Co-ordinated Waterbird Counts
Since July 1993 the Tygerberg Bird Club (TBC) has done Co-ordinated Waterbird Counts
(CWAC) on a regular basis at Botriviervlei. The standard protocol requires counting in
Summer and Winter but, from time to time, counts are done at a higher frequency for specific
purposes. The counting teams comprise mainly TBC members together with some birders
from the vicinity of Kleinmond and Hermanus.
For CWAC purposes Botriviervlei is divided into six sections: A1, A2, B, C, D, and E. Species
counts vary with the seasons and, in particular, breaching of the mouth. Breaching can occur
naturally as a result of high rainwater inflow. However, given the varied interests of
Conservation, birdwatchers, fishermen, Department of Water Affairs and others, CapeNature
implements artificial breaching according to a management plan.
CWAC Data and Purpose
The data is submitted for inclusion in a database that is maintained by the FitzPatrick Institute
of African Ornithology. Anybody wishing to view the data for any CWAC site in the country
may do so by visiting the website Click on “Sites – List”, select
Province, scroll down and select the desired site. This will open a new browser tab displaying
a list of species found and show Min / Avg / Max counts for each.
To view a list of count cards, in the header towards the top of the page, select “View Cards”.
This will show card numbers, dates, season and other information. Clicking on a card number
will open a new tab and display information for that particular count.
CWAC data acts as a long-term waterbird monitoring tool, benefiting conservation efforts,
planning and research purposes. It feeds into the African Waterbird Census Programme and
international agreements such as Ramsar.
Bot River Co-ordinated Waterbird Counts( CWAC)
What a pleasure it is to work with a team of enthusiastic Bird Club members when it comes to offering up there time to do these counts 4 times a year.
It not just the TBC Members - but members from Kleinmond and Somerset West who also contribute to this Citizen Science project.
Data has been gleaned over a period of more than 27 years and has been invaluable to the conservationist who have to make decisions as how the Estuary can be managed.
Our last count was disappointing to say the least when it came to species observed and the numbers of birds counted. This was probably the lowest species count ever over the last 20 or so years. If it wasn’t for the number of birds seen at Arabella the bird counts would have been much lower. Never the less the data remains valuable as it shows a trend which is very disturbing for the Estuary.
Hopefully once the Winter-rains begin to fall and fresh water rushes into the Estuary the numbers will again increase.
Water levels at present are very low and the area all the way up from the Parking area at Rooisand to beyond the hide is completely dry barring a small water channel which reaches a short way towards the hide providing a feeding area for a few small waders.
We keep positive and will keep counting.
Our next two counts are scheduled for the 3rd of July and the 6th of November.
Anyone wishing to take part will be welcome.
Here is a summary of the last count 2 counts.
Species 20 17 22 27 27 16 48
Total birds 508 415 985 347 379 209 2843
Species 29 13 29 23 17 12 44
Total birds 1158 388 552 796 246 246 3386