Posted on the 14th September 2015

Elaine, Helé and myself attended the Western Cape Birding Forum conference at the Ebb and Flow restcamp in the Wilderness National Park over the weekend. The girls had to cater for the evening meals and the weather was very poor on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. This, together with the conference meeting did not make for ideal birding opportunities. It was however great to be exposed to all the wonderful forest species that Wilderness has to offer and I hereby give a brief 'name-dropping' report to illustrate the potential of the area.

Early on Friday morning I spent some time birding in the two sections of the Ebb and Flow restcamp. The bird calls from the bush while I was having coffee were delightful – Olive Bush-Shrike, Burchell’s Coucal, African Fish-Eagle, African Goshawk, Sombre Greenbul, Lesser Swamp-Warbler and Knysna Woodpecker all called closeby and an African Marsh-Harrier patrolled the reedbeds along the Serpentine. In the immediate area around chalet there were Bar-throated Apalis, Southern Boubou, Brimstone Canary, African Dusky Flycatcher, Black-headed Oriole, Streaky-headed Seedeater, Amethyst and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds, Knysna Turaco, Cape White-eye and Cardinal and Olive Woodpeckers. Also several summer migrants such as African Paradise-Flycatcher, Black Sawwing, Greater Striped Swallow and a variety of swifts.

Knysna Turaco
Southern Boubou












A walk in the northern section of Ebb and Flow produced Green-backed Cameroptera, Forest Canary, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Common and Swee Waxbills, Chorister Robin-Chat and Red-necked Spurfowl. One of the highlights was watching a Cape Robin-Chat doing a near-perfect mimic of Klaas's Cuckoo. The Touw River produced the usual suspects such as Egyptian Geese with young, Little Grebe, Black-headed and Grey Herons, Pied Kingfisher, Common Moorhen, Blacksmith Plover and Cape Shoveler.













Later in the morning the three of us drove to the Woodville Big Tree. The best sighting here was a Caracal walking along the road. It was very damp and cold in the forest and the most exciting species seen was Terrestial Brownbul. The weather was much improved on Saturday morning when Brian Vanderwalt took a group of birders to the Big Tree. Check this out: they managed to find Buff-spotted Flufftail, Cape Batis, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher, Narina Trogon, Collared Sunbird, White-starred Robin, Grey Sunbird, Knysna Warbler and Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, to mention a few. What a birding spot!

We also visited the Malachite Hide where Red-knobbed Coot, Reed and White-breasted Cormorants, African Darter, Yellow-billed Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Malachite Kingfisher, Southern Pochard and Cape Teal were numerous. White-throated Swallows have already started building their nest. In a total of only five active hours of birding we managed to find well over 100 species – this spot is hugely underrated.

Also keep in mind that most of the trails were too wet to try to negotiated and that we did not bird in Wilderness village, most of Die Vleie Road, or the Seven Passes Road. Wilderness National Park is also in close proximity to Sedgefield and the Goukamma Nature Reserve, and the area incorporates three Lakes systems: the Wilderness lakes system, Swartvlei and its estuary at Sedgefield and the landlocked Groenvlei. Birding here is simply superb and it is recommended that at least three days be spent at Ebb and Flow to give justice to birding in the area.


Red-necked Spurfowls
White-throated Swallow





















PAT NURSE (posted: 2015-09-20 12:08:41)
Dear All

Birding is very good in the Wilderness Area at present. Last weekend the LBC hosted the Western Cape Birding Forum at Ebb and Flow . John Bircher and Gail Hanekom Helped as bird guides and we had two excellent birders in the form of Vernon Head and Brian Vanderwalt among the delegates, so a lot of
birds were seen. The lsit for the weekend was 117 species. The most intersting sighting was a pair of Black-collared Barbets which it is thought are nesting in the area, just east of where the gravel road that leaves the N2 at Die Vleie joins into the gravel road that links Ebb and Flow to Rondevlei and the two hides.

On Monday Howard Laycock and I hosted a pair of very experienced Australian birders. Iian Denham has birded in Peru, Thailand and Papua New Guinea etc. We managed to find them about 90 species, nearly 30 of which were \"lifers\"
including this stunning Narina Trogon in the forest at Woodville. That small patch of forest produced a Buff-spotted Flufftail, Lemon Dove, Grey Cuckooshrike,Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler amongst many others.

Yours in birding