BIRDLIFE OVERBERG OUTING TO BERGSIG WINE ESTATE ALONG THE BREEDE RIVER
Posted on the 7th November 2016
Eighteen BirdLife Overberg members participated in a delightful outing to the Bergsig Wine Estate on Saturday. Bergsig is situated along the Breede River at the base of the Bainskloof Pass – certainly one of the most beautiful settings in the Cape Winelands. Plum Lategan has developed a birding trail on the farm and he took the one half of our group along the river. His dad Prop and daughter Helen guided the group that I was part of. The stories that Prop had to tell about the history of the farm through many generations were inspiring and added to the quality of our experience.
The birding was wonderful and our group had great sightings of species such as the SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL, CAPE SISKIN, breeding FAMILIAR CHATS, several swifts and swallows, DIDERICK CUCKOO and a very vocal pair of AFRICAN FISH-EAGLES circling over the river. Plum's group added the AFRICAN BLACK DUCK, CAPE LONGCLAW, HAMERKOP, YELLOW-BILLED KITE and KITTLITZ'S PLOVER, amongst others. We were also very pleased to find FOREST BUZZARD and BLACK HARRIER while driving to Bergsig.
Spotted Eagle-Owl - Carin Malan
Diderck Cuckoo - Carin Malan
Red Bishop - Carin Malan
Cape Longclaw - Carl Swart
Once we had hiked the trails Plum gave us a choice between going to a well-wooded forest habitat, an area where LBJ's are dominant and a local dam. We selected the dam and were able to add a fair selection of waterbirds. The diversity of habitat types available clearly suggest that more time should be spent birding at Bergsig. The general feeling was that next year we should plan to spend a full day at Bergsig. It was also felt that we should investigate more possibilities in the Witzenberg region as a whole and already we are planning an outing to this region, together with the Tankwa Karoo on one of our five day midweek outings in October 2017. In the end we manage to positively identify 75 species at Bergsig and a further 18 species along the way.
Upon our return to Hermanus some members went via Bainskloof Pass to chase the Cape Rock-jumper and Protea Seedeater and others visited the Karoo Desert Botanical Garden at Worcester. We are still awaiting feedback.
On our way to the dam
Wilfred & Marcia
At the dam wall
Dawid in concentration
This was however a birding outing with a difference as we were entertained with an excellent wine tasting session before we sat down to a very enjoyable lunch. The Bergsig Wine Estate's offer of 15% discount on their wines for BirdLife South Africa members was also very well received and several members jumped at the opportunity. This format for a day outing works extremely well and it looks like this will become an annual event. Our appreciation goes to the Lategan family for entertaining us in this special way.