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Western Cape Tour: West Coast: 31 March 2015

Highlights: Blue Crane, Bokmakierie, Red-capped lark, Cape Longclaw, South African Shelduck, Purple Heron, African Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Black-shouldered Kite, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Karoo Lark, Black Crakes, Cape Bunting.

Total number of bird species: 93

After meeting Glenn and Jill at their accommodation in Tamboerskloof we set off north and up South Africa's west coast. The skies were clear, winds were calm, and the birding promised to be great! En route to the West Coast National Park we made a detour on a rural country road to target some agricultural species that don't occur in the park. The main target here were the regular Blue Cranes that 'hang out' in the area. Sure enough, we were soon watching nine birds including a dancing pair. Other highlights from the area include Bokmakierie, Capped Wheatear, Red-capped Lark, Wattled Starling, Cape Longclaw and a female African Stonechat.

Our timing of arrival at the park couldn't have been any better with our first stop being the Geelbek hide right as the tide was receding. Here we scanned through thousands of waders (shorebirds) of at least 17 species, 21 South African Shelducks and of course thousands of Greater Flamingoes, an adult African Fish-Eagle, several African Spoonbills and a Purple Heron to name a few. Before lunch we birded around the restaurant and trees to see what we could find. Black-shouldered Kite, three African Hoopoes, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Yellow Bishop and Cape Weavers were just some of the new additions for the day.

After an excellent lunch, we headed north to the Seeberg hide. Once again we had perfect timing arriving at high tide when birds are close to the hide. In the tern flock we picked out Swift, Caspian, Sandwich, Common and Little Terns and amongst the White-breasted Cormorants were two Cape Cormorants. We also had excellent close-up views of Red Knots, White-fronted Plovers, Kittlitz's Plovers and more flamingoes.

Between the hides, the park roads offer great strandveld birding as well providing Yellow and White-throated Canaries, Karoo Lark, White-backed Mousebird and Karoo Scrub-Robin among others. Our last stop in the park was the Abrahamskraal hide, which is situated overlooking a freshwater vlei. New additions here include two confiding Black Crakes, Cape Bunting and Lesser Swamp Warbler.

Glenn and Jill needed to be back by 4pm so we headed back to Cape Town a bit earlier than usual, but made a quick stop along a vlei where we picked up Great Crested Grebe, Great White Pelican and African Darter bringing our day list to 93 species.

A Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Ethan Kistler.

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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P.O. Box 22727, Scarborough, 7975, South Africa.

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