Pearly Beach Conservancy

Blog: The African Black Oystercatcher Count at Pearly Beach

Published: 02 July 2015
By:Elrina Versfeld

When Steve Peck arrived eight years ago in the small coastal village of Pearly Beach he was told that the “blackbird with the red beak” that he would see on the beach and rocks was really rare, and that this part of the coast had a small breeding colony and therefore he should take great care not to disturb them, especially in the breeding season! As an avid birder he was soon down to the beach to see if he could spot this rare bird and identify it….it was of course the Black Oystercatcher!

Since then he has walked the beaches there almost daily and was sure that he has seen a steady growth in their numbers, mainly as a result of the stopping of vehicles driving on the beach, the local Conservancy erecting signs informing people to be aware of the birds and leave them alone and lately a ban on taking unleashed dogs onto the beaches.

Steve was also hearten to read in the 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of South Africa that the bird had moved status from Near Threaten to Least Concern…great news. However, when he tried to get information on how many birds frequent our area, he drew a blank. So this year he has decided to conduct a small survey into the amount of birds we have here. To this ends he has divided the beached area into 4 distinct blocks and himself together with a few other interested people merely count the birds they see in any given area and slowly they are forming a graph of the sightings and numbers.

To make this project be even more useful he would dearly love as much data as possible, so if anyone walks any of the marked areas, it will be appreciated if the birds can be counted and this information can be send to Steve via a short SMS or email with your findings. These can then be added to the survey and hopefully in a year’s time, Steve will be able to report on a reasonable accurate bird count.

Thanks for your anticipated help.

Steve (Peck) 

082 663 6143

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