Monday, 4 February 2013

Investigating Robberg

Probably on one of the hottest days of my parents stay it was decided that we would go for a walk at Robberg Nature Reserve. The 5 hour walk was deemed too long (thank goodness!), and so we settled for a shorter walk to the ‘Seagull nursery’, another of my study sites. The view as you arrive is stunning, and we saw a pod of dolphins which set a positive tone for the rest of the day. What an amazing downhill trundle! Except for the ants.. They bite! The sun is warm on your back as you wander along the trail that starts as fynbos and descends through cliffs and eventually reaches the beach. A description is so inadequate of the beauty of everything. I cannot properly convey the warmth of the sun as you march along, hot but not yet a scorching burn, and then to move into the coolness of the cliffs, where amazing little flowers of yellow and purple grow, precariously clinging to the small ledges and somehow flourishing. And then to reach the beach at the bottom and throw off hot takkies to plunge bare feet into rather cold water. It is an amazing place that I will be frequenting as a study site! Also on the beach were my subjects. With six fledged juveniles in total, this is a nice, relatively small colony that I hope to monitor closely. I hope to ring all the adults of the colony, as well as all the juveniles. This is a breeding site that experiences high predation by genets and otters, and I am keen to put up some cameras to catch the culprits in action in the next breeding season! After exploring the beach, and after copious photos, it was time for a swim! Another benefit of this field site is a stunning channel to dip into after a downward hike with heavy packs and after a hot few hours chasing and ringing gulls. But, man, the water here is cold! Hopefully I’ll toughen up after enough dips into the sea! Refreshed, we headed to investigate the little kopje that was the ‘Seagull nursery’. A pleasant walk around showed that the birds had finished breeding for this season. And then what goes down must go up. Up, up, up, huff and puff. In the very hot burning afternoon sun. With none of the refreshing cliff coolness. We all collapsed into the car and headed home for a much needed lunch and juice. Tired but refreshed; you cannot leave views like that and not feel buoyed.

Nic walking to the 'Seagull nursery'.
White-breasted Cormorant, Phalacrocorax lucidus.
African Oystercatcher, Haematopus moquini.
Agama of sorts?

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