13 April 2024

Fynbos and beach

29 December 2023 - Hermanus; Day 8

I was up early and it was quiet - no wind for the first time since we arrived, but it was overcast. I guess you cant have it all. Whilst the family slept in, I took a short drive to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and I wasnt the only one who had the same idea. This is a popular Reserve within Hermanus for hikers and trail runners and occasional birders like me. In the gardens, I found a ringed Olive Thrush

Olive Thrush (Turdus olivaceus)

I did the single-track walk to the Waterfall (at least I think so, as it was dry), but despite there being no wind, there were not very many birds seen or heard on the walk. I stopped for a Dragonfly

Dragonfly sp.

and then some of the flowering Protea's - I think this is the Pincushion Protea?

Pincushion Protea?

I stopped when I got to where the waterfall would be if there had been rain or the small river was flowing. I had read that this was potentially a good spot for Victorin's Warbler - but not a single bird was calling anywhere. Whilst just sitting and waiting, I did get a female Malachite Sunbird

Malachite Sunbird (Nectarinia famosa)

and later a spectacular male Cape Sugarbird in dim conditions

Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer)

I then headed back and drove home to pick up the family. We jumped back into the car and drove to Grotto Beach where we could walk along the wide and clean beach to the estuary with our friends Sonja and Guy. After the walk, a hearty breakfast at Duchies and then we just chilled on the beach as the clouds lifted and made way for a glorious day.

I took a short walk down to the rocks to photograph some African Oystercatcher's eating Mussels off the rocks (Musselcatcher doesn't sound as good as Oystercatcher!). The one with the orange bill must be a juvenile.

African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini)

There were some Terns flying by, as always, the majority are Common Terns

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

with the occasional Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

I noted this 'Hartlaub's' had a pale eye which caused some confusion. However, Trevor Hardaker and Peter Ryan both confirmed that there is a small population of pale-eyed Hartlaub's, although this is not mentioned in any of the field guides that I have.

Pale-eyed Hartlaub's Gull (Chroicocephalus hartlaubii)

This one had the expected dark eyes

Hartlaub's Gull (Chroicocephalus hartlaubii)

It was then back home, all of us a little crisped by the sun.

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