Snowy Egret

Trip to Black River, CT to see the Snowy Egret.

Sally and Paul Bartho

Saved Avios points enabled us to go to Cape Town to see the Snowy Egret. Unexpectedly there were flights available for departure the following day. And we were able to use the Avios points to book a hotel in the centre of town for 2 nights. So off we went Tuesday 16 June. Very early departure.

Arriving in Cape Town we hired a car and headed straight for the Black River where we were told it had been seen regularly.

On arrival at Black River there was only one car there. Not a good sign. We scoured the river bank and saw nothing. Then we spotted an egret further down on the grass so we headed down by car. And as we drove down so did another vehicle – straight at the egret. Of course it flew. Rats.

Back we went towards the railway bridge. Perhaps the bird was there. And sure enough it was – on the river bank between the two railway bridges. Here we met another couple who had arrived earlier.

The Snowy Egret waded along the bank – constantly on the move. Occasionally flying to a new area one side of the bridges or the other. Sometimes directly beneath us and sometimes down the inlet towards the golf course and away from us. However it seemed happiest around the bridge.

We spent almost three hours on the bridge and before we left an additional 15 to 20 other people had come and gone. Here are some of the many photos taken.

Key features are the yellow lores (top of the upper bill near the face) and bright yellow feet (like the Little Egret). Interestingly the legs appear to be bi-colour – black on the front and a pale yellow on the backs. Compare these two photos below.

Some more of the Snowy Egret photos.

Little Egrets and Yellow-billed Egrets were also present – great for comparison with the Snowy.

There were many other birds about as you might expect – including African Darter, numerous White-breasted Cormorants fishing, Hartlaub’s Gulls, herons, and other water birds. A Malachite Kingfisher also made an appearance directly below us. However the bonus was undoubtedly a Little Bittern also directly below us.

The following day we checked in here again and Snowy was still present. Then we spent the rest of the day visiting Strandfontein and Kirstenbosch. See the next instalment.

A trip to remember.

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