On an early morning amble around Stanford, enjoying the sights and sounds of our new home village, we found the door to the William Appel Dam Bird Hide open and made the acquaintance of Richard Masson, avid birder and keen amateur photographer, whose photographs are works of art. He has kindly submitted some of them to the Scenic South for publication.
A great variety of water birds enjoy the crystal clear water of the William Appel Dam which comes from The Eye, a natural and abundant spring that supplies Stanford with its drinking water and leiwater for irrigation. Black crakes tottered from lily pad to lily pad while white backed ducks stared motionlessly and inquisitively at us. A large tree across from the hide at first was spangled with a multitude of white cattle egrets, soon joined by cormorants seeking their place in the rising sun. A light mist arose from the surface of the dam as numerous birdcalls heralded the arrival of another exquisite May day in the Overberg.
Stanford is a major birding destination. Apart from all the birds to be seen at the Dam, a walk along the 3km Wandelpad that for the most part meanders along the bank of the Klein River rewards one with an avian chorus from bulbuls, weavers, warblers, white eyes and other feathered kin. That most African and haunting of bird cries, that of the African Fish Eagle, thrills me to the core, no matter how often I hear it – and here we hear it daily. In our garden drongos, canaries, sunbirds and weavers vocally play catch in the trees while gentle wagtails and tame olive thrushes hop about on the lawn. Possibly thinking the village needs rousing, squawking hadedas and grunting herons fly overhead.
Situated half way between Hermanus, whale watching mecca, and Gansbaai, home of the Great White, Stanford with its glorious birdlife, historic homes, mountain and river views, village market and top-rated restaurants makes for a delightful and peaceful stay-over.
Many thanks to Richard for sharing his photographs..For information about the Stanford Bird Club see http://www.stanfordbirdclub.co.za/ or contact Peter on 082 443 7867