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New bird species for Western Cape now at Blouvlei
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Margaret Mac Iver sent us an email about sightings of the African Openbilled Stork, Anastomus lamelligerus, in the Western Cape.
Margaret writes as follows:
Openbilled Storks are normally found at least 1,500 kilometres away from Cape Town. They are fairly regular in Botswana, northern Zululand and very uncommon even as far south as Kruger!
In the past few months, an irruption of Openbills has been spreading along the entire coastline of South Africa, with a few records inland in Gauteng and the Free State. The cause of this spread has led to some interesting debates, such as record high breeding numbers a year ago in Botswana's floods and the sudden availability of large snails (Openbills love snails and crabs) along the coastline.
In December, Openbills reached Hermanus after spreading along the Garden Route. Suddenly two were seen in Bergvliet, not five minutes from where I live. Then there were 4. In the evenings these birds roost at a little wetland in Bergvliet and every evening there are people waiting for their arrival, the problem being that the birds only arrive just after sunset, not a good time for photographing them.
Today I've had a phone call to say that there are 4 Openbilled Storks at Intaka in Cell 4! Phone calls are flying back and forth and there is huge excitement from the northern suburbs people who couldn't get to Bergvliet in the evenings - so expect to see lots of birders and photographers with very long lenses wandering around Intaka in the next few days.
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