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Western Cape: West Coast Trip Report - 8 October 2015

Bird Highlights: Blue Crane, Karoo Prinia, European Bee-eater, Southern Black Korhaan, Black Harrier, African Purple Swamphen, Red-capped Lark, African Marsh Harrier and more..

Detailed Trip Report

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.

A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Nick Fordyce.

For a full list of species from this trip, please
contact us.

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., or However you're always welcome to contact us if you're interested in a guided trip in this area.

Practical tour information: Cape Day Trips and Western Cape Tours

Please click this link for more detailed information about our upcoming Cape Tours.
Focus 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 or both.
Photography 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 photos.
Fitness Only a low level of fitness is required.
Timing Throughout the year.
Climate Moderate; can be warm in summer and chilly in winter.
Comfort A good standard of accommodation in guest houses, lodges and small hotels.
Transport We travel by minibus or four wheel drive vehicle.
Group Size This depends on the specific tour. Please enquire.
Top birds Fynbos endemics, Karoo endemics and raptors in a spectacular setting
Top mammals whales, dolphins, Cape Grysbok, Chacma Baboon, Caracal, Grey Mongoose
Booking Please contact us if you wish to book. You will receive the booking form and conditions and a tour information pack.

About 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.

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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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