BIRDLIFE OVERBERG OUTING TO HAROLD PORTER BOTANICAL GARDENS
Posted on the 16th January 2016
The first BirdLife Overberg morning outing of the year was scheduled for 16 January. One group was supposed to hike the magnificent Kogelberg and the other to visit Rooiels and Stony Point. A very violent south-easter ruined our plans and Chris decided that we would go to the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, rather than postpone the outing for a week. At least the forested areas of the gardens would offer some sort of protection from the howling wind. Fortunately I took the membership list along and we were able to get hold of everyone who had confirmed participation to inform them of our changed plans.
Harold Porter did not disappoint as WHITE-NECKED RAVENS and a single JACKAL BUZZARD circled the skies when we arrived. FAMILIAR CHAT, SOMBRE GREENBUL, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD and CAPE WHITE-EYE were all fairly prominent in the bottom section of the gardens. CAPE SISKINS created excitement at the bridge leading to the gorge. We spent a lot of time along the forested trail where AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHERS and AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHERS were fairly prominent. The star attraction however was a BLUE-MANTLED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER that allowed long and intensive views. Very exciting stuff. OLIVE WOODPECKERS were also heard, but not seen.
After a few hours of neck-hurting forest birding it was time to return to the restaurant for brunch. The open sections of the gardens produced great views of species such as CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SPURFOWL, CAPE SUGARBIRD, MALACHITE and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRDS and CAPE WEAVER. BLACK SAWWING, BARN, GREATER STRIPED and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS and AFRICAN BLACK, ALPINE, LITTLE and WHITE-RUMPED SWIFTS patrolled the skies.
We all agreed that the morning turned out very enjoyable despite the wind. It just goes to show that there is always at least one spot in the Overberg where wonderful birding can be had when one would think that the weather is not conducive for birding. We post some bird images here and will publish these and images of members on the Facebook page as we receive it from the various participants.
This flycatcher swallowed the entire dragonfly! (MC)