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Western Cape: Peninsula Trip Report - 23 November 2013

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

Highlight bird species: Spotted Eagle Owl, Cape Sugarbird, African Penguin, African Black Oystercatcher, Bank Cormorant and Southern Pochard

Mammal species: Cape Fur Seal, Bontebok, Chacma Baboons, Eland, Cape Dune Mole-rat

Detailed Trip Report

Due to the strong southeaster predicted off Cape Point, Margaret and Richard's Cape Town Pelagics trip had to be postponed until Monday. Instead I met them at their accommodation at 07h30 to enjoy a day of birding dedicated to sites around the Cape Peninsula.

Spotted Eagle owl © Deirdre Vrancken www.birdingafrica.com
Spotted Eagle Owl

First on our list of places to visit was Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Conditions were sheltered up against the mountain slopes and we managed to find Forest Seedeater, Brimstone Canary, Cape Sugarbird and Sombre Greenbul with relative ease within these world famous gardens. We then visited the famous resident pair of Spotted Eagle Owls and there two large chicks. These birds are totally habituated and they sit calmly on the edge of a major path, totally unperturbed by the passing visitors. A walk through a forested section of the garden delivered Cape Batis and an African Goshawk.

We were then on our way to Cape Point but first made a stop at Tokai Forest. On route we encountered a Steppe Buzzard. The short walk at Tokai did not disappoint as we managed to locate Chaffinch, Cape Canary, Fork-tailed Drongo, Dusky Flycatcher, Common Waxbill and a small group of charming Swee Waxbills.

Swee Waxbill © Tertius Gous Fork-tailed Drongo © Seth Musker
Swee Waxbill and Fork-tailed Drongo

We proceeded on to Cape Point and enjoyed the scenic drive down the Cape Peninsula. A quick stop at the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony delivered African Penguin and African Black Oystercatcher. Partridge Point allowed scope views of Cape Fur Seal as well as breeding White-breasted and Bank Cormorants. After a great lunch at Cape Point, we had good looks at two Eland and then birded our way down to the Cape of Good Hope. Despite the very strong wind we enjoyed Common Ostrich and had Swift, Sandwich and Common Terns as well as Cape Cormorants. We also managed to get some fair views of Cape Gannet moving offshore. At Olifantsbos we located some stately Bontebok as well as a troop of Chacma Baboon.

Water Thick-knee © Cliff Dorse
Water Thick-knee

We then headed towards Strandfontein Sewage Works for a bit of wetland birding. We had large numbers of waterfowl including, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, Cape Teal, Red-billed Teal and Maccoa Duck. We found three species of grebe, namely, Great-crested, Black-necked and Little Grebe. Both Greater and Lesser Flamingo were in attendance and we also added Cape Longclaw and Water Thick-knee. We were very lucky to encounter a Cape Dune Mole-rat in the road.

With some daylight remaining we decided to stop in at the Philippi wetlands on route back to Margaret and Richard's accommodation. This proved to be a good option as we had great views of both White-faced and Fulvous Duck as well as African Spoonbill and Yellow-billed Egret.

White-faced Duck © Cliff Dorse Maccoa Duck © Cliff Dorse
White-faced And Maccoa Ducks seen on Cape Flats wetlands.

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

A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Cliff Dorse

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.

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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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