To say that Duinepos is situated in the heart of a birder’s paradise is by no means an exaggeration. Birders flock from all over the world to visit the West Coast National Park, a birding spot of note.
Over 250 bird species have been recorded in the park. There is a good chance that, during your visit, you might spot a few rare migrant species given the diversity of habitats types.
The park includes the Langebaan Lagoon, the Postberg Nature Reserve, as well as the nearby sheltered islands that offer breeding grounds for many species (Jutten, Malgas, Marcus and Schaapen Island).
The Langebaan Lagoon, a Ramsar wetland of global conservation importance, in particular supports exceptional specie richness. The park, which is part of the West Coast Biosphere Reserve, is considered an important birding area. The park, situated approximately 100 km north of Cape Town, is best known for the large numbers of migrant waders that can be found on the mudflats here during summer. Several bird hides (including the ones at Geelbek and Abrahamskraal) have been constructed from where you can see and photograph birds up close.
The lagoon is seen as an extremely important wetland for waders from the northern hemisphere visiting our shoreline. In some years, wader numbers can increase from 4,000 in winter to 50,000 in summer. Besides the lagoon area that is a haven for birds the park’s endemic strandveld fynbos (comprising of low bushes and succulents) also supports rich and endemic birdlife.
The area offers visitors the opportunity to see many threatened species, including the African Penguin, Cape Gannet, Bank Cormorant, Crowned Cormorant, Lesser Flamingo, Black Harrier, African Black Oystercatcher, African Marsh-Harrier, Caspian Tern, Great White Pelican, Cape Cormorant, Greater Flamingo, Secretary bird, Lanner Falcon, Chestnut-banded Plover, Peregrine Falcon, Cape Spurfowl, Cape Long-billed Lark, Karoo Lark, Cape Bulbul, Sickle-winged Chat and the Layard’s Titbabbler.
The best time to observe the lagoon waders is to visit the Geelbek hide from low tide as the tide is coming in. Start early in the morning to ensure good birding. Make sure to pack your hat, binoculars and checklist for some world renowned birding!
For more information about birding in the park visit the West Coast National Park. You can also download the birder’s checklist for the area here and here.