Prawn Flats, Hermanus - a Bird-Watching Hot Spot


Welcome to Where the birds at - in this segment I will be introducing a feature known as Where the birds at's Bird-Watching Hot spots where I will be exploring potential bird hot spots for you bird enthusiasts out there.

The Hot spot in question is located in Hermanus, more specifically the Kleinrivier Estuary near Grotto Beach.

This bird-watching destination (to no surprise) is ranked among the top 10 bird-watching destinations along the Cape Whale Coast - at least by Birdlife Overberg - in the Spring season. Ranked at no 7, it is described as "Greater Flamingos and waders at Prawn Flats along the shores of the Kleinrivier Estuary."

I have only heard of this particular bird-watching location via other birders and on line posts (for more information see top 10 bird-watching destinations along the cape whale coast on the Western Cape Bird website) and having seen and taking note of the Prawn Flats road sign in passing during the times I travelled in the direction of Stanford, but the first time I actually visited this place was last month in March. The only reason for going there in the first place was because I wanted to get a closer look at the numerous Greater Flamingos that were currently there.

But wow, was I surprised! When arriving on location, I was blown away by not only the scenery (the landscape) but the numbers of water birds that weren't apparent from a distance.

I spotted the black bills of the Cape Shovelers among the Flamingos and was quite enchanted and delighted by a close up sighting of a Pied Kingfisher perched on the pier (with its beautiful diagnostic black and white plumage) along with a sighting of two White-throated Swallows (with their diagnostic blue-black breast bands that easily identified them) that were flying very close to the water.

On the shore near the wooden pier in the corner of the bend, I could make out the distinguishable black wings and red legs of the Black-winged Stilt and further on, with the greyish plumage and yellow bill of the Grey Heron, and off in the distance on the open waters of the estuary and perched on a wooden pole was the pure white throat and breast of a White-breasted Cormorant.

The fact that I encountered such a diversity of waterbirds so near Hermanus (not even a 10 minutes drive) proves my opinion that you don't have to travel to far places to find good even great birding locations.

I am positive I will be visiting Prawn Flats again!

Next week's segment: what do you think? Should the next post be about ID-ing difficult birds or another Western Cape Bird-Watching Hot spot?

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