Guilty of perhaps not doing as much babysitting as any self-respecting uncle should, I took my budding-birder niece, Rose Mitchell (age 9) off to Paarl Bird Sanctuary recently. To lower the average age even more, Mike Buckham took his equally keen son Thomas and one of his friends.
The real reason Mike and I were at Paarl was to look for the Green-backed Heron, but it was nice to show the kids some new birds. The heron was rather uncooperative, but it did put in a very brief fly-by. I hadn’t been to Paarl for a few years and was reminded as to what a great reserve it is, particularly for birders who carry a camera.
The Common Sandpipers that frequent the edge of the pans and water channels are usually nice and obliging.
Not always an easy species to pin down, we were pleasantly surprised to see this African Black Duck in the channel close to the heronry. The nearby Berg River is usually the preferred habitat for this species.
White-faced Duck is becoming more regular in the Western Cape.
This male Maccoa Duck gave us a great quivering-tail display.
One last Common Sandpiper photo.
Directions to Paarl Bird Sanctuary.
Paarl Bird Sanctuary bird list: Common Starling, Barn Swallow, African Reed-Warbler, Sacred Ibis, African Darter, Grey-headed Gull, Reed Cormorant, Malachite Kingfisher, Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Green-backed Heron, Little Rush-Warbler, Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape White-eye, Grey-headed Sparrow, African Harrier Hawk, Jackal Buzzard, White-throated Swallow, Hartlaub’s Gull, Cattle Egret, Cape Wagtail, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, White-faced Duck, Maccoa Duck, Cape Teal, Red-billed Teal, Southern Pochard, Black-necked Grebe, Great-crested Grebe, House Sparrow, Paradise Flycatcher, African Dusky Flycatcher, Swee Waxbill, Olive Thrush, Cape Canary, Lesser Swamp-Warbler, Grey Heron, Black-headed Heron, African Purple Swamphen, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Hadeda Ibis, Pied Crow, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Robin-chat, Red-winged Starling, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Southern Masked-Weaver