Itinerary: We birded
at Blaauwberg, Darling, Yzerfontein and West Coast National Park
Number of bird species:
Noteworthy sightings: Pale Chanting Goshawk on the Darling road
just off the R27, Layards Tit-babbler at Blaauwberg so close to
Cape Town, Black Crake with a chick at Abrahamskraal water hole
in West Coast National Park.
We met early in central Cape Town and left the
City by 06:00; avoiding the morning rush hour traffic and were soon
along the West Coast heading toward Blaauwberg. Here we
stopped for a walk along the beach, picking up African Black
Oystercatcher, Cape Cormorant and several
Crowned Cormorants. The usual coastal Kelp
Gulls and Hartlaubs Gulls were also about.
We turned our attention to the inland coastal Strandveld vegetation
across the road, turning up a few local bush birds such as Layard’s
Titbabbler, Cape Robin-chat, Grey-backed
Cisticola, Cape Bulbul and Karoo
Prinia. Many of these birds were very reluctant to show
themselves, being the end of the breeding season and the start of
what was predicted to be a hot day. We moved on up the West Coast
road, finding Black-shouldered Kite, Pied
Starling and the ever present Pied Crow.
We turned off the coast road onto the back Darling
road, finding Cape Spurfowl, Southern Double-collared
Sunbird, Cape Sparrow and a surprise Pale-chanting
Goshawk. Nearby was a pair of Blue Crane
with a two immature chicks. A local dam turned up Spur-wing
Goose, Red-knobbed Coot and numerous Egyptian
Goose. Around the corner at the farm house we worked through
the various swallows, turning up Barn Swallow,
White-throated Swallow, Greater Striped
Swallow and the diminutive Pearl-breasted Swallow.
Large flocks of Red Bishop were about, with the
occasional Yellow Bishop. At the farm “Groote Post”
we found a leaking irrigation pipe and quickly picked up Cape
and White-throated Canary, Cape Weaver
and White-backed Mousebird. On the road to Darling
we had a brief fly by of Namaqua Dove, with Capped
Wheatear in the adjacent fields. On the other side Darling
we stopped in at the small Tienie Versfeld Nature Reserve, where
we found both Levaillant’s and Cloud Cisticola.
We flushed a pair of Steenbok antelope, whilst
Cape Longclaw and Cloud Cisticola
showed well. In the small dam on site we found Cape Teal
and Greenshank. We headed toward the coast at Ysterfontein,
finding Cape Fur Seal in the harbour with several
Crowned Cormorants and African Black Oystercatchers.
Cape Shoveler and Red-knobbed Coot by Dalton Gibbs
Further up the road we entered the West Coast
National Park and headed to the Abrahamskraal water hole, where
we picked up water birds such as Red-knobbed Coot,
African Spoonbill and Lesser Swamp Warbler.
Bush birds included Yellow and Cape Canary
along with Cape Bunting and Cape Bulbul.
We had good views of Black Crake with its tiny
fluffy young along the waters edge. We left this bird hide and traveled
to the coast, seeing Gemsbok and Eland
some way off. African Penguin fed off the coast,
with flocks of Sanderling along the coast. We headed
to the bird hide at Geelbek, but the water was very high and we
only picked up Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper
and Kittlitz Plover. We headed across to the Oosteval
hide, finding a wide variety of wading birds, including Little
Stint, Whimbrell, Bar-tailed Godwit,
Ruddy Turnstone and Red Knot.
We headed up to the look out point over the park, taking the view
of the blue estuary below. Cape Spurfowl and Helmeted
Guineafowl fed on the slope of the hill as we set off from
the Park toward Cape Town, having picked up 109 bird species during
For a full list of species from this trip, please
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
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
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
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.