The latest Agulhas Plains Birding Project report has found a range of interesting new bird species on the Plain – including on the Black Oystercatcher Wine farm.

The Black Oystercatcher is a member of the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (NWSMA), and participated in the birding project. The project has run from 2010 to 2015. It recorded 235 bird species on the Plain – with the list continuously growing.

The Red-chested Flufftail was recorded for the first time in the project on the NWSMA close to the Black Oystercatcher Farm. While this bird specie is still listed as ‘Least Concern’, it is being affected by a loss of habitat, with numbers said to be falling.

The Waagschaalvlei, situated on the Black Oystercatcher Wine Farm, is also home to an increasing number of African Marsh-Harriers. According to the Agulhas Plains Birding report, while this specie is common on the Plain, record numbers of immature and juvenile birds were spotted during 2015.

It’s believed the rise in numbers could be thanks to the invasive alien clearing work taking place on the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA and the neighbouring Agulhas National Park. The NWSMA is participating in the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative Alien Clearing Project, and is clearing thousands of hectares every year.

Other species of interest recorded for the first time on or close to the Black Oystercatcher Wine farm include the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, the Montagu’s Harrier, the African Goshawk and the Amur Falcon. The Tambourine Dove and Lemon Dove were also heard for the first time (although they were never seen).

Wattled Starling was also recorded in 2015 at the Waagschaalvlei. Although these birds were recorded at the launch of the project, they had not been seen for many years. The Southern Black Korhaan was also recorded not far from the Black Oystercatcher in 2015 on the NWSMA. These birds used to occur frequently on the Plain, but due to habitat loss, are seldom seen today. This is only the third time since the start of the project that they have been recorded.