05 May 2013 – chasing a marabou…
Once again, our target for the day was a new species for our challenge list. A Marabou Stork had been reported from farmlands just to the east of Bredasdorp and seemed to be hanging around. It is still a fairly rare bird in the Western Cape and, even although we had seen it in the province before, we had not managed to connect with one since we started with our challenge. We invited friends Bryn de Kocks and Cathryn Golby to join us for the twitch and collected them in Somerset West on the way through.
After about 1,5 hours drive, we arrived in the right area and, after surprising a Black Sparrowhawk that had just recently killed a Helmeted Guineafowl and was busy eating it right next to the road (it took off and disappeared before we could get any shots of it.!), we started slowly driving along the road. It wasn’t long before Cathryn actually picked up the stork walking around in amongst some sheep out in one of the fields. Great, that was a relatively easy and successful twitch for a change (we have had a lot of bad luck recently with chasing rare birds). We spent the next little while enjoying the bird, watching its antics and taking lots of photos of it. At one point, it found an old animal carcass in one of the fields and spent some time feasting on this. The carcass looked like it had been there for weeks already and it really didn’t look all that pleasant to be eating, but the stork certainly seemed to be enjoying it!
We then moved off a little further along the road and spent the next few hours slowing driving and stopping to see what all we could find. There was a surprising number of Denham’s Bustards around and also plenty of Capped Wheatears and Red-capped and Large-billed Larks. A small patch of bush held a few Southern Tchagras and some other common species. But, other than that, there was not too much else to be found, so eventually we began the long drive back home after another successful chase and another new addition to our challenge list.