenile Chestnut-banded Plover (Charadrius pallidus)






I knew there were more than one around, so continued walking and a little further on found both the male and female - awesome little waders. As this was a lifer, no excuses for the number of photo's below

Male Chestnut-banded Plover (Charadrius pallidus)






Female Chestnut-banded Plover (Charadrius pallidus)


Male and Female Chestnut-banded Plover (Charadrius pallidus)










In the same area there was a large flock of Lesser Flamingo's which decided to relocate to the other side of the dam before I could get closer

Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)





It was certainly well worth the drive to get there early, as the wind did pick up around 10am. Satisfied, I walked back to the car and of course one of the Chestnut-banded was foraging on the waters edge next to my car - doesn't that always happen? Nevertheless, I was more than happy with finding them on my walk, although there was no sign of the Gull..


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