The Strandfontein Section of False Bay Nature Reserve has been showing off lately and serious birders are getting all a-flutter over some very special arrivals! Due to the efforts of the team in lowering and raising water levels, and obviously some other external variables, a whole host of wader species are currently inhabiting the pans. The water level in all the pans can be manipulated by means of placing wooden planks into the weir to prevent water from flowing in or out of the pan. The water levels in two of the pans were closed off to create a habitat comprised of sandy islands, shallow water and large littoral edges, which is perfect for waders.

The four wader rarities which arrived simultaneously at the Strandfontein Birding Area include the Temminck’s stint, which breeds in Northern Europe and Asia; the American golden plover, which breeds in North America and spends winters in South America; the Red-necked phalarope (a rare but regular visitor to Swakopmund, Namibia); and the Pectoral sandpiper, which breeds in the Northeast tundra of Asia, Canada and Alaska. This is only the third time that the Temminck’s stint has been sighted in South Africa, with the last sighting being 25 years ago. In addition to the special waders, there is also a Spotted crake that is entertaining birders at the moment. This is only the second record of the species in the Western Cape, the first record being of a dead bird recovered in the garden route in 1903.

Photo’s: Red-necked phalarope and Temminck’s stint. Special thanks to Clifford Dorse for the pics!

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