Birding Routes

BIRDING IN THE WITZENBERG REGION - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details

THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL SPECIES OF THE WITZENBERG REGION Show details

THE MOUNTAIN PASSES OF THE WITZENBERG REGION Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 1 - GENERAL INTRODUCTION Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 2 - THE TWEE JONGEGEZELLEN ROAD Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 3 - THE THEUNISKRAAL ROAD Show details

THE TULBAGH REGION 4 - THE ROAD TO WOLSELEY Show details

BAINSKLOOF PASS AND BERGSIG WINE ESTATE Show details

BERGSIG WINE ESTATE TO WOLSELEY - AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE Show details

WOLSELEY AND MICHELLS PASS Show details

BIRDING IN CERES Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - CERES TO KAROOPOORT Show details


The R46 from Ceres to Karoopoort merits dedicated slow birding. The TWEELING DAM is found roughly 10 km east of Ceres (S33° 19'39.95” E19° 24'13.76”). Bird-watching here can be extremely rewarding, particularly during spring and early summer when plenty of waterbirds and waders may be present. Note that the dam is often very dry during late summer and autumn. The dam lies on both sides of the road and parking under the opportune blue-gum trees to the western side is advised. The BLACK-NECKED, GREAT CRESTED and LITTLE GREBES all occur, along with the PIED AVOCET, AFRICAN SPOONBILL, BLACK-WINGED STILT and most of the duck species to be found in the region. The SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK appears in worthy numbers. Migratory waders in summer regularly include the COMMON GREENSHANK, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, RUFF, COMMON, CURLEW, MARSH and WOOD SANDPIPERS and LITTLE STINT. The vegetation along the water's edge hold the SOUTHERN RED and YELLOW BISHOPS, LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, KAROO PRINIA, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER, LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER and AFRICAN REED-WARBLER in summer, as well as most of the region's doves and sparrows. Be especially wary for the more secretive and often inconspicuous species such as the LITTLE BITTERN, BURCHELL'S COUCAL and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. The AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE and WESTERN OSPREY have been recorded occasionally.
(The text continues below these photographs).

Tweeling Dam in spring  (Image by AO)
African Reed-Warbler  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pied Avocet  (Image by JW)
Purple Heron  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further along the R46, towards Karoopoort, the THERONSBERG PASS warrants attention. The recommended spot for bird-watching is at the parking area and viewpoint (S33° 17'17.76” E19° 27.25”). Species that are commonly found include the SOUTHERN RED BISHOP, PIED STARLING, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE CLAPPER, LARGE-BILLED and RED-CAPPED LARKS, WHITE-NECKED RAVEN and CAPE ROCK-THRUSH. It is remarkable that one can expect to find the sheer majority of so-called 'fynbos specials' such as the PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER in the fynbos habitats. Observe the stands of mature Proteas and 'wabome' along here with particular care. Raptors include the JACKAL BUZZARD, LANNER FALCON, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE, and occasionally the BLACK HARRIER, and STEPPE BUZZARD and YELLOW-BILLED KITE occur in summer. 

The next suggested stop is at KAROOPOORT, about 45 km east of Ceres. Frequently spotted species in the area around the historic farmhouse include the FAMILIAR CHAT, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, CAPE SPARROW, PIED STARLING, MALACHITE SUNBIRD, OLIVE THRUSH and CAPE WEAVER, with the KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN and NAMAQUA WARBLER being more mysterious . The JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES and ROCK KESTREL often embrace the skies and look out for the AFRICAN BLACK, ALPINE, LITTLE and WHITE-RUMPED SWIFTS during summer months. Be on the lookout for the rare RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWK. Travel slowly along the river bed, where the BLACK-HEADED, WHITE-THROATED and YELLOW CANARIES, GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA, AFRICAN REED-WARBLER and STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER may be found. The acacia thickets may produce the ACACIA PIED BARBET, FAIRY and FISCAL FLYCATCHERS, WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD, WATTLED STARLING and CHESTNUT-VENTED and LAYARD'S TIT-BABBLERS. The CAPE BUNTING, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN and MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR are common along the rocky slopes. Interestingly, both the PALE-WINGED and RED-WINGED STARLINGS occur and EUROPEAN BEE-EATERS are plentiful in summer. Ensure that ample time is spent at the famous and delightful KAROOPOORT PICNIC SITE, just beyond the turn-off of the R356 to Sutherland (33° 13'06.39”S 19° 42'14.16”E). The LONG-BILLED CROMBEC, FAIRY FLYCATCHER, both CHESTNUT-VENTED and LAYARD'S TIT-BABBLERS, NAMAQUA WARBLER and MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR are regularly found. Pleasingly common species include the CAPE and WHITE-THROATED CANARIES, GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA and WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD. The LESSER DOUBLE-COLLARED and MALACHITE SUNBIRDS appear in copious numbers after it has rained. Karoopoort is, however, known as one of the prime sites for the highly elusive CINNAMON-BREASTED WARBLER and this is certainly the main target species at the picnic site. It is best to acquaint oneself with its call, as it is otherwise almost impossible to find.
(Note that there are links to more information, trip reports and the like below the photographs that may be used to further plan a visit to the area).

Tankwa sunrise  (Image by AO)
European Bee-Eater  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lanner Falcon  (Image by AO)
Male Pririt Batis  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - KAROOPOORT TO TANKWA FARM STALL Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - KATBAKKIES TO OP-DIE-BERG Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 1 - OP-DIE-BERG TO CERES Show details

CIRCLE ROUTES FROM CERES 2 - SWAARMOED PASS & BO-SWAARMOED FARMING AREA Show details

CIRCLE ROUTE FROM CERES 2 CONTINUED - THE DROEHOEK ROAD TO GYDO PASS Show details

THE TANKWA-KAROO NATIONAL PARK - THE P2250 GRAVEL ROAD Show details

THE TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK 2 - OUDEBAASKRAAL AND SURROUNDS Show details

THE TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK 3 - THE INTERIOR ROADS AND ACCOMMODATION Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details