Struisbaai and Arniston – Birding with friends

We are having a very special weekend with friends from Cape Town.  Tommy and Earl have been fishing friends since the 1990s and we have shared some great times together.  What a pleasure to meet his new partner, Megan, for only the second time and so great to see how happy they are together.   It’s never too late to find love and happiness.

Tommy and Megan arrived late Friday afternoon armed with supplies and insisting that they were going to provide supper!   Megan immediately made herself at home in my inadequate kitchen and whipped up a delicious sweet potato and vegetable roast, salad and baked apples for dessert.   The apples were cored and drizzled with honey and cinnamon and stuffed with slices of Bar One.  The guys made a fire and Earl braaied the meat to perfection.

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Megan at work on the Baked Apples

The men relaxing

The men relaxing

The Braai Masters

The Braai Masters

After a delicious meal we chatted till late and then decided that bed would be good as the guys wanted to fish the next day.

I woke to the sound of voices in the lounge and went to investigate.  Everyone was sitting in pyjamas.  “What happened to the fishing?” I asked – Too windy came the reply.   What?  It looked like a perfect day to me but the signs of inclement weather, they assured me, were there.

So after an “Early” breakfast we set of on a birding excursion.  A few weeks ago Tommy and Megan had done a birding day with some local farmers and they chalked up a list of 60 species.   “We need to beat that by at least one,”  Tommy insisted.

So starting with a few species in our garden we set off, girls at the back and boys in front.  But why we did this I do not know because whenever we stopped Tommy hopped out to give his girlfriend a kiss! I offered to swap places but he declined.

The birding was fast and fun.  We ticked off specie after specie and enjoyed every one we spotted.   We put out positive vibes into the ether and saw almost everything on our wishlist.   Earl was determined to find a kingfisher and as we were chatting about the malachite, pied and giant which were possibles, Tommy reminisced about the first time he’d seen a giant and Megan said she’d never seen one.   Seconds later what should we see but a beautiful Giant Kingfisher.   It flew and we thought we’d missed the photo but Tommy found him and with a bit of maneuvering of the car I managed to get a decent shot.

Giant Kingfisher - Lifer for Megan

Giant Kingfisher – Lifer for Megan

Our destination was Arniston and we birded happily all the way until we decided to get a move so as not to miss the low tide, the cave being a must see.

Here are some of the birds we saw.

Our National Bird

Our National Bird

Blue Crane on nest

Blue Crane on nest

Two Ibis species - Sacred and Glossh

Two Ibis species – Sacred and Glossy

A third Ibis species - Spoonbill

A third Ibis species – Spoonbill

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Avocet upon her nest

Avocet upon her nest

Stilts

Stilts

Grey Heron with coot in background

Grey Heron with coot in background

Spur-winged geese

Spur-winged geese

Yellow-billed kite

Yellow-billed kite

Cape Long-claw

Cape Longclaw

Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard

Finally we arrived at Arniston and headed straight to the cave.  It’s a slippery walk over the rocks but not at all arduous if the tide is low.   We had to be a tad careful as we were doing it on the incoming tide.

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The route to the cave

Inside looking out to sea

Inside looking out to sea

Tommy

Tommy

Megan

Megan

Both of them

Both of them

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It’s dark inside so photgraphy is difficult

Exiting via the tunnel

Exiting via the tunnel

That was fun

That was fun

We had to take this pic of the lovers at a heart shaped rock formation

We had to take this pic of the lovers at a heart shaped rock formation

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Then we went to the harbour to see what had been caught – nothing worth buying I’m afraid but it was an interesting visit.

Fishermen

Fishermen

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After this little visit we went to have a drink at the hotel

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The traditional fishing village is also worth a visit.

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We birded some more on our return trip and chalked up 72 species in all.  How proud we were of this!   Back in Struisbaai we went to the fish shop to buy fish much to my disgust as I never eat bought fish – I will settle for nothing less than fresh caught by my husband.  But Tommy insisted as he loves Earl’s “Gebakte Vis”

Well it turned out to be not so bad and we had a wonderful meal of beer battered fried red fish and vegetables followed by fruit and ice cream.

Tomorrow – we might just go fishing!

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