A visit the Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve, East London South Africa May 2013
Listing Birds for research-Citizen Scientists
Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve – Fall visit; 08-05-2013
The Nahoon River as it flows through East London in the Easter Cape of South Africa provides the urban environment with two great Nature Reserves. The Estuary Reserve is one of them and a great birding area.Today I returned to complete a bird list for the South African Bird Atlas Program (SABAP2) run by the University of Cape Town.
Started at the bird hide where an hour of patient watching entertained me with a list of about 20 birds including the usual Weavers, Mannekins and Doves. A large group of young Laughing Doves competed for the seed supplied next to the hide. It has obviously been a good breeding season. It was interesting to see how one Dove decided the seed belonged to him and him alone and so he defended the feeder with great determination. The other Doves looked on with interest and waited their turn. One of the doves seemed to use his tail to help balance on a branch. Others literally spread their wings as they looked for every bit of sun they could get as winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere..
This area is good for Weavers and of the 16 different ones found in Southern Africa we regularly see 6 in the Nature Reserve namely Thick-billed,Dark-backed,Village, Spectacled, Cape and Yellow Weavers.Today I listed three.
A walk along the footpath to the river saw me list another couple of birds including a Dusky Flycatcher, a Common Fiscal and a secretive Bar- throated Apalis. On the river bank a White-breasted Cormorant, a Little Egret, a Kelp Gull and a Black-smith Lapwing were all busy contemplating their lot and perhaps watching for food while a Pied Kingfisher hovered over the water hunting for his meal there. The African Fish Eagle did a fly past and in the coastal forest the Knysna Turaco called its unmistakable call.
A walk along the new coastal forest path provided me with a great view of a Black-headed Oriole while a Speckled Mouse-bird searched the bushes for some morsels.
With my list for the day (two hours, the minimum requirement for a listing) coming to a respectable 40 birds I called it quits and walked back to the car and the short drive home.
An Urban Nature Reserve like we have in East London is a gem indeed and the job of listing birds remains an interesting and challenging experience and helps to update the distribution of birds in the area. It gives everyone the opportunity to become part of the research program...