Members of BirdLife Overberg, collaborators and friends have been recording species in the Overberg region since the start of the pandemic on a regular monthly basis. We are currently working on a statistical overview of the migrants visiting our region in view of the developing of an introductory talk forming part of the workshop on ‘Summer Migrants’. Herewith are just few initial findings that make for interesting reading.
Some species have been recorded at least once during every month of the year and one can therefore assume that these are overwintering – in most cases probably first year birds: Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Greenshank, Grey Plover, Black Sawwing, Greater Striped Swallow, Little Swift, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern and Whimbrel. Other species that were present for most months of the year include Common Buzzard, Diederik Cuckoo, Osprey, Common Ringed Plover, Common and Curlew sandpipers, Little Stint, Barn Swallow and Ruddy Turnstone. We are currently reviewing these findings and hope to develop in-depth analysis and discussion on this.
The Overberg also produced some interesting rare and/ or vagrant migrants for the region over the last three years. Most of these are often reported in SA Rare Bird News reports. Note should be taken of species such as the European Honey Buzzard, Corn Crake (One record of a dead bird), African Emerald, Common and Jacobin Cuckoos, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Amur Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Eurasian Oystercatcher, American and Pacific Golden plovers, Pectoral and Wood sandpipers, Red-backed Shrike, Western Yellow Wagtail, Garden Warbler and Whinchat. It should also be mentioned that a few resident SA birds that have not been present in the Overberg region in the past are now being recorded fairly regularly. The White-fronted Bee-eater, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Long-crested Eagle, Squacco Heron, Lesser Striped Swallow and African Palm Swift serve as examples.
It is evident that the distribution of species is changing rapidly, probably due to a variety of reasons. These provisional findings clearly illustrate that our monthly bird counts are worth our while and it would be interesting to see where this will progress in the medium to long term. We would like to encourage all birders, be they local or visiting, to contribute to these counts, preferably by using BirdLasser and contributing to SABAP2.