Exploring the roads around Stanford

Johan van der Westhuizen provided the following trip report.

A group of 10 birders left for Stanford from the Eastcliff SPAR parking area just after 7 am. We arrived at the bird hide at Willem Appel se dam at 07h30 and met up with Graeme Hatley, our guide for the day.

As we opened the shutters of the bird hide, an African Swamphen scurried across the water lilies right in front of the hide. Birds seen from the hide included Yellow-billed Ducks, Red-knobbed Coot, Black Crake, Common Moorhen and White-backed Ducks. It started to rain and we decided to remain there until it stopped.

The Klein River (Ruth Vary)

Next up was a drive down the Wortelgat road. Graeme pulled over and we all alighted and started to slowly walk down the road. The first bird we saw was an Intermediate Egret followed by a Purple Heron close to the road. It started to rain and a number of members returned to the vehicles for raincoats and other foul weather gear. Unperturbed we strolled further and saw a Malachite Kingfisher and several Southern Pochards among the more common species. We also spotted Jackal Buzzards, African Marsh Harrier and Brimstone Canaries. A Bokmakierie notified us of its presence with its distinctive song and Bar-throated Apalis, Karoo Prinia and three sunbird species namely Malachite-, Southern Double-collared- and Amethyst Sunbirds could be seen visiting the “Wild Dagga” flowers.

BLO Members brave the drizzle and wind to go birding near Stanford (Graeme Hatley)
Intermediate Egret (Gary Baumgarten)
Malachite Kingfisher (Johan van der Westhuizen)
African Swamphen (Johan Olivier)

Returning to the vehicles we had a quick coffee break. We then left for the Papiesvlei road and saw a number of the more common species normally found in the rural farmland areas. By then a strong wind had come up and it turned quite chilly. Two raptors soared high overhead but we could only guess at what they might have been.

Southern Double-collared Sunbird (Gary Baumgarten)
Oeps! (Johan Olivier)
Bar-throated Apalis (Gary Baumgarten)

On the way back to Stanford, Graeme took us down a narrow dirt road to a wooded area where we spotted a juvenile Klaas’s Cuckoo and an African Dusky Flycatcher. 

Despite the inclement weather, we had a very productive outing with 66 bird species spotted and everybody agreed it was time well spent.

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