We spent a few days of casual birding at Koedoeskloof in the Ladismith district with Anita. It is extremely dry with some of the dams in the area not having water at all. Our water bird count did understandably not compare well with previous visits. Great fun however with Acacia Pied Barbet, Bokmakierie, Cape Bunting, Familiar Chat, Long-billed Crombec, African Goshawk and Brown-hooded Kingfisher all showing well on the “werf” as such.
View over Towerkop from our bedroom
Gloomy afternoon at Koedoeskloof
Anita wanted to show us the Voorbaat and Van Zyl’s Damme gravel roads – these are along the road to Laingsburg. The natural beauty of these two roads is simply overwhelming and the birding produced really outstanding sightings. An African Fish-Eagle soared over the river, I was very surprised to hear the Sombre Greenbul calling this far west and Red-billed Queleas were also surprising. But then we spent some time along cliffs clad in a mixture of thornveld and Fynbos. From one single point we recorded Bar-throated Apalis, Pririt Batis (this far south), Cape Robin-Chat, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Cape White-eye and several other common species. These roads certainly need investigation and we started debating about the possibility of organising a club weekend outing to this region, possibly to the Matjiesvlei area outside Calitzdorp.
Amazing rock formations along the Voorbaat road
I also downloaded the list of species from the local pentad and found that very few bird atlas cards had been completed for the area. I combined our count with the list that Anita had compiled in the past. We were able to add 13 species not recorded in the pentad earlier. Debi and Eugene now have a bird list for their valley that features more than 130 species. An interesting feature of the list is that Pale-winged and Red-winged Starlings, Karoo and Olive Thrushes and Cape and Pririt Batises occur there. The mixture of birds that one would expect more towards the Garden Route, as well as the Karoo makes for really excellent birding. However, the sheer beauty of the landscapes in the mountainous Klein Karoo must be experienced.
Elaine & Anita producing an Ecobrick
Female Pririt Batis
We also presented the new Flight for Birders 2019 course in Calitzdorp on Friday and Saturday. The group was very enthusiastic and as it happens in so many rural areas there is a demand for the creation of some or other form of bird club in the area. We will assist the locals with this. It is also evident that the region is vastly underrated from a bird-watching perspective and it was decided to investigate the possibility of creating birdfinder web pages for the Route 62 region. We will compile a provisional project proposal in this regard and request local individuals, organisations and businesses to assist us to investigate possible sponsors for such a proposed project.
The Route 62 region as a top birding destination has been neglected for far too long and it is our contention that the area should be marketed meaningfully to attract both domestic and international bird-watchers.