Large populations of threatened and near-threatened Greater and Lesser Flamingo and Great White Pelican frequent False Bay Nature Reserve.

Biodiversity Assessment Underway in South African Waterbird Site

South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and their multiple partner institutes wetland and waterbirds project, affectionately called the BIRDIE project, is leveraging large amounts of citizen science waterbird data and making it available via a web platform, with the data packaged via various statistical routines to support wetland and bird management and reporting. The project is currently moving into a phase of engagement with local site managers.

False Bay Nature Reserve, managed by the City of Cape Town, is one of several sites the BIRDIE project would like to partner with going forward. In addition to being an important conservation area containing endemic vegetation types and species, the Reserve is home to more than 200 bird species, representing over 60% of the bird species in the South-western Cape. It was proclaimed a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 2015.
The site is surrounded by bustling suburbs and associated with a wastewater treatment works, but is a haven for birds due to the wide range of semi-natural wetland habitats. Management and manipulation of water levels has resulted in a combination of deep and shallow open water, seasonal ponds, beds of reeds and sedges, sandy shorelines, islands and constructed platforms.
These strange and wonderful surprises of late summer, Haemanthus coccineus, have flowerheads like bright paint brushes popping up from underground bulbs on bare stems and no leaves. Patches of these flowers are scattered amongst the coastal scrub and greet visitors soon after they enter into the Reserve. This plant has adapted to the dry time of year when all above-ground parts dry out to help prevent moisture loss. Just before the rainy season, the flowerhead appears. The leaves only appear much later, once the flowers are gone and seeds dispersed.