Western Cattle Egrets are the smallest of the white egrets; they are medium-sized heron-like birds, about 46 to 56 cm long with a wingspan of about 88 to96 cm. The average weight of the adult bird is about 360 g, and males and females are about the same size. They have a thick neck and a long sharp bill, which is black in juveniles and yellow in adults. The non-breeding adults have greyish-yellow legs; during the breeding season, however, the legs become bright red. Although darker in males, both the male and female grow orange breeding plumage during the breeding season and show aggressive defensive behavior by erecting their crest. Males defend their territory until they find mates, once paired, both male and female defend the nesting territory together.
The name Klipspringer is the Afrikaans for ‘rock jumper’ and alludes to the animal’s ability in rocky territory where it can be seen moving freely, seemingly on tiptoe. Weighing 11-13 kg and standing 500-600mm high at the shoulders, the Klipspringer is a small and stocky antelope. Ewes are slightly larger than the rams. Only rams have short horns, which are ringed only at the base. Klipspringer have smallish rounded ears positioned far back on the head and with noticeable dark inner markings. The coarse-haired coat is variable in color with shades of grey, yellow, brown, or red, with marked white underparts, chin, and lips. A prominent feature is the large, black pre-orbital gland.
“What makes Noetzie so special is not just the castles, but its very special natural beauty, much of which is still pristine – an increasing rarity in the brash hotel-and-hamburger-stand culture that has ruined so much of South Africa’s once splendid coastline. The golden beach is surrounded by forested hills, the dark waters of the lagoon, the rugged ochre rocks, and the thundering breakers that roll in row after row from the far southern oceans. The bay has even been the site of a shipwreck, the 3-masted French schooner the “Phoenix”, in 1881, that appeared to have been abandoned, for no known reason, far out to sea before finding itself laid up on Noetzie beach. Something that caused great local excitement, and much mystification, at the time!”