15.4.16

Vermont Salt Pan (Greater Hermanus area) - a Bird-Watching Hot Spot

Caw!

Welcome to this week's segment of Where the birds at's Bird-Watching Hot spots - where the focus will be put on another potential bird-watching destination within one of Hermanus' suburbs - Vermont - better known as the Vermont salt pan.


This potential bird-watching destination is even recognised - like the previously explored Prawn Flats - among the top 10 bird-watching destinations along the Cape Whale Coast at no. 5 as "a variety of water birds at the Vermont salt pan.


Vermont, as a location, is described by SA-venue.com as:
  • a suburb of Hermanus between Hawston and Sandbaai
  • Aims lies in preserving and protecting the original coastal fynbos - thus resulting in natural green corridors - and also protecting three fynbos subvelds - Overberg Sandstone, Hangklip Sand and Overberg Dune Strandveld - all these categorised as endangered and critically endangered
Thus, one can conclude that Vermont is quite a important area in terms of conservation.

The salt pan itself is considered as part of this green belt system and is unfortunately also critically endangered - due to unfortunate circumstances - which is a shame, because of its potential as a conservation site and excellent bird-watching site.

As a location itself, I was quite surprised by the size of the waterbody and after looking it up on Google Maps. Surrounded by reeds, with Milkwood woodland thickets on the eastern shore; and with some surprise in my research - endangered orchids on the western shore, which is regarded as the most threatened orchid species in SA.

However what drew me to this pan as a bird-watcher was not only its size but - like with Prawn Flats - was again the Greater Flamingos that I spotted from R43 driving past on the way to Cape Town.

The following birds - that I can recall - made an appearance:
  • Blacksmith Lapwing
  • Black-winged Stilt (quite a few of them)
  • Cape Teal
  • Cape Weaver
  • Cisticola (unidentified, might be Levaillant's - too fast)
  • Common Moorhen
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Little Grebe
  • Sacred Ibis (flew over pan)
  • Three-banded Plover
  • White-breasted Cormorant
  • Others to mentioned later
What I liked particularly is the little cement path that went all around the shore of the pan and offer quite a close up view of some birds, particularly the Flamingos, and in certain parts of the path, you could walk close to the water on the shore.

So - to finish off this segment - I believe this is an excellent bird-watching hotspots and particularly for photographers, because the pan coupled with the mountain makes for excellent photographs.