Shrinking Returns

African Birdlife|May - June 2020

Shrinking Returns
Long-term changes in Northern Cape coastal birds
Peter Ryan

Much of the Northern Cape coast comprises exposed rocky shores and parts have been severely disturbed by diamond mining. There are, however, areas of gently shelving rocky shoreline teeming with marine life, thanks to the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich bottom water. In addition, large amounts of kelp and other seaweeds wash ashore in the many bays and coves, providing food for a host of sandhoppers, sea lice and kelp flies. These rich resources stand in stark contrast to the semi-arid scrub in the interior, making the coast an oasis for birds.


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May - June 2020