The purpose of this trip was to find a select
number of target species such as Cape Rock-jumper, Victorin's Warbler,
Bank Cormorant and Grey-backed Cisticola.
We left Cape Town just after 06:30 and headed east along the N2
for specific targets. We stopped past Gordon’s Bay near the
Steenbras River mouth in search of Victorin’s Warbler. While
there was no sign of the bird, we watched an obliging display of
Moving on, we arrived at Harold Porter National Botanical Garden
in Betty's Bay just as the gates opened. We quickly worked our way
up through the gardens stopping briefly to enjoy Orange-breasted
and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Cape
Sugarbirds, Dusky Sunbird, Swee
Waxbills, Cape Robin, Cape Francolin
and more common birds. Once we had crossed the bridge and headed
up Disa Ravine we found a pair of African Black Duck.
We moved in towards our target bird. On the dry (usually damp) slopes
of the ravine the work started and after an hour we located a very
secretive Victorin’s Warbler. We could just
make out its very subtle movement through the fynbos. During the
half hour that we spent with the bird it showed itself once for
a nano-second and was induced to give one short call. A rather frustrating
experience, but not unexpected at this time of the year.
After a pleasant breakfast at the Garden’s restaurant we headed
for the Stoney Point penguin colony which has in recent months grown
considerably as a result of the proximity of the desired food source
(anchovies). African Penguin in all plumage stages
adorned the rocks and nest sites. Betty's Bay is one of the few
places in South Africa where all four species of marine cormorants
can be seen. Bank, Cape, Crowned
and White-breasted Cormorant were present and breeding
allowing us to compare the features of each species at our leisure.
Bank Cormorant had been another target bird so
the results of our endeavors were quite satisfactory. On the edges
of the colony we were able to spend some time with Rock
Hyrax and Common Girdled Lizard.
We then headed on to Rooi Els in search of the Cape Rockjumper.
The calm, hot conditions were quite debilitating and after information
regarding the lack of Rockjumper sighting over the past weeks our
expectations were quite low. We scoured the rocky slopes for nearly
2km and were eventually rewarded with extended views of a confiding
pair of Cape Rockjumper within 30m of the road!
The next target species we watched was Grey-backed Cisticola.
We observed a family of Grey-backed Cisticola sheltering
under a rock from the now oppressive heat. We enjoyed watching three
sunbird species, Orange-breasted, Southern Double-collared and Malachite
Sunbirds, Familiar Chats, Cape
Buntings, Rock Martins and a few Southern
After rehydrating in the village of Rooi Els we headed off to Paarl
Mountain for a late afternoon attempt at Protea Canary. Sadly the
South-easter which had held off all day was now screaming and after
a short walk in the Botanical Gardens we agreed to leave this species
for another day.
For a full list of species from this trip, please
A Birding Africa Trip
Report by Tour Leader Barrie Rose.
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.