The small town of Stanford has become well-known in recent years through its annual birding fair.
Located between Kleinbaai and Hermanus, famous for Great White Shark cage diving and the annual “Whale Festival” respectively, Stanford is a prime Southern Cape birding destination.
This year, the organizers have taken the popular event to a new level and it will now be known as the “De Hoop Strettons Stanford Bird Fair”, with strong links to Birdlife South Africa through the BirdLife Overberg branch. The event will take place between the 3rd October and the 6th October 2013.
In addition to the exciting line up of presenters, the event will also host a number of field outings into the surrounding areas that will highlight just how special a birding destination Stanford actually is.
As one of the presenters, I decided to spend a morning driving through the area to see what birds I could find and photograph. I was pleasantly surprised when after a five-hour period, my list stood at well over 70 species, many of which were easy to photograph.
Below are a selection of the photographs that I managed to capture in and around Stanford. I hope to see you at the event, so please watch the media for more details. Book the date now, 3rd-6th October 2013.
1. The Willem Appel Dam situated in the Stanford town is home to a wide variety of waterbirds including Little Bittern, Ballions Crake and White-Backed Duck
2. Stanford is home to a relaxed population of White_backed Duck that may be seen on the Willem Appel Dam.
3. African Crake leave the shelter of the reed beds to wander across the lilly pads
4. The reed beds surrounding the Willem Appel Dam host a variety of small warblers and cisticolas, including this Le Valliants Cisticola.
5. A Puple Swamphen feeds amongst the lilly pads, always in close proximity to the cover provided by the reed beds.
6. Flocks of Cattle Egret, Reed Cormorant and African Darter roost in the reeds and dead trees at Willem Appel Dam.
7. Common Morhen occur in good numbers on the Willem Appel Dam and often squabble with one another amongst much splashing and kicking.
8. Wild Dagga flowers that grow in the fynbos areas surrounding the town of Stanford host sunbirds, weavers and canaries.
9. Helmeted Guineafowl flocks wander through the gardens and open spaces of Stanford.
10. Many of the houses in Stanford host indigenous gardens that attract many species including Cape White-Eyes, Olive Thrush and brightly colored Orange-Breasted Sunbirds.
11. Streaky-Headed Seed Eaters are seasonal visitors to Stanford.
12. The Cape Bulbul is a common garden bird in Stanford and in amongst the fynbos.
13. The Klein River Estuary and lagoon is both an excellent birding location and scenic destination.
14. A Black-Winged Stilt searches for small aquatic insects in the shallows of the Klein River lagoon.
15. Large flocks of Greater Flamingo inhabit the Klein River lagoon and will often fly in long rows of pink from one end to another.
16. A Grey Heron stares intently into the shallows in the hope of catching passing fish or frogs.
17. Egyptian Geese fly noisily over the Klein River lagoon.
18. The Klein River lagoon and estuary early in the morning provide a peaceful and photogenic scene.
19. Large Milkwood trees line the lagoon and occur in dense stands in fire protected pockets.
20. A male Olive Woodpecker feeds amongst a forest thicket
21. A Speckled Mousebird suns its belly to help aid digestion.
22. Spotted, Dusky and African Paradise Flycatchers may be viewed amongst the dense Milkwood stands.
23.The Common Fiscal are seen perched on prominent perches from where they launch after their prey.
24. A Cape Spurfowl stretches up to grab at grass seeds
25.A Cape Spurfowl with the grass seeds in its bill. The seeds are stripped from the stalk and swallowed.
26. Close up of the circular pattern of the Milkwood leaves
27. The farmlands surrounding Stanford provide additional habitats for a host of bird species. Here recently sheared Merino Sheep stare at the photographer.
28. Given the rural nature of Stanford, there is till a good chance of seeing smaller wildlife species such as Steenbok, Grey Duiker, Grey Rhebok, Porcupine and even Caracal.
29. An early morning drive through the farmlands that surround Stanford provide good opportunities for viewing the lark species that call from the farm fence posts. Here a Large-Billed Lark pauses from calling.
30. A lucky sighting was a pair of Karoo Korhaan
31. Yellow Canaries provide a splash of color amongst the drab colored farmlands
32. Blue Cranes occur in good numbers amongst the farmlands and can be easily viewed as they feed alongside sheep and other livestock
33. The endemic Agulhas Long-Billed Lark calls from the high vantage point of a farm fence post
34. Springbok pause from feeding amongst the lucern fields on one of the farms that lie close to Stanford.