As part of the BirdLife Plettenberg Bay’s winter Coordinated Waterbird Count (CWAC), a small group of us from Nature’s Valley Trust, South African National Parks and BirdLife Plett spent the morning paddling the Groot Rivier in Nature’s Valley counting waterbirds. The Coordinated Waterbird Counts (CWAC) project was initiated by the Animal Demographic Unit (ADU) in 1992 as part South Africa’s commitment to international waterbird conservation. BirdLife Plett has been doing CWAC counts for the past 20 years and as a side project I am going to be analysing the data for the area looking for trends in bird numbers. Next week we will do a CWAC along the Keurbooms River, and past my colonies, lots of gulls! That, however, will be done in a boat, not a canoe. Paddling can be a great deal of fun, but perhaps not so much when you are paddling a big 2 man canoe with 3 people in it and an inexperienced paddler at the back, fail! But oh did I enjoy it! Lack of sleep does tend to make me a bit ridiculous, and I was seriously sleep deprived and so, thankfully, instead of getting frustrated with the poor man at the back, I giggled, laughed and had a ball! Straight lines did not exist in our world. We weaved and wandered along the channels, trying in vain to follow the straight line of Mark’s canoe, but we were all about going through overhanging branches, patches of grass, there was an occasional circle when the possibility of trying to straighten out was too far gone, there were wobbly moments where the stability of our little craft was put to the test but it was all part of the adventure! As were the semi-soaked state I arrived back in, and the blister I now have on my hand. Unfortunately, we did not see the Half-collared Kingfisher I have been dying to see, but we had a total of 13 species for the morning including Grey Heron, Little Grebe, White-breasted Cormorant, Cape Wagtail, Swift Tern and, of course, Kelp Gull. It is going to be interesting to see what we see on the CWAC of Keurbooms River, watch this space!
|Grey Heron. Trying to take photos from a wobbly canoe proved difficult at first!|
|Mark, Maaike and Wally on a beautiful day!|
|White-breasted Cormorant sunning itself.|
|What a stunning place!|
|A cool find on the beach!|
|Swift Terns, en masse.|
|The team! Me, Eliska, Wally, Mark, Brandon and Maaike.|