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Birding hotspot: Strandfontein


Peter Connan

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Peter Connan

Similar to the thread on Marievale found here:

http://safaritalk.net/topic/13778-marievale-bird-sanctuary-south-africa/

this is not a trip report per se, rather some images and general information about a specific location.

 

In the Western Cape there are a number of birding spots, including Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Intaka Island.

 

One of perhaps the lesser-known and certainly least touristy of these is Strandfontein. In actual fact it is a water purification works. The birding area is a series of controlled ponds lying outside the "industrial area" of the facility. It is placed just next to the beach at Muizenberg, but there is no access from the coast road, and the facility is reached from the M17 in Grassy Park through Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve. The turnoff is at S34.05364 E18.52926.

 

Follow the single tar road through the Seekoeivlei reserve, and eventually one arrives at a road between two large ponds absolutely teeming with birds. At the end of this road is the gate to the facility. The main birding ponds are reached by turning right onto a dirt road right in front of the gates.

 

This is what it looks like from above (Google Earth image):

 

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Peter Connan

The best part: entrance is free. Roads are suitable for normal cars, and 4x4's are not needed.

 

Despite being in a "bad neighbourhood", I felt quite safe although would not recommend straying into the dunes to the north. Also, you need not worry about smells. You will generally only smell the ocean, as it is so close. In some areas, one may smell the landfill sight to the south.

 

So what birds would one see?

Mainly shorebirds, waders and some seabirds such as gulls. It is perhaps one of the best places to photograph Pelicans, and there are pretty large numbers of Flamingos.

Here are some photos:

 

Pied Avocets:

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Black-winged Stilts:

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Cattle Egrets:

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Cormorants:

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Edited by Peter Connan
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Peter Connan

Flamingos:

 

post-24763-0-14865300-1459076614_thumb.jpg

 

post-24763-0-70244900-1459076623_thumb.jpg

 

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post-24763-0-72227900-1459076647_thumb.jpg

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Peter Connan

Great White Pelican:

 

post-24763-0-76141500-1459076780_thumb.jpg

 

post-24763-0-38431000-1459076787_thumb.jpg

 

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post-24763-0-38766300-1459076834_thumb.jpg

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Peter Connan

Glossy Ibis:

 

post-24763-0-74698500-1459077225_thumb.jpg

 

post-24763-0-10541000-1459077237_thumb.jpg

 

post-24763-0-82208300-1459077247_thumb.jpg

 

Barn Swallow:

 

post-24763-0-53348600-1459077258_thumb.jpg

 

Grey Heron:

 

post-24763-0-83420600-1459077270_thumb.jpg

 

post-24763-0-51715100-1459077301_thumb.jpg

 

Hartlaub's Gull:

 

post-24763-0-75105700-1459077278_thumb.jpg

 

post-24763-0-80647500-1459077290_thumb.jpg

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Peter Connan

Kelp Gull:

 

post-24763-0-68538200-1459077576_thumb.jpg

 

post-24763-0-31001000-1459077583_thumb.jpg

 

Cape Spurfowl:

 

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Red-billed Teal:

 

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post-24763-0-07188600-1459077604_thumb.jpg

 

Sacred Ibis:

 

post-24763-0-03712400-1459077611_thumb.jpg

 

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South-African Shelduck:

 

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Geoff

@@Peter Connan Nice Glossy Ibis. With the exception of the flamingos it sounds like a smaller version of Melbourne's Western Treatment Plant.

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Treepol

@@Peter Connan thanks for this post. A combination of pelicans and flamingos is always a winner with me!

 

 

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Peter Connan

Cape Shoveller:

 

post-24763-0-65985000-1459077885_thumb.jpg

 

post-24763-0-14276600-1459077897_thumb.jpg

 

Spurwing Goose:

 

post-24763-0-86340100-1459077903_thumb.jpg

 

White-faced Whistling Duck:

 

post-24763-0-81426300-1459077928_thumb.jpg

 

Yellow-billed Duck:

 

post-24763-0-63220300-1459077936_thumb.jpg

 

Barn Swallow again:

 

post-24763-0-46685300-1459077916_thumb.jpg

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post-24763-0-81426300-1459077928_thumb.jpg

post-24763-0-63220300-1459077936_thumb.jpg

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Peter Connan

Thank you @@Geoff and @@Treepol.

 

It seems water treatment plants are good birding spots all over the world, but here in SA at least not many are as accessible as Strandfontein.

 

We saw numerous other species as well, but didn't photograph them either because we were running out of time or because we couldn't get close enough for good photos.

 

The images are all from two morning visits.

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TonyQ

@@Peter Connan

Superb images - really beautiful pictures. Thank you for the information!

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Peter Connan

Thank you very much @@TonyQ

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Alexander33

@@Peter Connan

 

Your insider's knowledge to South African birding spots is a treasure trove. I still hope to make it to Marievale, and now I have another hotspot on my list.

 

You really nailed that Cape Shoveller -- in flight with such a sharp eye. My favorite (among so many good ones) has to be the flamingoes in flight with the mountains in the background. Just fantastic.

 

Thank you for sharing this with us.

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Peter Connan

 

Heh Heh Heh!

You've given an Easter Surprise of the loveliest sort.

The teal shot — WOW!

Shelducks, ducks, geese, ibis, swallows, shoveler, spurfowl, gulls and herons.

The past week having been ‘flamingo week’ on Safaritalk, your superb images are a masterful addition.

This thread both useful and inspiring.

How did you find time to prepare this as well as the outstanding dozens of images added to your ‘Big Year 2016’ set?

How fortunate Safaritalk is to receive such a trove of top-shelf bird images.

HAPPY EASTER and thank you!

Tom K.

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Peter Connan

Thank you @@Alexander33 and @@Tom Kellie

 

Tom, I am fortunate in not living in China. My internet is still working at it's normal pace!

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michael-ibk

Great stuff, Peter, esp. love the Pelicans. Will try to get to this place, thanks so much for all the info.

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Game Warden

I would say including a birding trip with @@Peter Connan is an essential addition to any Safaritalker's South African itinerary :)

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Marks

Your sacred ibis shots have blown me away! The shadow on its wing in the second photo is a nice element.

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kittykat23uk

Fabulous photos! I wanted to visit here in 2010 when we were self driving in the area but my dad vetoed the idea of visiting a sewage plant on our holiday :/

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Peter Connan

Thank you @@Marks and @@kittykat23uk. I was a little worried before getting there myself, but the reality is definately much better than the expectation!

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BieneMaja

@@Peter Connan Superb photos, I am very impressed! I especially love the flamingo and pelican images. Had I known about this place before our trip to South Africa last year it probably would have been on the list!

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Peter Connan

Thank you very much @@BieneMaja

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elefromoz

@@Peter Connan, the Flamingo are just beautiful, as are all, of course your photography skills enable us to see everything in such fine, sharp detail.

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Peter Connan

Thank you very much @@elefromoz

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