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Raptor Watch

Dear birders,

We're holding a raptor walk in Newlands Forest on Saturday 14th March at 7h30am in conjunction with the Friends of Newlands Forest.

It is an open event and all are welcome to attend. It is an opportunity for both beginners and more experienced birders to watch soaring raptors with a group of experts along to help with identification.

We'll walk for about 20 minutes to an open vantage point above the forest where we will set our telescopes up and watch for soaring birds. We never quite know what we will see, but previous outings have seen the rare European Honey Buzzard, African Harrier-Hawk (Gymnogene), Booted Eagle, Peregrine, Forest Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Black and Rufous-chested Sparrowhawks, African Goshawk, Verreaux's Eagle, Jackal Buzzard and Rock Kestrel. Being mid-March, some of the migrants may have started to head north already, but the exact departure time of the buzzards is not known. Resident passerines in the forest include Swee Waxbill, Chaffinch, Cape Siskin and Forest Canary.

We'll meet at the the main gate for Newlands Forest (boom below the helicopters at the Newlands Forest Station at 07h30). From the Newlands Ave/M3 junction, travel about 700m towards UCT and take the signed road to the left. The outing usually lasts until about 11h00.

For a trip report from a previous outing, please scroll down.

Hope to see some of you there on Saturday,

All the best,


Black Sparrowhawk © Callan Cohen

Raptor Watch on 19 February 2006 © Callan Cohen Booted Eagle © Callan Cohen

Trip Report: Raptor Watch 2007

by Callan Cohen, posted on CapeBirdNet and SABirdNet on 19 February 2007

Honey Buzzards in Newlands Forest

Hi all,

Here is a short trip report from the joint "Friends of Newlands Forest"-"Cape Bird Club"-"University of Cape Town" raptor walk on Sunday (in Newlands Forest, on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain).

The highlights were 9 species of raptor observed in less than 3 hours, and watching the antics of two Honey Buzzards (local rarities) for close to an hour while they flew above: twisting, turning and soaring to avoid being harassed by other small raptors.

After a short introduction at 7h00, we walked up towards the raptor view point at Newlands Forest (the same place now for four years running; I've afraid it's very difficult to describe exactly where it is as it involves a bit of bundu-bashing). The first raptor was a juvenile Black Sparrowhawk (scoped).

The first Honey Buzzard put in an appearance shortly after 8h00, soaring above the forest against the cliffs of Newlands Ravine - and being variously mobbed by Rock Kestrel and Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk. While we were watching this, a second Honey Buzzard cruised low over our heads from directly behind us - giving everyone close up views of the plumage. Peregrine Falcon and a pale phase Booted Eagle were also in the vicinity (as was a Jackal Buzzard). Some Steppe Buzzards put in an appearance near the end, with a Forest Buzzard at the very end in the car park at 10h00.

Other birds seen were Chaffinch (introduced), Swee Waxbill and Cape Siskin. The previous week, I also heard Lemon Dove and Olive Woodpecker in Newlands Forest, at the raptor observation point.

Thanks to Patricia Fraser and Jane von Witt for organising the walk, Michael Mills for coleading and to Jonathan Schrire for his great photos of the Honey Buzzards.

If you'd like to go on our mailing list for future walks, please send me your email address.

All the best,


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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