This is an on-going report of the BirdLife Overberg trip to Nature's Valley. In this one we focus on our birding in the indigenous forests in the area. The following two links can be visited in view of getting a better idea of the birding potential of the area:
Lakes Bird Club at Nature's Valley:
Nature's Valley remains a top birding destination (John Graham):
Immature Black-headed Oriole
This morning several of us went walking in the forests along the Grootrivier. Charles, Marcele, Elaine, Marlien, Frank, Conrad and myself started at the bridge leading to the Blouwkrans Pass. Within minutes Frank and Conrad took a different trail than us. There were droves of BAR-THROATED APALIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE, KNYSNA TURACO and SOMBRE GREENBUL everywhere, causing a constant din deep in the forests. Other fairly common species that were encountered included GREEN-BACKED CAMEROPTERA, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, AFRICAN PARADISE FLYCATCHER, noisy CHORISTER ROBIN-CHATS and a variety of sunbirds, including both DOUBLE-COLLARED variaties and AMETHYST, COLLARED and SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRDS. Specials for us Hermanus birders included TERRESTRIAL BROWN-BUL, OLIVE BUSH-SHRIKE, both BLACK and GREY CUCKOO-SHRIKES, BLACK-BACKED PUFFBACK, WILLOW WARBLER, GREEN WOODHOOPOE, YELLOW-THROATED WOODLAND-WARBLER and OLIVE and KNYSNA WOODPECKERS.
Grootrivier forest scene
Part of the group at restcamp
From here we went to the restcamp where Anita, Hugo and Paul joined us. We immediately encountered a LEMON DOVE out in the open – a lifer for many in the group. The other outstanding sighting was that of a BLACK SAWWING carrying long, white streamers into its nesting hole in a sandbank. We spent a long time trying to photograph this spectacle, but only managed to get well focused images of a hole. For the rest we managed to find most of the species mentioned above, together with good numbers of CAPE BATIS, BLACK-BELLIED STARLING, CAPE WHITE-EYE and many sunbirds.
Most members of the group are still looking for Forest Canary, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher, Narina Trogon, Collared Sunbird, Green-backed Camaroptera and Grey Cuckooshrike. Fortunately we still have more than two full days left to hunt down these difficult-to-get forest species. This brief overview clearly illustrates the vast birding potential of Nature's Valley. This is certainly one of the top birding destinations in the Western Cape Province as far as forest species are concerned.