TBC – CAMP TO BUITENSTEKLOOF, ROBERTSON
We met at Le Roux & Fourie Wine shop, 10km before Robertson to pick up the keys to our cottages. We set off on the Agter-Vinkrivier road, and followed a farm road into a lovely mountain kloof. I was looking forward to getting out of suburbia, to cottages with solar powered lights, and gas geysers. The setting was really lovely. First bird seen on the farm was an unexpected Black Harrier!
True to its name at Witkruis Cottage – we saw a Verreaux's Eagle (Witkruisarend) sitting up on the ridge behind the cottage where Anke & Rodney stayed. Dassies were out sunning on the rocks, and we were alerted by their loud alarm calls, when the eagles were hunting in the sky above. We stayed in Baboon's Gift cottage, but luckily did not have any baboon's to contend with during our stay. Rooipensie cottage was named after the common tortoise in the area. Here the camp feeders were mongoose, Southern Boubou, Cape Robin-chat, Sombre Greenbul, Streaky-headed Canary and some of the group saw the Southern Tchagra well. A fruiting wild olive also attracted Olive Pigeon and a host of garden birds. We had our braai & communal evening meals at Pomegranate Homestead at the end of the road. From here lovely walks were taken, and the odd waterbird seen on the dam. The area is still very dry after the extended drought. The Mountain Pool had stagnant water in it, but must be very nice to swim in once the rains fall. Cape Rock-Thrush, sunbirds, Bar-throated Apalis and Fork-tailed Drongo were seen regularly around the main house. Ina & Gert were taking a scenic picture, and on closer inspection they had photographed a duiker with a Red-wing Starling riding on its head. It was doing the duties of an oxpecker. Wonderful to observe!! On the Saturday we drove along many lovely farm roads, and outside Robertson at the sewage works lots of ducks were seen. We saw six African Black duck here – this being the best spot, in this dry area it seemed. Vrolijkheid Reserve was very dry, and only the common bush birds were seen. We saw many Pale Chanting Goshawk. The highlight for many on the camp was the incredible evening stars. No city lights around, so we were treated to a spectacular night sky. Getting out into the mountains was truly lovely, and the farm belonged to 14 happy birders for the weekend. Our weekend list was 95 bird species. It is worth going back there in the early summer, to add many migrant and visiting birds to this list.