Western Cape Tour, Hottentots Holland, 19 March 2015
Highlights: Victorin's Warbler, Cape Sugarbird, Malachite, Orange-breasted & Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Cape Grassbird, Cape Siskin, African Penguin, all 4 species of coastal cormorant, African Black Oystercatcher, African Black Duck, African Marsh-Harrier, Levaillant's Cisticola, Spotted Eagle-Owl, and more...
Number of bird species: 96
18 March: West Coast
I met visiting American Lindsey and friend Dena in the city centre at 6:30am and headed east towards the endemic rich Hottentot Hollands. This was Lindsey's first trip to South Africa so the lifers already started rolling in as we drove through the city - Pied Crow, Hadeda and African Sacred Ibis, and more.
Our first stop in the morning was Rooi-Els, where we targeted most of the local specialties. Before leaving the car park we already had good numbers of Cape Sugarbirds and Malachite, Southern Double-collared and Orange-breasted Sunbirds. Further down we had excellent views of a Peregrine Falcon sitting on top of a utility pole plucking away at a bird providing good binocular views. Further down the road we picked up Familiar Chat, Victorin's Warbler, Cape Rock-Thrush, Yellow Bishop, Cape Bunting, Cape Grassbird and Cape Siskin to name a few. Along the rocky coastline, a Cape Seal sat lazily on a rock amongst a group of cormorants.
We continued east with Stony Point as our next stop. Here we enjoyed hundreds of African Penguins as well as good scope views of Cape, Bank, Crowned and White-breasted Cormorants at their nesting colony. Also present were a couple of African Black Oystercatchers , Fiscal Flycatcher and a Rock Kestrel.
Before lunch we birded the gardens at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, which provided Brimstone and Cape Canaries, Olive Thrush, Speckled Mousebird, Black Saw-wing, Sombre Greenbul, African Paradise and African Dusky Flycatchers, Cape Batis and a pair of elusive African Black Ducks. The highlight here though was watching a Verreaux's Eagle take multiple swoops at a fleeing Klipspringer on the mountain side with the Klipspringer escaping...just barely!
Heading back towards Cape Town, we made one last stop at the Strandfontein Sewage Works where we did a quick hour loop around the pans. Highlights include Cape and Red-billed Teal, Cape Shoveler, African Purple Swamphen, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Three-banded Plover, African Marsh-Harrier, three species of herons, Greater and Lesser Flamingos, African Spoonbill, Great White Pelican, Levaillant's Cisticola, Cape Longclaw and a pair of Spotted Eagle-Owls sitting in their typical bush.
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.
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.
Only a low level of fitness is required.
Throughout the year.
Moderate; can be warm in summer and chilly in winter.
A good standard of accommodation in guest houses, lodges and small hotels.
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.