Peninsula & Hottentots Holland Day Trips, 25 and 26 February
This day trip took in the best of Cape Town's birding sites, with
African Openbill as exceptional sighting for the area.
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trip report. Please click here
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We met at the Garden Court Hotel at 9 am for a birding day on the
Cape Peninsula. Our first destination was the Atlantic seaboard
near the Moullie Point light-house, where we managed to notch up
a good selection of species, including three terns, two gulls,
African Black Oystercatcher, Crowned and
White-breasted Cormorants, Little Egret,
several migrant waders plus Kittlitz’s Plover,
Cape Gannet fishing off-shore and a few land-based
species. Many of the birds were very confiding, and Brian was able
to get some good photographs. After a very rewarding hour or so,
with 23 species in the bag, we headed on through Hout Bay and over
Constantia Neck to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
At Kirstenbosch, on the east-facing slopes of Table Mountains, the
birding started fairly slowly, but an abundance of Orange-breasted
Sunbirds and Cape Sugarbirds soon had
the cameras clicking again. Additional species such as Sombre
Greenbul, Karoo Prinia, Cape Canary,
Common Waxbill, Cape Robin-Chat,
Olive Thrush, Dusky Flycatcher
and an unexpected Common Fiscal kept us going,
and eventually, whilst heading for the Dell to look for the owls,
we had good views of Cape Batis. To our delight,
we located two Spotted Eagle Owls and, on the way
to lunch, a group of Cape Spurfowl put in a welcome
After a much-needed rest in the shade and some lunch, we headed
to Strandfontein Sewage Works, with a short detour through the Philippi
wetlands (now dry-lands) en route. Large numbers of African
Sacred Ibis and Blacksmith Lapwings were
still present here, as was a solitary White Stork.
A good sighting was obtained of a Black-shouldered Kite
on the overhead wires.
After signing in and heading for the sewage works entrance, we were
surprised and delighted to see eight African Openbills
alongside the road.
The works were excellent as usual, with a slight breeze keeping
the temperature pleasant. Hottentot Teal was added
to the other two teal species, and most of the expected ducks with
the exception of White-backed and Southern
Pochard were present. Several additional waders were added,
as well as a number of other waterbirds (Greater Flamingo,
Avocet, African Purple Swamphen etc.) and bush-birds before
we headed back towards town with a total of 81 species for the day.
We left Cape Town after a brief stop at ORMS Photographic Warehouse
at about 09h30. Our first bird of note along the N2 was the House
Crow before we drove along Clarence Drive towards Rooiels.
This area was relatively quiet, and
birding was slow with the wind increasing in strength. However,
the Black Eagles put on a good display, and Cape
Sugarbird and Malachite Sunbird were present
in good numbers. A good view was obtained of a female Cape
Rock Thrush, and Grey-backed Cisticola
and Familiar Chat were added to the list, but there
was no sight (nor sound) of Cape Rockjumper or
Ground Woodpecker – or the usually present
Neddicky, Cape Bunting and Yellow
We headed on to Stoney Point, where the African Penguins
are always appreciated, and all four marine cormorant species were
present. The Bank Cormorants were particularly
active, collecting nesting material (sea-weed) in the bay and clearly
showing their white rumps. Cape Gannets were again
The next stop was the Harold Porter Reserve in Betty's Bay, where
we started with lunch and then walked around the gardens, which
were fairly productive, with Black Saw-wing, African
Paradise-Flycatcher, Pin-tailed Whydah,
Cape Bulbul and a single Swee Waxbill
being added amongst others. On a building just outside the reserve
a male Cape Rock Thrush showed well.
We returned along the coast, arriving
back at the hotel at about 18h00. The total for a fairly quiet but
interesting day was 52 species, making the overall total for the
two days exactly 100 species (101 if one includes the Black Swan
seen at Strandfontein – certainly free-flying, but also certainly
Brian and Janet wrote us after they returned home: 'Now back
and sorting our photos etc. we must say how much we enjoyed our
two birding days with Otto. It really was a tremendous introduction
to birding in South Africa and Otto was clearly so knowledgeable
and helpful. I am sure you could not have provided a better guide.'
A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Otto Schmidt. Photographs
by Otto Schmidt and participants Brian & Janet Ellis.
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.