The day started at 06h30 after fetching Richard and Margaret from their accommodation. They had already spent a few days in the Cape and so were after a limited number of species they had yet to encounter. These species were to be the focus of the day.
We turned off the R27, just south of Darling, and almost immediately had Cape Clapper Larks calling distantly as well as a number of Southern Black Korhaans. They both took a bit of work to find but the toils paid off and eventually we got good views along with great photographic opportunities. Along with the larks and korhaans, several more common bird sighting were noted including in surrounding strandveld the Yellow Canary, Namaqua Dove, Common Fiscal, Grey-backed Cisticola as well as a couple Jackal Buzzards.
When entering the farmlands we soon encountered a single Blue Crane which we managed to sneak up on for a closer look, which was certainly one of the highlights of the day. Roadside birds included; Capped Wheatear, Banded Martin, Pied Starling, Cape Weaver and Cape Grassbird.
Fynbos birding was pretty quiet in West Coast National Park, so we decided to head straight to the Abrahamskraal hide. A number of common marshland species were noted including the Cape Shoveller, Cape Teal, Little Grebe, Red-knobbed Coot and Lesser Flamingo. Lesser Swamp-Warblers were heard calling deep in the reedbeds, however, they could not be sighted. Just outside the hide we had fleeting glimpses of Bokmakierie and Levaillant's Cisticola. Other fynbos birds worth mentioning included Karoo Scrub-Robin, Pearl-breasted Swallow and White-backed Mousebird.
After an enjoyable lunch we made our way to the Geelbek Hide with the tide rapidly dropping. We had timed it just right and eventually most of the wader species gave us good scope views. Some of the waders on offer included Pied Avocet, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Little Stint, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Ringed Plover, with the highlight being Common Redshank. We had a brief flyby of a Western Osprey and Caspian Terns were noted. As we were leaving the hide we came across a solitary European Sand Martin, an unusual bird in the park.
Our final stop was at Seeberg Hide to catch up with any other missing waterbirds. Unfortunately there was not much different on offer besides the friendly White-throated Swallows and an impressive group of over 5000 Common Terns. On exiting the park we stumbled upon a couple of Black Harriers which was one of the big targets, and a great way to end the day.
For a full list of species from this trip, please
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.