Amanzimtoti Estuary & Beach bash

25 January 2020

Report by Steve Davis with photos by Anneli Mynhardt

There was a reasonable turnout for the talk that Steve Davis gave to the Sapphire Coast birding group on 23 January at the Amanzimtoti Sports Club. However, there was a very good turnout for the outing early on Saturday morning. With the enthusiastic help of Sithembiso Blessing Majoka, we birded first at the Amanzimtoti estuary, where we quickly picked up a list of about 45 species.

We managed to find several of the shorebirds I talked about on Thursday night: Three-banded Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing, Common Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Water Thick-knee, Common Ringed Plover, White-fronted Plover, and the photographers were pleased with the many photo opportunities.

Blacksmith lapwings with Sandwich terns

The weather was not excessively hot and the overcast conditions helped reduce the strong shadows. After some while, we moved on to the Little aManzimtoti estuary, which was somewhat quiet after the previous site. Walking along the dunes, we managed to find a Purple Heron and young Striated Heron to add to the list. 

Thereafter, we moved further south to the iLovu estuary, which has had good birds in recent weeks, including oystercatchers, godwits and whimbrels. However, on this day, there were few waders, only White-fronted Plovers. However, we were kept interested by a large tern roost, with 150 Common Terns, about 25 Swift Terns and 2 Sandwich Terns.

Despite some disturbance by people walking on the beach, we were able to get quite close and the group was able to study the terns at quite close range. Some interest was caused by some apparently different sized Common Terns, and many photos were taken. However, studying the photos later failed to turn anything into an Arctic or Antarctic Tern as we had been hoping. In the end, increasing heat and thirst took its toll and we dispersed.

The birdlist for the morning was 64 species, which was quite good for the limited range of habitats we covered. 

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