West Coast National Park

West Coast National Park - Southern Africa : Birds: The West Coast National Park, surrounding the Langebaan Lagoon, is a world Ramsar site for conserving wetland bird species. Many of the waders are Palearctic migrants, with birds returning fatigued in September and departing

Birds:

The West Coast National Park, surrounding the Langebaan Lagoon, is a world Ramsar site for conserving wetland bird species.

Many of the waders are Palearctic migrants, with birds returning fatigued in September and departing in March - after congregating in large numbers to feed up before leaving.
Best observing times for waders is as the tide comes in after the low, with birds moving to the hides until the water is too deep. The smaller species depart first, with the long-legged species staying longest. Common species include Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Ruff, Marsh, Terek and Curlew Sandpipers, Turnstone, Ring and Grey Plover, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Curlew and Bartail Godwit. Rarer species are not uncommon. Also seen are: Little Egret, African Shelduck, Flamingoes, White Pelican. The coastal islands are breeding sites for Kelp and Hartlaubs Gull, Cape Gannet, African Penguin, Cormorants and terns.

Fynbos birds include Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Spurfowl, Greywing Francolin, Southern Grey and Cape Penduline Tit, Anteating Chat, Whitethroat and Yellow Canary, Karoo Lark, Chestnutvent Tit-babbler, Bokmakierie and Cape Bunting, African Marsh and Black Harrier.

Vegetation:

WCNP is mostly Strandveld (24 025 ha) on the Langebaan peninsula and east of Langebaan on deep calcareous sands of the Langebaan Formation.
More recently over 6 380 ha of Hopefield Sand Fynbos have been acquired in the east on deep acidic light-grey to pale-red sands of the Springfontyn Formation. Extensive marshes, dominated by Sarcocornia, Salicornia, Spartina, Limonium, Phragmites, Typha, Juncus, and Scirpus fringe the Langebaan lagoon.

The original park contained 36 vegetation communities, with 482 plant species. However, the new areas which have not been mapped in detail probably contain many more. Some 35 threatened Red List plant species have been recorded, but more species are likely on the new areas.

Mammals:

Antelope include Eland, Red Hartebeest, Bontebuck (alien), Kudu (alien), Gemsbok (alien), Springbuck (alien), Steenbuck, Mountain Zebra, Duiker, Grysbuck, Grey Rhebuck.
Other smaller mammals include Batear and Cape Fox, Honey Badger, Caracal, African Wild Cat and Cape Gray Mongoose.
Whales and Dolphins occur offshore.

11 Jan 2015
Tony Rebelo