Posted on the 27th November 2009

A recent trip to Wilderness and Nature's Valley yielded most of the usual specials, from a Western Cape view point, with good sightings of Half-collared kingfisher with juvenile, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher in Wilderness, all of which I have not seen for some time since leaving KZN years ago. I finally caught up with Red-throated Spurfowl after several prior misses.

An out of range African Palm Swift was present on the Ebb and Flow camp site in the evenings 16 to 18 October, there may have been 2 individuals as the initial sighting had extremely worn plumage and the latter seemed more fetching.

Nature's Valley provided many great sightings, and after 4 days most had been seen in the campsite including Knysna Woodpecker, Narina Trogon, Collared Sunbird, Green-backed Camaroptera, Black-bellied Starling and Grey Cuckooshrike.

Two male Namaqua Doves were seen in Nature's Valley village on 21 October. continuing with the influx of these all over the Cape.

The most unusual sighting was a single male Black-eared Finchlark on 23 October. This was on hiking trail leading from the picnic site just before one descends into the Grootrivier pass to go down into Nature's Valley. Not only out of range, the habitat was unsual as the hills are covered in very tall fynbos, but it was only using the broad well kept grassy hiking trail.

This was a great trip for me out of the usual Cape Town rut, my only disappointment being not finding African Finfoot. Also the White-backed Nightheron site on the Keurbooms river is not as predictable as it was since the huge floods they had, so this trip was not attempted at this time.

Jacques Malan




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