A good crowd of close to twenty people gathered at Strand on that Saturday morning but sadly we had to call the beach walk off – the 60+ km wind was whipping the sand round our legs and into our eyes and ears and mouths and it was just very unpleasant.

The prospects of seeing any birds – minimal. So we agreed to have a quick look at Paardevlei and then proceed to the Macassar water treatment plant.

Along the way we lost a number of followers. Paardevlei was a shock. The dam is totally empty! There may have been a very small pool of water right in the distance as we could just make out a few Kelp Gulls on the ground and that was all. So on to Macassar and by now we were down to 4 cars.
At the concrete bridge we added Pearl-breasted and White-throated Swallows and in the wind a black plastic bag did a wonderful imitation of a dark raptor in hovering mode. On to the pans themselves.

Here the wind continued to pump. A set of Hartlaub’s Gulls was riding the waves in the 1st settling pond, stuck in a tiny corner where the wind was least active. Cowering in the protection of the bank – Black-winged Stilts.

The 2nd settling pond was almost dry – testament to how little water is entering the sewerage systems as we humans fight the drought. The smattering of mud at the base was actually alive with bird life. Little Stints in abundance – and Three-banded Plovers and Blacksmiths.

Over at the mouth of the First River was a sight for sore eyes – thousands of Terns in the protection of the lee-side of the sand dunes – probably Swift Terns and Common Terns – and a solitary not quite mature Lesser Flamingo.

Dozens of White-breasted and Cape Cormorants were also seeking cover from the wind. Terns continued to fly in, in ones and twos, handling the gale like the professional flyers that they are with those sickle wings outstretched till the last minute before landing.

The cars rocked in the blasts and bins were heavy to hold steady, but the birding, considering the conditions, was not that bad. All told we probably identified some 40 species during the course of the morning. But by 09h30 we were spent and the cars turned tail and headed for home. Enough was enough.