I had been looking forward to another trip to West Coast National Park for quite some time now. It was decided that the sunny Saturday after the recent rains would be a great day to visit the park.
A friend and I headed out early the morning in order to catch the sunrise from within the park. This was probably one of the best decisions for the day. I was certain that the stormy weather would clear and produce an epic sunrise.
I still had not covered the entire park and that was the mission for the day. We drove up to Seeberg which boasts the best panorama’s of the park. It overlooks the entire Langebaan Lagoon, which is a RAMSAR site.
On the way leading up to Seeberg, we had a quick glimpse of a Steenbok running off into the bushes. As it took off I heard a bird making a terrible noise. It turned out to be a Southern Black Korhaan. I was thrilled as I had not seen one before. I couldn’t believe how noisy they were. It eventually took off and then I spotted another one which took off too.
As sunny weather was forecasted, I was sure that most of the animals and birds would be catching some sun after the rains disappeared. I spotted a little Rock Kestrel perched on one of the stop streets signs. It was all puffed up, trying to warm up in the early morning sun.
There were many little birds perched on top of the bushes. I spotted a Bokmakierie with its distinctive call. I watched it for a little while and saw that it was making some weird movements. The next moment it coughed up something most disgusting.
We made our way back down to Geelbek bird hides overlooking the lagoon. I had timed the tides incorrectly and we ended up viewing the lagoon at low tide. I was hoping to get to see some great wading species, but the water was too far back. We ended up seeing some Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Pied Avocet and Kittlitz’s Plovers.
The salt marshes surrounding the hides were full of water and we watched some Red Billed Teals continuously fighting each other. The pans were very colourful and watching the birds interact around the water sources was great fun.
After lunch we decided to drive up to the Postberg section. As we left our picnic at Geelbek, we noticed a lot of activity in one of the trees. There was a spectacular male Malachite Sunbird feeding on the flowers. It was spectacular to see the full metallic plumage of this little bird.
Along the way to the Postberg section we saw a lot of game activity. We managed to see some Angulate Tortoises, Eland, Bontebok, Kudu and many Steenbok pairs. The Steenbok seemed rather calm and were feeding in the open quite close to our car. One of the males had a deformed horn. It did not look comfortable at all!
Unfortunately the flower season had not started yet so we could not enter the Postberg section. I really would like to make a turn there in spring.
On our way back down and out of the park we stopped over at Abrahamskraal. It had become super cold so we didn’t stay long. We managed to see a Marsh Harrier fly over the wetland. On our way out we saw the sun starting to set. A female ostrich graced us with her presence and walked directly between us and the sunset. We caught a great glimpse of the ostrich bathed in warm golden sunlight.
All in all it was a real adventure spending the whole day in the park. We counted 32 bird and 5 mammal/reptile sightings.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Cal, and think your photographs of the Rock Kestrel and Cape Weaver are outstanding!
Thank You kindly Anne.
Wow Cal, the Kestrel and Cape Weaver shots are as sharp as a Minora Blade – brilliantly done!
The kudu caught me by surprise, that’s one species I would not have expected on the West Coast.