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Western Cape Tour, Hottentots Holland, 26 November 2011

Please click here for more information about our upcoming Cape Tours.

Detailed Trip Report

Itinerary: Rooi-Els, Stoney Point, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and Rooisand Nature Reserve

Our first stop was the coastal town of Rooi-Els where we met Susan, after having already met up with Logan (a keen young birder from USA) in Cape Town. We were soon onto the usual conspicuous suspects like Cape Sugarbird, Orange-Breasted Sunbird, Cape Bunting and Familiar Chat. We encountered a large mixed flock of swifts and hirundines, including Alpine, African Black, Common and White-Rumped Swifts as well as Rock Martin and Greater Striped Swallow. A single Cape Siskin showed briefly, and after much searching we located another extremely tame individual right next to the path, which posed beautifully for a few photos! Our main target bird was Cape Rockjumper, so we continued on down the gravel path towards the larger boulders, picking up Cape Rock-Thrush, Rock Kestrel and Grey-backed Cisticola before hearing and then spotting a very distant male Rockjumper. Hurrying along, we managed to obtain fairly good views as it sailed between the boulders, before it suddenly took off and flew almost straight towards us, landing just metres away behind a large bush! After sneaking around the side of the bush, we were treated to stunning, prolonged views of the male bird as it nonchalantly hopped about mere metres away from us. After a while it seemed to get bored with the constant rapid-fire clicking of camera shutters and moved off to another boulder closer to the shore. Excited after such a great experience, we decided to move on and see what the rest of the day had in store for us.

After a quick refreshing drink it was onwards to the Stoney Point African Penguin colony, and needless to say we found hundreds of these ungainly birds lounging about on the rocks. All four species of marine cormorants were in attendance, including Crowned Cormorant (on the stone jetty as well as the old lighthouse), Cape, White-Breasted and Bank Cormorant (at least two of these rare birds sitting on nests). A couple of Little Egrets were also about, as were some lazily basking Cape Girdled Lizards.

Next we headed to the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens where we broke for lunch, and enjoyed great views of a beautiful male African Paradise Flycatcher from our table. Later, moving up to the wilder parts of the gardens we found Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape Spurfowl, Brimstone Canary and Black Saw-wing, while a Victorin’s Warbler called from nearby. We managed to home in on the latter’s location, but it seemed determined to remain concealed as it belted out its beautiful song from less than a few metres from the path. An attempt at another individual calling higher up also proved fruitless, but turned up good views of Sombre Greenbul, and another stunning male African Paradise Flycatcher showing off its iridescent blue head feathers in the sunlight.

A visit in the late afternoon to Rooisand at the Bot River mouth allowed us to add a number of waterbirds to our day’s list, including Cape Shoveler, Red-Billed Teal, Kittlitz’s Plover and Three-Banded Plover, Black-Winged Stilt and Marsh Sandpiper, amongst others. However, the undoubted highlight of the visit was a great sighting of an Osprey soon after arriving. We watched as it flew above the water not far from us, occasionally swooping down as if to dive for a fish but never achieving any success. Another welcome addition to our meager tally of raptors for the day was a distant African Marsh-Harrier quartering low and attracting attention from the ever-aggressive Blacksmith Lapwings. The drive home had us arriving back in Cape Town shortly after nightfall, satisfied with a great day’s birding!

A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leaders Campbell Fleming and Seth Musker.

For a full list of species from this trip, please contact us.

Many of the birding sites on this trip are described in detail in the Southern African Birdfinder which is widely available in South African bookshops and on the internet. (e.g., www.netbooks.co.za or www.wildsounds.co.uk). However you're always welcome to contact us if you're interested in a guided trip in this area.

Practical tour information: Cape Day Trips and Western Cape Tours

Please click this link for more detailed information about our upcoming Cape Tours.
Focus Our Cape tours and day trips are aimed at keen birders and nature enthusiasts. They have been designed to see as many endemic birds as possible. While on the walks, we spend a lot of time looking for other aspects of wildlife such as mammals, chameleons, geckos, butterflies and interesting plants. We can also customise any itinerary to suit to the keen birder, the wildlife enthusiast or both.
Photography Many participants on our tours and day trips are amateur wildlife photographers. And when we get excellent views of a bird or mammal, some time is usually spent watching and photographing it. However, this is not a photographic tour and once the majority of the people have felt that they have absorbed the animal or bird to their satisfaction, then we move on in search of the next encounter. Thus, while the photographic opportunities are very good, the group will only occasionally wait for somebody who wants to spend even longer getting better photos.
Fitness Only a low level of fitness is required.
Timing Throughout the year.
Climate Moderate; can be warm in summer and chilly in winter.
Comfort A good standard of accommodation in guest houses, lodges and small hotels.
Transport We travel by minibus or four wheel drive vehicle.
Group Size This depends on the specific tour. Please enquire.
Top birds Fynbos endemics, Karoo endemics and raptors in a spectacular setting
Top mammals whales, dolphins, Cape Grysbok, Chacma Baboon, Caracal, Grey Mongoose
Booking Please contact us if you wish to book. You will receive the booking form and conditions and a tour information pack.

About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders.  We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.  We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

For feedback from our guests, please see our Client Comments. Please also browse our Latest News and Trip Reports.



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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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