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Western Cape: Cape Peninsula Trip Report - 5 March 2014

Highlight bird species: Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Southern double-collared Sunbird, African Penguin,
African Black Oystercatcher, Crowned Cormorant, Maccoa Duck and White-chinned Petrel

Total number of Species: 96


Close up with an African Penguin colony during a Birding Africa day trip

Detailed Trip Report

After picking up Americans Joe and Susan at 07h00 from their accommodation in Cape Town centre, we headed straight for the world renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Having lived in other parts of Africa, Joe and Susan were very keen on seeing species not found to the north, especially those mostly restricted to the Western Cape.



Orange-breasted Sunbird


Steppe Buzzard

Upon entering the gardens, they instantly started adding lifers - Cape Bulbul, Karoo Prinia, Cape Robin-Chat, Olive Thrush and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds greeted us within the first few meters of entering the gardens. We then headed towards the protea section, particularly for Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Sugarbird, and were treated with excellent views of both including a couple dozen of the latter.

En-route we made a stop at the stake out tree for African Olive-Pigeon and were treated to three right above our heads. Elsewhere in the garden Southern Boubou, White-backed Mousebird, Sombre Greenbul, African Dusky Flycatcher, Red-winged Starling, Cape and Forest Canaries, Swee and Common Waxbills as well as an African Goshawk all put on a great show for us. After a quick coffee refill from the cafe, we headed off to our next destination.

Hopping over the mountain, we headed towards the oceanside community of Kommetjie in search of coastal specialties. Along the rocky coastline we added African Black Oystercatchers, White-fronted Plover, Cape, White-breasted and Crowned Cormorants, Great Crested, Sandwich and Common Terns along with several Cape Gannets flying offshore. A quick detour down to the lighthouse proved to be an excellent choice as a small fishing vessel wasn't too far offshore and had a half-dozen White-chinned Petrels circling it amongst the Kelp Gulls. Other new birds for the day include a Steppe Buzzard and two Whimbrels.

Heading to the east side of the scenic Cape Peninsula, we paid a visit to the Boulder's Beach African Penguin colony and enjoyed observing and photographing these comical birds. After a great lunch at the Seaforth Restaurant, we headed back towards Cape Town for our last stop of the day - the Strandfontein Water Works.

For the next two hours we circled the various pans - each offering a different mix of species. The entrance pans yielded plenty of Yellow-billed Ducks, Cape Teal and Cape Shovelers as well as two target species - Maccoa Duck and a pair of Southern Pochards. Elsewhere at the water works we found South African Shelduck, Little, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes, Great White Pelican, African Marsh-Harrier, Rock Kestrel, Levaillant's and Zitting Cisticolas, hundreds of Greater and a single Lesser Flamingo and a dozen species of shorebirds including Kittlitz's, Common Ringed and Three-banded Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Pied Avocets and Wood Sandpipers.



African Penguins

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

A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Ethan Kistler


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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