Saturday, 8 February 2014

Kommetjie, Cape Town, Feb 2014

Kommetjie is a charming, coastal village on the west of the peninsula, south-west of Cape Town. It is noted for its expanses of rock tables that are exposed at low tide and as a roosting spot for gulls and terns.


I parked by the protected green area in the middle of the village. Barn Swallows swooped over the grass and a Black Goshawk was escorted from the area by a flock of European Starlings. I had not consulted my map very well and had started further north than I had intended. It was a very pleasant walk just the same and I would have missed the White-fronted Plovers if I had started further on.


Wide expanses of rock had been exposed as the tide withdrew. Mats of loose kelp rested on the rocks and had been washed up onto the shell-strewn beach. Great Cormorant, Cape Cormorant and Crested Cormorant were seen in small numbers, but I suspect that they would be more common at different times of the tide.


The mats of kelp and rock tables leave calm water and rock pools close to shore. Black Oystercatcher, Cape Wagtail, Sacred Ibis and Little Egret picked around the weedy rocks and in the sheltered pools.


A car park overlooks a large pool at Google Earth ref; 34 8 27.94S 18 19 21.87E. A roost here contained Swift Terns, Sandwich Terns and Hartlaub’s Gulls. A Black Oystercatcher flew in to add a brief bit of colour with his flashing red bill.


Hadada Ibis were seen here also as they watched over the roost from a higher vantage. I was surprised at the number of birds seen that I normally associate with fresh water or drier habitats. Blacksmith Plover and Common Fiscal were other unexpected coastal visitors.


My big disappointment of the day was a picture that didn’t quite work. Cape Gannets flew low over the edge of the tide, skimming the face of the waves, shearwater style. As the waves began to crest, they peeled off and banked over the top and back down onto the face of the next incoming wave. It would have made a glorious picture, but it was slightly misty and everything just came out insipid and grey. Great to watch though!


Bird list for Kommetjie;

Egyptian Goose 5, Helmeted Guineafowl 1, Cape Gannet 80, Great Cormorant 6, Cape Cormorant 2, Bank Cormorant 1, Crowned Cormorant 2, Grey Heron 1, Little Egret 4, Sacred Ibis 20, Hadada Ibis 8, Jackal Buzzard 1, Black Goshawk 1, Rock Kestrel 1, Blacksmith Plover 4, White-fronted Plover 2, African Oystercatcher 8, Whimbrel 1, Grey-hooded Gull 1, Hartlaub’s Gull 120, Kelp Gull 20, Sandwich Tern 40, Great Crested Tern 180,Speckled Pigeon 3, Alpine Swift 1, African Swift 4, Common Fiscal 4, Barn Swallow 80, Karoo Prinia 1, European Starling 80, Red-winged Starling 20, Cape Wagtail 30.



Visit the dedicated Africa Page for more posts from Cape Town, including; Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens, Intaka Island and Paarl.


Birding, birdwatching in Cape Town, South Africa