22 January 2012 – the west coast disappoints…

Our first local outing of the year and we had some big plans – get into the West Coast National Park early to catch the early morning light for photography, work diligently through all the waders at Geelbek to see if we can pick out a rarity (wishful thinking!) and meet up with our friends, Faansie and Ronel Peacock, to give them some feedback on our recent trip to Thailand as they were also heading off there in a few weeks time. Well, it didn’t all go quite as planned…

Leaving home, the skies were clear and, as we headed north, we noticed some ominous looking mist ahead of us. We were soon in the thick of it and, by the time we entered the park, it was totally greyed over with no light at all. We headed towards Geelbek, a little despondent because of the lack of photographic light and, along the boardwalk to the hide, found a couple of Kittlitz’s Plover chicks that couldn’t have been very old at all. Even with the poor light, we grabbed a few photos of them wondering if they will ever grow into their legs…

Kittlitz's Plover chick

In the hide, we started scanning through the waders and an intensive couple of hours of scanning turned up nothing out of the ordinary at all – a small consolation prize was managing to get our first photos of Eurasian Curlew for the challenge. Surprising that, with a species that is not that uncommon here and that we had already seen a number of times since the inception of the challenge, this was the first time we had actually managed to get a photo of it. It was also still dark enough that the owls were confused and we had a Marsh Owl flying over the salt marshes while we sat in the hide. It was a pity that it was so distant as it may have made for some interesting photos.

Eurasian Curlew

Marsh Owl in the mist

Faansie and Ronel joined us in the hide and, eventually once the birds had retreated to far for decent views, we moved on to Abrahamskraal. Once again, just the usual species were present and, with the crappy light, it didn’t even provide us with any decent photo ops. By now, hunger was starting to set in, so we moved on to the restaurant at Geelbek where we enjoyed a long lunch and lots of chatting about our trip, the only part of our day that actually went according to plan today! Ordinarily, we would have headed back out into the field after lunch, but instead, we decided to call it a day and just took a slow drive back home. Still good to get out into the field again and enjoy one of our favourite local spots.

male Yellow Canary


~ by hardakerwildlife on February 5, 2012.

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