Monday 20 July 2015


Sitting on our deck yesterday afternoon we noticed quite a large group of birds on the big rock in our little bay.  They were definitely black oystercatchers and I could not believe when I counted that they were seventeen in total.  When we moved into our house we were absolutely thrilled to see two of them.  This was obviously quite a long time ago, but to now count seventeen is phenomenal.  

The following text and photos are by the dedicated conservationist Peter Chadwick who has 30 years experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management.

African black oystercatchers are resident to the West Coast and Southern Cape, with occasional birds moving into KwaZulu- Natal. In the early 1980s their numbers plummeted to around 4 500 birds. Through conservation efforts, including banning off-road driving on beaches, the population now stands at around 6 000 birds.
Resplendent in smart, all-dark plumage, with bubblegum-pink legs and dagger-like bills the colour of a Bloody Mary, African black oystercatchers are among the most charismatic species of South African and Namibian coasts.  They frequent the ever-changing interface between land and ocean, foraging in spray-soaked intertidal areas pummelled by breaking waves. The birds time their movements to the millisecond, dashing forwards to snatch tasty morsels, then taking flight as the surf breaks dangerously close. They do not eat oysters, despite their name, but mussels, whelks and limpets. African black oystercatchers are thought to reach the grand old age of 35. They reproduce slowly, in common with most long-lived birds, raising one brood per season. The birds nest along the coastline of South Africa sometimes in just a depression of sand on the beach, on a dune or among pebbles usually with good surrounding views so as to avoid predation.

African Black Oystercatcher
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

african Black Oystercatcher landing on a wave smashed rock by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

African Black Oystercatcher flock by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

African Black Oystercatcher incubating on nest by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Winter has arrived

We had the coldest few days since the start of winter.  Although the sun has been shining on and off it has been freezing.  I could not resist and bought some coats for our little dogs, especially since Monty has problems getting out of his basket in the morning because he seems to be stiff and aching.
I never thought I would do something like that, but they look gorgeous and everyone we meet smiles at them. Isn't that enough justification?

Life is good!

Saturday 11 July 2015

On the beach

Our daily walk never ceases to surprise me.  The beach changes shape so much from day to day depending on the wind and the tides.  The sand movement can be as much as one meter within 24 hours.  And all this affects what is left behind from the ocean.  Yesterday was one of these magical days without wind and a wide beach and a beautiful sunset reflecting the weather that has now reached us today with grey clouds and rain.

Kelp - some dogs love eating it

Somebody was celebrating with flowers

 Waiting for sunset

Thursday 2 July 2015

Winter in Camps Bay

Yesterday was the start of the second half of 2015.  In Cape Town July is the coldest and wettest month although the days are getting longer already - hurray!  I don't know what happened to us as we were blessed with the most wonderful weather recently.   The dogs had a fantastic time on the beach, like many other people, surfers, swimmers and children on the playground or making sand castles on the beach.

We so enjoyed our walk and felt so happy that we had a gin and tonic on the deck, which is a drink that we usually only enjoy in summer.  We really love living in Camps Bay!

At the beachfront playground with the grand children

Happy walking