Early on the morning of the 8th October, I collected David from his accomodation and set off from Cape Town for a day of bird watching up the West Coast. David has spent time working on the conservation of Whooping Cranes in the United States where he began to develop a passion for cranes and birds in general. He was keen to see South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane, and try to catch up with as many other species as possible. Early morning along the Darling Hills road was rich with birdsong and provided good views of a number of local and migrant species. Karoo Prinias, Red Capped Larks, Capped Wheatears and Southern Black Korhaans were amongst the first.
Exposed banks at various points along the road provide excellent nest sites for European Bee-eaters which were out in full force. Initially a little camera shy, they ultimately gave excellent views and photograph opportunities.
Not long thereafter David has his first sighting of a Blue Crane. Having seen Wattled Cranes in Botswana this became David’s second African crane species and 5th overall. A coffee break was enjoyed while watching and photographing the cranes.
After a great morning along the Darling Hills road we moved on to the West Coast National Park. Cape Weavers, Yellow and Red Bishops, Cape Shovelers, and White Throated Swallows were some of the species seen at Abrahamskraal hide whilst the hides at Geelbek and Seeberg provided a great variety of waders including Kittlitz's, White-Fronted and Common Ringed Plovers, Sanderlings, Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, Whimbrels and a single Bar-Tailed Godwit. The first of two Harrier species, the African Marsh Harrier, was seen around Geelbek whilst two Black Harriers were spotted not far from Seeberg hide.
It was time to headed back to Cape Town, but we would finish the day with some more wetland birding. Traffic prevented a trip to Strandfontein Sewage Works, but Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary proved to be a very fruitful alternative. The day ended with David seeing White-Faced Ducks, Red Billed Teals and a pair of African Purple Swamphens amongst the larger Greater Flamingoes and Great White Pelicans.
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 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.