Western Cape: West Coast & Cape Peninsula - 29 & 30 July 2015
Highlights included: Black Crake, Southern Black Korhaan, Black Harrier, Caracal with prey, Cloud Cisticola, Blue Crane, African Penguin, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Siskin, Cape, Bank, White-breasted and Crowned Cormorants, Spotted Eagle Owl and a Cape Porcupine.
Wednesday 29 July We headed up the west coast as a powerful front approached from the west. The sky was heavily overcast with a strong north-westerly wind blowing as we entered the Abramskraal bird hide to begin our day's birding. Black Crake was interesting and a Black-necked Grebe which was continually being mobbed by Little Grebes was unusual.
We moved slowing through the park visiting the Geelbeck Hide, Seeberg Lookout and Seeberg Hide through the morning. Under very difficult conditions we managed to see a good number of the resident birds with Southern Black Korhaan and a confiding over-wintering Lesser Sandplover being the best of the bunch.
In the early afternoon we visited the western side of the park ending up at Tsaarsbank where a huge sea crashed onto the coast. The drive back provided great views of a Black Harrier as it battled into the wind close to the car and at head height. The highlight was undoubtedly an adult Caracal which crossed the road with a prey item (Cape Francolin) in its mouth.
Heading back to Cape Town we took the Darling Hills Road where we stopped at Tienie Versveld Wild Flower Reserve and added a few more species including great views of Cloud Cisticola in spite of the wind which was now accompanied by rain. Further on we were lucky to find a pair of Blue Crane.
Thursday 30 July A day on the Cape Peninsula started with an aborted trip to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Heavy rain caused us to head down the peninsula to The Boulders where we enjoyed the African Penguin colony for an hour while we hoped for a break in the weather.
Moving on to Cape Point we were surprisingly able to pick up the major fynbos endemics Cape Sugarbird, various sunbirds, Cape Bunting, amongst others, and importantly Cape Siskin.
It was then on to Kommetjie which, although cold and exposed, produced good views of all four marine cormorants - Cape, Bank, White-breasted and Crowned Cormorants - amongst others.
After another brief look at Kirstenbosch in the rain we headed to Strandfontein where we spent the afternoon taking in another 40 odd species including flamingos, pelicans and a Spotted Eagle Owl. Highlight of the afternoon however, was a large adult Porcupine out feeding in the foul weather.
A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Barrie Rose.
For a full list of species from this trip, please contact us.
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.