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Indicator Birding

The 13th Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Southern Africa at Kei Mouth (Eastern Cape).

While on a family holiday in the Eastern Cape, Etienne Marais had the good fortune to locate a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. This is only the 13th record of this species in SOuthern Africa. Etienne reports:

"I was actually trying to complete an Atlas card for the Kei Mouth pentad and realizing that I did not have Kittlitz Plover on the list, decided to walk over a stretch of flat grassland and marshland adjacent to the Kei River (estuary). While scanning in the distance I picked up a wader heading in my direction. As it approached I thought it might be a Kittlitz and managed to pick it up in the bins just before it landed not thirty yards away. This is no Kittlitz I thought - it's a Buff-breasted Sandpiper !!

Cow with Buff-breasted Sandpiper

After watching it for over an hour, I managed a few photos and then had to leave to catch the ferry back to the other bank! I never did see a Kittlitz - and just missed the "record" for the Kei Mouth Pentad with a total of 141 species on the atlas card. The next morning I went to check on the Buffy and started another atlas card (since the previous day had been day five of that card). On arrival I must have seen 20 Kittlitz before eventually finding the Buff-breasted among the cattle, very close to where I first saw it. It seemed to like hanging out with Speckled Pigeons, although I doubt you will find this in any field guide."

Kei Mouth is a great place which combines nature with a beach holiday destination and the birding was excellent (albeit rather laid back - this was a family holiday after all). Most surprising was the presence at the end of March of numbers of Skua's - both Pomarine and Parasitic Jaeger were identified in the first few days. Knysna Woodpecker is fairly widespread in the area, although as always, a tricky bird to pin down. Black-winged Lapwing, Barrat's Warbler, Lemon Dove, Bar-tailed Godwit, Terek Sandpiper, Southern Tchagra were among the other birds seen. My favourite sound of the area is that of the Brown Scrub-Robin - a fairly common bird here. This was was seen singing in a forest patch.

For more great photos of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Kei Mouth, click here.

Web Site Updated 21 April 2011 © Indicator Birding