Posted on the 26th November 2014

Carin, Ilse, Chris and myself will celebrate BirdLife South Africa's Birding Big Day on Saturday by visiting most of the top birding destinations along the Cape Whale Coast. We initially thought of setting the almost impossible target of finding 200 species (for the Western Cape) on the day, but with the strong wind being predicted 150 species would probably be more realistic. We will attempt to give fairly regular progress reports from our mobile phones on Facebook and Twitter as we go along.

Our proposed itinerary briefly looks something like this: We will target forest species at dawn and for this we will visit the highly underrated hotspots of Witkrans and Platbos. From here we will travel to the Uilenkraals Estuary in an attempt to pick up as many waders as possible. The coastal strip between Franskraal and Danger Point is next on our list and here we will be looking for coastal birds and those thicket specials that the area is known for. Then on to the tern roost in the Gansbaai harbour.

Stanford is next where we will concentrate on water birds at Willem Appel se dam and the river. There are also a few good spots for goshawks and sparrowhawks in the village and we will obviously visit the CAPE SISKIN stake-out spot. Now its the turn of swallows, swifts and martins, LBJ's and the wheatfield specials as we will take on both the Oudekraal and Swartrivier roads. It is hoped that we will reach the van der Stel Pass by about noon ¬ there had been some lekker raptors, cuckoos and honeyguides reported from this general area in recent weeks.

Back to waders and water birds when we explore the shores of the Botrivier estuary from Rooisand. The wind has however made it nearly impossible to bird here several times in recent years during BBD. Then on to Betty's Bay where the Harold Porter Botanical Garden offers its own set of specials and Stony Point should allow us to 'mop up' on coastal species. And obviously also the birding delights of the Rooiels site in search of THAT BIRD. That concludes our travels from east to west and leaves us with the whole of the greater Hermanus to consider.

We will now take stock of what species we still need and where we will attempt to go and find them. The great part of all of this is that we will have the sun behind us now and there will be many great birding destinations such as the Hawston sewage works, Vermont salt pan, Onrus estuary and Harderbaai, the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, the Hermanus cliffpath, Fernkloof Nature Reserve and the Kleinrivier estuary to choose from. We are so blessed to live in a region with so many diverse hotspots ¬ and an area of awesome beauty.

It should be fun to follow our progress on Facebook at one of these:


















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