Ten of us went on a morning outing to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus this morning and were once again rewarded with of the best that the mountain fynbos can offer. The morning started with a BLACK EAGLE passing overhead. The security in the reserve has been improved considerably and one now has to fill in a register before walking in the mountain – earlier warnings on this website is certainly not as serious as it was a year ago. The first section of the hike towards the waterfall is awash with color and the so-called “fynbos specials” were out in force: CAPE SUGARBIRDS, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRDS and CAPE GRASSBIRDS were very active and extremely vocal.
Most of the group went up to the waterfall and were fortunate to find GROUND WOODPECKER, CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU and SOMBRE GREENBUL, although the target species BLUE-MANTLED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER was not found. I concentrated on the bottom section of the reserve and had really great experiences: a TAMBOURINE DOVE was very special and two DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS feeding its young provided lots of entertainment. The AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHERS are out in force and STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATERS and CAPE CANARIES were performing at their vocal best. A JACKAL BUZZARD and an AFRICAN GOSHAWK patrolled the skies.
The best fun was provided by breeding birds. I found a FISCAL FLYCATCHER nest with fairly large chicks in it and Mike a CAPE ROBIN-CHAT nest with chicks that could certainly not have been a day old. It is really enjoyable to watch the antics of the adults bringing food to the nests from a distance – the size of some of the insects brought in by the flycatchers is unbelievable.
Fiscal Flycatcher wing ring
I total we were able to see 68 species in the three hours that we spent in the reserve and from the mountain we were also able to see lots of whales in the bay. The Fernkloof Nature Reserve remains a must for birders when the Overstrand region is visited and BirdLife Overberg will certainly go there for an outing at least every spring. Kindly excuse this brief report, but this is all that we had time for before the rugby.