Mouille Point Sunset

A Few Birds and a Reptile

On Friday 4 May I found myself on my regular Friday route after work, driving from Somerset West to my girlfriend’s place in Sea Point. I began noticing a bit of a potential for an interesting sunset while I was driving on the N2 towards Cape Town and did my best to ensure that I would arrive in Sea Point in time to catch the setting of the sun. Luckily traffic obliged and I found myself parking along the beach side just after the V&A Waterfront and just prior to Mouille Point, I made my way down to the rocks along the shore line and luckily it seemed that the tide was quite low, after a few slips on what I learned was extremely slippery rocks, I positioned myself in an area I deemed to be decent for some sunset shots. Unfortunately the beach was not the cleanest and my composition had to rely on dodging old packets, but I made the most of what I was given and managed to snap a couple of shots I was happy with, during the one shot a group of Kelp Gulls ascending from the rocks crossed just over the sun making for some nice silhouettes.

Mouille Point Sunset
Mouille Point Sunset

On Saturday afternoon I headed back to the location after hearing about some interesting ocean bird sightings along this beach in the past. I parked the car and got out, noticing some surfers out just ahead taking advantage of the clearing weather, with the large swells of the previous cold front still present. I split my camera time between the surfers and the birds, though the birds were not too interesting in terms of species. Numerous Kelp Gulls and Hartlaub’s Gulls passed by with one or two Grey Headed Gulls. Species were limited, but I was surprised to have an Egyptian Goose on the shoreline, more expected species included 6 Black Oystercatchers and several Cape Wagtails.

Surfer at Sea Point
Surfer at Sea Point

Hartlaub's Gull at Mouille Point
Hartlaub’s Gull at Mouille Point

Kelp Gull at Mouille Point
Kelp Gull at Mouille Point

I returned back to Somerset West on Sunday and decided to make a short stop at the Helderberg Nature Reserve when I arrived, but not before stopping along some vineyards on the way home, as a lovely veil of cirrus made for some beautiful day time skies.

Surfer at Sea Point
Surfer at Sea Point

Fiscal Shrike at the Helderberg Nature Reserve
Fiscal Shrike at the Helderberg Nature Reserve

somerset west winelands
Wine farm outside Somerset West

Upon entering the Helderberg Nature Reserve I made straight for the dam to look for any visiting ducks, but the only ducks present were the group of Yellow-Billed Ducks which have been here for a few weeks now. Looking for raptors, I was a bit bummed that the only birds circling above were some Pied Crows. I made my way around the pond, where I saw a small (what I then thought as a Skink) sitting on one of the wooden poles, I later found out that this was a Short-Legged Sep, a new reptile for me which made the visit worth it. Continuing along the paths I aimed to head to some of the more dry parts of the reserve to look for some LBJs, but it seems the regrowth from the fire last year is getting along well and the dead trees and dry soil have been replaced by small green shrubs. I encountered a Fiscal Shrike, Bar-Throated Apalis and several sunbirds on the walk though.

Orange Breasted Sunbird
Orange Breasted Sunbird

Short-Legged Sep
Short-Legged Sep

A list of bird species seen this weekend are as follows: Pied Crow, Cape Wagtail, Hartlaub’s Gull, Kelp Gull, Grey Headed Gull, Red-Winged Starling, Bar-Throated Apalis, Lesser Double Collared Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird, Black Oystercatcher, Yellow-Billed Ducks, Common Moorhen, Rock Pigeon, Cape White-eye, Fiscal Shrike, Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape Weaver, Laughing Dove, Orange Breasted Sunbird

Reptile: *Short-Legged Sep, Angulate Tortoise.

Where * represents my first sighting of the species.

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Bryn De Kocks

Bryn is a passionate and opinionated antinatalist and naturalist with a love for nature, the ocean, photography, severe weather and music. He spends most of his time looking for new birds within the Western Cape, taking landscape photographs or behind his computer being a nerd.

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