Hermanus Bird Club CWAC Count

Lee Burman reports that the Hermanus Bird Club carried out its half-yearly CWAC (Co-ordinated Waterbird Count) on the Klein River on Thursday, 17 January 2013. These counts have been undertaken by the Club at least twice a year for the past 12 years or so and valuable data has been collected.  Over this period a total of 65 waterbird species were recorded, including 49 resident species and 16 Palearctic migrants.  Of the resident species, 6 are listed as Red Data species and 5 are South African endemics.  One species, the Goliath Heron, is a Western Cape rarity, while two species, White-backed Duck and African Black Duck are uncommon species in the Western Cape.

The latest count in January 2013 yielded 2,983 birds of 35 species.  They included 816 Greater Flamingo.  Conditions seem to suit them at the moment as they have been around in large numbers for quite a while and are beautiful to watch.  They have not been recorded in such numbers since 2003/04.  We also counted 703 Common Terns, 661 Red-knobbed Coot and 354 Yellow-billed Ducks amongst smaller numbers of numerous other species.

Two species, African Black Oystercatcher and Caspian Tern (both Red Data species) have on a number of occasions reached or surpassed their 1% global population thresholds (i.e. RAMSAR status).  Four species reached or surpassed their 0.5% global population, (African Black Oystercatcher, Caspian Tern, Hartlaub’s Gull and White-breasted Cormorant) giving them Sub-regional Important Bird Area Status.

It is thus appropriate that the Bot River Important Bird Area is in the process of being expanded to include the Klein River Estuary.