Posted on the 30th October 2017

We presented the Flight for Birders course at beautiful Montagu on Friday and Saturday. We were pleasantly surprised with what the town and environs offer from a birding perspective. Abigail’s Garden Cottage served as an ideal base for the two evenings spent in the town as the garden produced more than 30 species in the short time that we had available for birding before nightfall on Thursday.

At Abigail's Garden Cottage, Montagu








The participants in the course were very enthusiastic and it seems as if there is a strong need for the creation of at least a birding interest group. Several discussions about the birding potential of the region resulted in Elaine now investigating the possibility of BirdLife Overberg spending an away weekend in the area, probably in March or April next year.
The birding tourism potential of the region was also discussed extensively and we will most likely look at the possibility of developing birdfinder web pages for either the Montagu region, or the Langeberg municipal region as a whole. There are many wonderful birding destinations along the Breede River and birding at the Vrolijkheid and Pat Busch Nature Reserves are well known.
We spent some time at the Leidam in the centre of Montagu as part of the practical outing. Vast numbers of Cattle Egrets and African Sacred Ibis are breeding there at the moment and several common garden and water birds were also on view. A large flock of Alpine Swifts also staged a dramatic fly-past. Willie Long is part of a group looking after the dam and they are considering creating a floating island on it improve birding opportunities. We referred him to Dale Wright, the BirdLife South Africa conservation manager in the Western Cape, as he has a lot of experience in this regard.

Practical outing at "Die Leidam". Montagu









There were several chats concerning birds in the district and it seems as if there are at least three breeding pairs of Verreaux’s Eagles in the mountains around Montagu. Booted Eagles are apparently also regularly present. Interesting that this is one of the areas where the distribution ranges of Karoo and Olive Thrushes overlap and I see from the literature that the probably hybridise. I Include images of the two species below to illustrate differences.

There are so many wonderful and relatively “undiscovered” birding hotspots in the Western Cape that still need to be introduced to the growing birding tourism market and the village of Montagu and surrounds certainly serves as a prime example of this.

The next Flight for Birders course will be at Sedgefield on 10 & 11 November. Contact Elaine at or 082 455 8402 for details and to register.

Verreaux's Eagle
Booted Eagle








Olive Thrush - Note orange flanks, bolder streaking on throat, dark eye-ring. white undertail coverts & dark base to the culmen



















Karoo Thrush - Note very little orange on belly and not flanks, very little streaking on throat. orange eye-ring and pure yellow bill.

















PAULA BLOMKAMP (posted: 2017-11-13 12:59:59)
Dear Elaine and Anton,
I would like to say Thank you both very much for the wonderful 2 day birding workshop held recently in Montagu. It was terrific. Opened up so much delight sitting in my garden and walking up to our local lei water dam. So much to learn …. But what a pleasure.
Many thanks, loved the choccy touch.
Kind regards
Paula Blomkamp
Ps … if you would like us to feature an advert or whatever in our next Friends of Vrolijkheid Rooikat newsletter please do so. We have just published our most recent issue, our next is due around February next year. Anton if you would like to provide us with a page of Local birding information we would also appreciate that.
EDITH PENGELLEY (posted: 2017-11-02 07:14:10)
Wow - loved the course and learnt so much - Anton is extremely knowledgeable and as the others have said his casual approach makes one enthusiastic to get out there and start birding. Thanks so much and we will be looking forward to welcoming you back to Montagu at any time.
RINA KOEN (posted: 2017-10-31 16:36:31)
Inspirerend ! Nie gedink mens kan soveel op so n genotvolle wyse in 2 dae leer. Wat n voorreg om dit van iemand met soveel kennis ondervinding en passie te kon ervaar. Net die regte medisyne om n belangstelling weer op koers te kry. Baie danikie daarvoor !
WILLIE LONG (posted: 2017-10-30 12:28:58)
I really enjoyed the " Flight for Birders" course last week as I am sure everyone else did and as Eve says, entertaining as well. Anton has a tremendous knowledge in his field and his casual approach made for a relaxing two days. Thank you for coming to Montagu and we look forward to catching up in the future.
EVE LAYTON (posted: 2017-10-30 10:44:59)
I was a participant on the highly informative (and entertaining) Flight for Birders course in Montagu. We would be thrilled if BLO returned for a birding weekend in our region - especially if some of us novice birders from the course were able to join you on your excursions. This would also help us see what serious birders do, and assist us in exploring further the potential of setting up a 'interest group' for bird enthusiasts in our town.