Tuesday, October 7, 2014

West Coast National Park

Friday, October 3, we rose early to make the drive to the west coast and the West Coast National Park. The park is an excellent spot for bird with several bird hides around ponds or on the shore. The park is most famous for its annual spring flower display. Entrance fees increase and one portion of the park is opened for hiking during August and September for the show.

The drive to the park passes through more beautiful farmlands full of grains, grapes, and the occasional herd of cattle. One on farm, we even saw a few zebra. The trip took only two hours so we arrived at the park entrance about 10:00 giving us plenty of time to explore. At the entrance we asked about the flowers and were told that the flower portion had closed on October 1st, so we had just missed it. However, we still saw some nice flowers and enjoyed the rest of the park, too.

The first signs we saw upon passing the entrance gate warned us to watch for the tortoises. We didn’t remember seeing tortoises last time we were here, but this time we saw dozens along the road. We did have to avoid a few crossing the road, but most were just sunning themselves or eating breakfast.
We had one bit of excitement when one small antelope (perhaps a springbok) leaped across the road in front of the car. Later we passed a small herd of eland, the largest of Africa’s antelope. We had slowed down to watch a bird or we might have missed them.


The other bit of excitement came as we saw a puff adder sunning itself along the road. We took some pictures and drove on to the beach. It was still there when we returned an hour later.

Puff Adder

We spent about an hour at Tsaarbank picnic area at the beach watching the waves break and enjoying the sun. Hartlaub’s and Kelp gulls posed on the rocks and a pair of African oystercatchers scurried around providing some entertainment.
African Oystercatcher

From Tsaarsbank, we went to the bird blind and Abrahamskraal and spent about half an hour enjoying the birds.

Lunch was at Geelbeck where we were fully entertained by the Southern-masked weavers building their nests. Before we left, I wandered out behind the restaurant where I saw my first South African woodpecker, a Cardinal woodpecker. G &Ts along with some good food refueled us nicely for the ride home.
The picture is right-side up.
Weaver birds build interesting round nests
Ostrich along the road
Grey Heron

No comments:

Post a Comment