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THE WESTERN CAPE AS A TOP BIRDING DESTINATION

Posted on the 11th April 2013

(Trevor Hardaker again came out with some fascinating bits of information over the last few days. Firstly he put 'some useless stats' on his Facebook page and last night's SA Rare Bird News reported some really lekker birds for the Western Cape. Over the last few weeks I received several requests from overseas birders wanting to know what the best time of year would be to visit the Western Cape. I then decided to run through the website and draw up a list of interesting birds seen in the province during the last summer (1 September to end of March). This list is by no means comprehensive and some birds are even resident – mostly some of my favourites. It does though illustrate the vast birding potential of the province. Thanks to Trevor as a lot of the information came from SARBN and John Graham for that Nature's Valley report of last week. Maybe visitors want to add this list in the user comments? - Ed.)

'Some useless stats... In the last 25 years, 29 species have been added (excl splits and newly described species) to the Southern African list. Zimbabwe, North-west and Gauteng have 1 each, Eastern Cape has 2, KZN has 3, Namibia and the Northern Cape provided 4 each and the remaining 13 all came from around Cape Town. 'Nuff said...:)'

SARBN on the Western Cape reported on 4 April:

EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD RECORDS: Two birds reported over Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on Saturday (Western Cape).

PECTORAL SANDPIPER RECORDS: A single bird still present at Strandfontein Sewage Works yesterday (Western Cape).

On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, there have been a number of interesting reports over the last little while. Beginning with raptors, there was a report of an AFRICAN HOBBY seen south-west of Kliprand right in the north of the province on Saturday whilst the popular SOOTY FALCON at the Emily Moon Resort in Plettenberg Bay was on view until at least Tuesday and, yesterday, a LONG-CRESTED EAGLE was reported over the N2 at Little Brak near Mossel Bay. On Friday, a cracking FRANKLIN’S GULL was discovered at Strandfontein Sewage Works whereafter, the following day, it was found at the adjacent landfill site. Last Tuesday, an AFRICAN CUCKOO was discovered at Baboon’s Rest near Wilderness, another good provincial vagrant.

INTERESTING BIRDS SEEN IN THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE DURING THE SUMMER OF 2012/ 2013

 

  • 1 September: Blue Petrel on pelagic trip. Also Wandering Albatross and Southern Fulmars

  • 1 September: Eurasian Oystercatcher at Seeberg hide in the West Coast National Park. These birds were also reported from this and several other spots in the Park during the summer.

  • 1 September: Common Redshanks at Geelbek in the West Coast National Park. These birds were seen regularly throughout the summer.

  • 2 September: Tambourine Doves at Paarl Bird Sanctuary

  • 2 September: African Pied Wagtail at Stellenbosch

  • 28 September: SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS, 6 WANDERING ALBATROSSES, both Southern & Northern Giant Petrels and both the INDIAN and ATLANTIC YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS besides the hundreds of SHY & BLACK-BROWED Albatross swirling around on a pelagic trip.

  • 29 September: African Grass Owl at Tienie Versveld Nature Reserve near Darling

  • 30 September: Abdim's Stork near Arniston

  • 30 September: Lesser Sand Plovers at the salt marshes near Geelbek Manor House in the West Coast National Park.

  • 6 October: Black Skimmer at Rietvlei, Milnerton

  • 16 October: Pel's Fishing Owl at Newlands

  • 20 October: Dunlin at Geelbek hide

  • 28 October: Willow Warbler at Karoo Poort

  • 30 October: Bateleur near De Hoop Nature Reserve and on 13 November at Kaaiman's River, Wilderness. These birds were also reported from several other spots in the province during the summer.

  • 6 November: Wahlberg's Eagle near Riversdale

  • 1 December: Squacco Heron at Paarl Bird Sanctuary

  • 1 Decemebr: Temminck's Courser at Olifantsbos, Table Mountain National Park

  • 3 December: Hottentot Buttonquail at Rooisand

  • 4 December: Sabine Gulls at Yzerfontein

  • 8 December: Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens

  • 12 December: Black Storks near Porterville. These birds were also reported from several other spots in the province during the summer.

  • 12 December: Red-tailed Tropicbird at Langebaan

  • 12 December: Lesser Spotted Eagle at Langebaan

  • 24 December: Southern Carmine Bee-eater at De Kelders, Gansbaai

  • 25 December: Rufous-cheecked Nightjars at De Mond Nature Reserve

  • 25 December: European Roller near Bredasdorp. These birds were also reported from several other spots in the province during the summer.

  • 26 December: Eurasian Hobby near Vleesbaai

  • 27 December: Wing-snapping Cisticola near Plett

  • 30 December: Brown Snake-eagle in the Karoo National Park

  • 30 December: Greater Sand Plover at Voëlvlei near Vleesbaai. These birds were also reported from several other spots in the province during the summer.

  • 30 December: Spectacled Petrel on pelagic trip

  • 1 January: Yellow-billed Stork at De Hoop Vlei

  • 10 January: Pectoral Sandpiper on Pan P3 at Strandfontein Sewage Works. These birds were also reported from this and several other spots in the province during the summer.

  • 16 January: Marsh Warbler at Rooirivier marsh opposite Dormehlsdrift (close to Kingswood Golf Estate) in George

  • 16 January: Brown Snake-Eagle about 70km east of Beaufort West on the road to Murraysburg

  • 24 January: Baillon's Crake at Intaka Island

  • 28 January: Marabou Stork near Arniston

  • 2 February: Northern Rockhopper Penguin at Kommetjie. This species was also seen at Onrus on 20 February.

  • 5 February: Bateleur near Paarl.

  • 9 February: European Honey Buzzards at Paarl Bird Sanctuary. These birds were also reported from several other spots in the province during the summer.

  • 9 February: Chestnut-banded Plovers at Geelbek hide.

  • 10 February: Black-browed Albatross, Great Shearwater, Northern Giant Petrel, Sub-antarctic Skua, European Storm Petrel, Atlantic Ocean Yellow-nosed Albatross, Indian Ocean Yellow-nosed Albatross, Manx Shearwater and Northern Giant Petrel on a pelagic trip.

  • 10 February: Black Tern at Strandfontein Sewage works

  • 10 February: Goliath Herons at Rondevlei Nature Reserve

  • 16 February: Groundscraper Thrush at Bredasdorp

  • 17 February: Yellow-billed Storks near Oudtshoorn

  • 1 March: Sooty Falcon at Plett

  • 20 March: Shaft-tailed Whydah at Op-die-Berg near Ceres

  • 21 March: European Marsh Warblers at Ebb and Flow, Wilderness

  • 23 March: Lesser Striped Swallows around Nature's Valley

  • 23 March: Golden-breasted Buntings near Nature's Valley

  • 23 March: Black-collared Barbets near Nature's Valley

  • 23 March: Lazy Cisticola near Nature's Valley

  • 23 March: Wailing Cisticola near Nature's Valley

  • 23 March: Green-backed Heron at Nature's Valley

     

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