As promised before, it is essential for me to post about birds at the Southern point of Africa. I’m at my most happy place when three things fall in place. .. When a big flock of terns is around, just a few 100 metres from our house, my camera strapped over my shoulder and time to try to capture them the best I can. I have so many photographs of birds, it takes quite long to go through them to choose the best. Maybe it’s time to sort them… ? The ones chosen below aren’t necessarily the very best, but it gives you an idea of what we see here at Suiderstrand!
Swift tern on the left and right, in the middle it looks like a Caspian tern?
My bird book is currently in Suiderstrand, so I am relying now on internet searches… and hope I’m correct… Quite a number of different type of terns visit the beaches of this area. And big numbers are breeding at De Mond nature reserve… The flocks found at Suiderstrand come and go. But at Rasperpunt (between Suiderstrand and Agulhas) you will mostly find one huge flock, and with high tide they move closer to the area just below our house.
On our last day at Suiderstrand two weeks ago, I saw this group of birds, they must be a type of sanderling, but not quite sure. They were a bit bigger than the usual ones we always see along this coast. They were beautiful.
The big flock of terns we usually see, is so difficult to photograph, but below are a few attempts… In this group it looks like a few bigger swift terns together with the flock of small sandwich terns, or maybe the common tern…? Here I’m again not sure how to identify them… There are also a few gulls around. We’ve chatted recently to two biologists, also looking at the terns, they said they were giving up to identify al the difference types of terns, because when they breed they have different colouring and then it just gets very complicated. So for now I will also rather focus on getting nice photographs, and not on identifying them… 🙂
Except for the terns there are of course many oystercatchers along this coastline. You will see one flying above with the terns. Nearby our house is a very big “colony” of oystercatchers which is quite strange, because they usually roam in small groups of 2 to 4. I’ve counted once about 36 of them together at this spot.
Cormorants are also very common here. What fascinates me about them, is that they always are at one spot (or these that we see often). They don’t really move around a lot. At the blue lagoon there are always a few regulars, always sitting at the same spot… It must be quite a boring life…! We once saw a very big group of black cormorants at Rasperpunt. They must have been migrating or something and rested here for a while. It was the only time ever that we saw this big flock around…
And then there were our own lesser kestrels (rooivalkies). We had one or two pairs breeding at our house. But when we came there end of 2019, we discovered that our neighbours put up a nesting place for the lesser kestrels and were feeding them at their house, so of course they would rather stay there. We were very furious about this and now just see them in the distance or sometimes they would fly over to our house for a short time. The pictures below were taken from the time when they were nesting at our house…
These were only a glimpse of birds along the coast. There are many more, but let’s keep them for another time …