A MORNING IN THE FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE, HERMANUS
Posted on the 27th April 2016
The BirdLife Overberg morning outing to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve on Freedom Day presented two exciting additions to our annual outings to this reserve. Aletta Robertson was the group leader and she brought her son Billy of Walker Bay Tours along to serve as guide for the morning. Billy's knowledge of and enthusiasm about Fynbos is inspirational and he had the group in awe with all the stories he had to tell and practical demonstrations that he produced. The decision was taken there and then that a Fynbos walk with Billy during Spring will be worked into our outings programme. This is certainly an opportunity not to be missed.
Chris Cheetham also decided to demonstrate the BirdLasser atlasing App and everyone was very impressed with the ease and comfort with which we all can now participate in the SABAP2 project. We have just featured BirdLasser on the website and forwarded it to the BLOBirdNet. Kindly consider downloading this free product and contribute to the atlasing project.
Chris doing the BirdLasser thing
And Billy happy in the Fynbos
Conditions were not ideal for birding as it was very windy throughout the morning and often cloudy. Several members excused themselves due to this. We started in the bottom section of the garden and were able to find most of the usual suspects. BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU and SOMBRE GREENBUL were fairly vocal and CAPE SPURFOWLS and the common doves and sparrows were around in good numbers. An AFRICAN HOOPOE entertained us with its interesting foraging behaviour. MALACHITE and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRDS were also on view, but we were very surprised with the good numbers of AMETHYST SUNBIRDS that were found – we must have seen these magnificent birds seven or eight times throughout the morning.
Cape Spurfowl - MC Botha
African Hoopoe - MC
Cape Grassbird - Anton
From here we worked our way op towards the mountain, continually being entertained by Billy's Fynbos antics and stories. The first section of the hike towards the waterfall is awash with colour and the CAPE SUGARBIRDS were out in force. They are clearly approaching breeding season as they were chasing each other around all over the place. ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRDS and CAPE GRASSBIRDS were less active and vocal. Most of the group went up to the waterfall and were fortunate to find a pair of CAPE SISKIN probably breeding within rocks. This caused major discussion and debate as they are not supposed to do so.
I concentrated on the bottom section of the reserve and had really great experiences: BRIMSTONE and CAPE CANARIES and STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATERS were prominent. Other species seen regularly included YELLOW BISHOP, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT and CAPE WEAVER. A lone ROCK KESTREL was flying around against the cliffs.
Brimstone Canary - Anton
Cape Siskin female - Charles Naude
In total we were able to see more than 40 species in the fours hours that we spent in the reserve and the high proportion of endemics made for really exciting birding. And all of this in fairly blustery conditions. The Fernkloof Nature Reserve remains a must for birders when the Cape Whale Coast is visited. We will release details on a proposed Fynbos exploration hike with Billy Robertson of Walker Bay Tours shortly – don't miss that one. Thanks to all who made this outing so enjoyable.
(Just some of the flowers seen today shown below).
Leucospernum gracile (Hermanus Pincushion) - MC
Tritoniopsis lata = MC
Protea cynaroides (King Protea) - MC
Brunia noduliflora (Volstruisies) - MC
Magnificent view from Fernkloof towards Die Plaat - MC