Chrissiesmeer Birding – 5 & 6 September 2014
Tripreport & all images by Ben Fouche
I visited Chrissiesmeer with a special group of friends from the 5th to the 7th September.
Our gathering was at Miss Chrissie’s Country House, on the eastern side of the big lake “Chrissiesmeer”. The owners of the country house owns the farm on the eastern side of the lake, which automatically provides access to the lake.
Arriving at the country house, I soon realized that with the limited time for birding and the route covering 8 pentads, I will have to submit my survey data as an “ad hoc” submission to SABAP2.
Pieter Strydom at Miss Chrissie’s was very helpful and gave me a map of the area, showing a 60km route (mostly gravel road).
I had a few hours to spare before my friends arrived and therefore started immediately.
A total of 79 species were recorded over 2 days.
The birding route follows a gravel road through privately owned farms and mainly consists of open grassland and pastures, lakes, wetlands and a few dams with open water, bordered with reeds and bulrushes.
The 1st hour of birding covering Pentad: 2615_3010 produced 33 species which includes such species as Common Fiscal, Southern Masked Weaver, Egyptian Goose, Bokmakierie, African Stonechat, African Black Duck, White-throated Swallow, Helmeted Guineafowl, Pied Starling, Cape Sparrow, Cape Turtle Dove, Long-tailed Widowbird, Cape Longclaw, Hadeda Ibis, Sacred Ibis, African Wattled Lapwing, Cape Wagtail, Blacksmith Lapwing, Yellow-fronted Canary, Black-shouldered Kite, African Pipit, Spur-winged Goose, Southern Red Bishop, Cape Robin Chat, Red-eyed Dove, Laughing Dove, Yellow-billed Duck, Red-knobbed Coot, Common Sandpiper, Rufous-naped Lark and Lesser Flamingo.
During the 2nd hour, I continued on the gravel road through pentad 2620_3010 “Tweelingpanne & Driefonteinpanne”, pentad 2625_3010 “Rietpan” and “Koolbank se panne” and added 13 species, bringing the total to 46 species at the end of the 2nd hour. These include such species as Ant-eating Chat, Rock Kestrel, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Spike-heeled Lark, Black Crake, Red-billed Teal and Reed Cormorant.
From here, I travelled on the R65 (tar road) through pentads 2630_3010 and 2630_3015 and turned north into pentad 2620_3020 and pentad 2615_3015 where I spent most of the 3rd hour at “Antares”, “Lake Banagher” and “Boet se Kringpan”, adding 11 species bringing the total of day 1 to 57 , including such species as Wood Sandpiper, Southern Bald Ibis, Three-banded Plover, Grey Crowned Crane (Mahem – I counted 95 of this specie at “Lake Banager”), African Spoonbill, Grey Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Common Moorhen and Cape Shoveler.
The next day (Saturday) I was joined by my friend Johannes Rossouw, starting at 6h00, we added 22 species to bring the total of the weekend to 79.
We spent most of the first hour in pentads 2615_3015 , 2615_3020 and 2620_3020 adding 8 species such as Rock Dove, African Fish Eagle, Wailing Cisticola, Cape Weaver, Black-crowned Night Heron, Common Waxbill, African Snipe and Southern Boubou.
The second hour was very quiet as we travelled to the southern end of the birding route, adding only 2 species, namely Crowned Lapwing and Fork-tailed Drongo.
The third hour was spent in pentads 2625_3010 and 2630_3010 , mostly at “Koolbank se Panne” and “Roodewal se Dam” where we spotted another 12 species such as Southern Pochard, African Jacana, Yellow-billed Egret, African Swamphen, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, Ruff, Black-winged Pratincole, Dark-capped Bulbul, Speckled Pidgeon and Crested Francolin.