Black Harrier Surprise

Visiting a nature reserve for the first time is always exciting for me. My first visit to West Coast National Park was exactly that and I was even rewarded with a very special sighting.

My first experience in the park was in the beginning of January 2016. I had done a little research on what type of wildlife to expect. It was still peak season and I knew the roads would be full of cars. I decided the best bet would be to spend some time in one of the viewing hides.

I made my first stop at the Abrahamskraal hide, fairly close to the entrance gate. This hide is situated on the only fresh water wetland in the park. I was really surprised at the diverse birdlife that this little water source boasts.

I had only started my photography hobby, so most of my time was spent fiddling with camera settings and figuring out what to do next. I looked up to scan the greater area for any wildlife and to my surprise I saw a raptor flying across the veld.

I could not identify the raptor at the time as I had not seen this kind before. Luckily there were some pictures inside the hide.  The identification plaque said it was a critically endangered species. It turned out to be a Black Harrier.

Black Harrier-1

This Harrier flew in on a mission and looked like it was in charge! It was such a beautiful sight! One that I did not expect at all. It circled the wetland a few times and surveyed the veld, but did not manage to catch a meal.

Black Harrier-2

Unfortunately the sun rises directly into the viewing hide so I struggled to capture the shots well. I hope to see this majestic raptor some time again.

Black Harrier-4

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