Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Cape Town has two bird hides and these always provide some form of entertainment. It is a rather lengthy walk to get the hides, compared to other reserves I’ve been to. However, this also provides an opportunity to scout the surrounding area for interesting sights.
I made a quick visit to Rietvlei early on the morning of Christmas Eve 2015. The tide was very low and the salt pans were rather dried up. This resulted in bird activity being quite far away from the viewing hides. Without getting despondent, I continued with my quest.
Along the way I managed to see some Stilts, three African Spoon Bills as well as a Yellow Billed Kite flying overhead. These were all a first for me.
I made my way to the Old Friends Hide. I watched some Flamingos wade in the wetland and eventually take off. These lanky birds look rather comical when flying. In the background I could see a large scoop of Pelicans circling in the air. I was hoping that they would come nearer, but that prospect didn’t seem promising.
I decided to move along to the Sunset hide, further down the wooden pathway. By this time I could see some rain clouds forming. This didn’t deter me. I noticed a good couple of White Throated Swallows flying around, hunting for insects and dragonflies. I saw at least five successful dragonfly and cricket hunts.
With all this activity I knew some rain was bound to fall. The wind started to pick up over the water and it got rather chilly inside the hide. I decided to sit tight and waited for some action.
Then unexpectedly, the Pelicans I was hoping for came and landed in front of the hide. I watched one scoop up a fish with its large beak. I managed to capture a take-off of one of the other pelicans as they were all about to leave.
Sure enough after watching the pelicans a couple of large drops of rain started falling. I packed up my belongings and decided to leave as it would have been a long run back to the car in pouring rain!