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WCNP - Saldahna Bay islands

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ph87gb
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WCNP - Saldahna Bay islands

Unread postby ph87gb » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:05 pm

Ok I know that Malgas Island and the outer part of Saldanha Bay isn't part of the park but hope you'll bear with me on this. Taking a trip out with Brian is well worth doing if you're in the vicinity, although we were lucky as it was flat calm and we could get out to Malgas, he says he's usually restricted to Schaapen Island and zone A of the lagoon.

The boat allowed close approach to the rocks with more Black Oystercatchers (much better light this time)

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Great being able to see the Cape Gannets close to (adult first and second then a 2nd/3rd year bird)

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On the way back we bumped into (almost literally) two Sunfish, the first was about 3m from fin tip-fin tip, the second rather smaller only about 1.5m

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Shortly after the Sunfish had good views of African Penguin

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Saw this Pelican on the look out for a chick to snaffle on Schaapen

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Very good views of the ubiquitous Kelp Gull

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Part of the trip included landing on one of the sandbanks, wonderful experience wading through the water and being able to get close to the waders. More of that in the next post.

Peter
Last edited by ph87gb on Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Salva
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Re: Recent visit to WCNP part 3

Unread postby Salva » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:50 am

Those sunfish pics are quite something else :shock: . Over here (Belgium) we eat "zonnevis" but I never thought it looked like that in the wtaer. :lol:
U lacht en U heeft gelijk dat U lacht maar het is niet om mee te lachen

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Re: Recent visit to WCNP part 3

Unread postby Micetta » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:53 am

Beautiful photos Peter! Must have been a nice experience :thumbs_up:

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Re: Recent visit to WCNP part 3

Unread postby Pumbaa » Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:10 pm

Really impressive pictures ph87gb :clap: :clap: :clap:

Obviously such boat trip is a "must" in this amazing park :big_eyes: I am quite impressed with the sunfish sighting :thumbs_up:

Thank you for sharing

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Tony T
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Re: WCNP - Saldahna Bay islands

Unread postby Tony T » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:57 pm

Hi Peter,

Wonderful photos, the Spotted Eagle Owl is special, so too the Yellow Billed Kite. Next to the Black Harrier, the YBK the most difficult to photogragh, for me anyway.

Being on the sand banks is special, especially when the waders are visiting our shores.

By the way Malgas Island is part of the WCNP but a protected area. For the last 3 years the wife has been doing duty for the park, on Malgas and Jutten (also part of the park). During Cormarant and Gannet breeding season Pelicans come to the islands and nab their eggs/chics. A program has been set up to chase them to give the fledglings a chance. You're so fortunate to have seen a Pelican in the act of sussing out the scene on Schaapen. There the gulls breed to a large extent so there is no real threat but this is monitored from the land.

So glad you enjoyed this part of the world.
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Snow Zee
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Re: WCNP - Saldahna Bay islands

Unread postby Snow Zee » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:56 pm

Hi Tony,

I live on the North Sea coast and often wonder which of the birds that pass through here are on their way to Langebaan. Can you tell me what birds spend summer there but winter in Europe or further north? (or are there too many to mention?)

Thank you for the stunning pictures Peter. Here its 7 degrees outside at the moment, but I could 'feel' the sunshine in the pics :thumbs_up:
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Re: WCNP - Saldahna Bay islands

Unread postby ph87gb » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:22 am

Hi Snow Zee

I take it you mean birds which come up to the Northern hemisphere to breed? If so then the list is quite long and the following are a few of what I saw while in Langebaan:
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Red Knot Calidris canutus
Curlew Sandpiper Calidirs ferruginea
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Sanderling Calidris alba
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

All of these could pass through western Europe but the presence of the odd species such as Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus which breeds in northern and eastern Russia would suggest that at least a proportion of the birds which winter in the Langebaan lagoon migrate up the east coast of Africa and pass through the Middle East on their way north rather than passing through Europe.

It's really fascinating seeing all the birds running around on the mud and thinking that some of them, might have been running around on estuaries near home but a few weeks earlier. It was especially amazing seeing all the Barn Swallow swooping over the Abrahamskraal waterhole.

Anyway that's just a short list, there's plenty more which I didn't see but which occur in good numbers. It's also a good reminder of the need to protect places like estuaries around the world so that these global wanderers have somewhere to feed on their travels.

Peter

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Snow Zee
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Re: WCNP - Saldahna Bay islands

Unread postby Snow Zee » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:58 am

Thanks for this!

The European Union gave the Netherlands a grant to restore a large section of wetlands along the coast north of The Hague a year or two back.

I hope it will become a stop over point for more birds heading south.
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Re: WCNP - Saldahna Bay islands

Unread postby Caracal » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:54 pm

Thanks for sharing this info with us..there is no end to the wonders of WCNP....another "to do" on my list !!!
Great pictures !!! :thumbs_up:


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