I collected Jay at his Cape Town hotel at 07h00
and headed for Kirstenbosch to meet Nigel and Christine at Kirstenbosch
National Botanical Gardens at 07h30.
On entering the gardens, a Black-headed Heron flew
over, and one of our first birds inside was a Reed
Cormorant which flew down to the large pond above the main
entrance – both unusual species for the gardens.
Thereafter we picked up the expected species as we headed upwards
along the western edge. Southern
Double-collaredSunbirds were joined by
Orange-breasted Sunbirds and higher up the slope
we found a number of,
mainly male, Cape Sugarbirds. Southern
Boubou was eventually seen well, as were Cape Bulbul,
Chat, Sombre Greenbul, Olive Thrush,
African Dusky Flycatcher and other expected species. Overhead,
had a pair of White-necked Raven, and as we watched
them, they were joined by a pair of African Goshawks.
Heading down into the main gardens, we found the pair of Spotted
Eagle Owls in their favourite tree above the
tarred path, and, when cutting back from below the Dell to look
for the golden orb web spiders, we spotted both Cape Batis and Forest Canary,
having earlier added both Cape Canary and Brimstone
Canary. We also heard but did
not see Klaas’s Cuckoo. Our last birds before
heading for some much-needed refreshment were two Steppe
Buzzards circling overhead.
After the refreshments at Kirstenbosch , we crossed the Peninsula
to the Rondevlei Nature Reserve. The hides were relatively quiet,
but overhead there were large numbers of feeding Alpine,
Black and Little Swift. Amongst
them were Barn Swallows, still present in good numbers late
into April. Three-banded Plovers, a single Curlew
Sandpiper, and the expected species such as Great
White Pelican, Black-headed, Grey
and Purple Heron, Reed
and White-breasted Cormorant, African Darter,
Caspian Tern etc., were added until, on cue, a Purple
Swamphen came into view and gave a great display. Two African
Snipe were also seen before we headed on.
At the Strandfontein Waste Water Treatment Works, two African
Marsh Harriers were soon seen, as were the expected array
of other waterbirds. Migrant waders such as Little Stint,
Ruff and Common Ringed Plover
were still present, and a number of smaller species such as Lesser
Swamp and Little Rush Warblers, Levaillant’s
and Zitting Cisticola were added. Pied
Avocet were present in numbers and the very numerous Greater
Flamingoes were everywhere. Of particular interest, as
we stopped for coffee at Tim and Tom’s picnic spot, were numbers
of Swift Terns flying over from False Bay carrying
fish in their bills. On leaving the Works, the birds were still
seen overhead as we passed the Ottery Hypermarket. We could only
assume that they were heading across the Peninsula towards their
traditional breeding site on Robben Island, a considerable journey,
especially into the strengthening northwester. Our last new species
for the day was a group of House Crows on Strandfontein
Road, bringing the day’s total to 89 species (88 seen, and
one – Klaas’s Cuckoo – heard).
After a good day out we returned to Kirstenbosch to collect Nigel
and Christine’s car at about 17h30, and I drove Jay back to
his Cape Town accommodation.
A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Otto Schmidt. Pictures
taken by Otto Schmidt. 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.
tour information: Cape Day Trips and Western Cape Tours
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.