Posted on the 12th March 2017

BirdLife Overberg's morning outing on 11 March was to Ian and Jessie Walton's farm along the Highlands road in the beautiful Elgin Valley. Several members who attended the Flight for Birders course in Hermanus participated and we welcomed Ross and Rene Dewar who came along for the first time. Jessie, Carin Malan and Rob Martin were already in the hide when the group arrived and most excitingly managed to get great photographs of a LITTLE BITTERN. Other species that featured initially included the BLACK CRAKE, AFRICAN DARTER, YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, LITTLE GREBE, MALACHITE KINGFISHER and PIED KINGFISHER. Later on we also located WHITE-BACKED and WHITE-FACED DUCKS.

African Spoonbills & Cattle Egrets
Little Bittern. (Both images by Carin Malan)

















The calls of the BAR-THROATED APALIS, LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER and LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER could be heard continually from within the rank vegetation around the dam. The HAMERKOP and BLACK SPARROWHAWK flew past causing great excitement with all who had seen it. Most of us were particularly pleased with the sighting of the HAMERKOP as this bird has become very scarce in our region. The BLACK SAWWING and BARN, GREATER STRIPED and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS further patrolled the skies.

Several endemic species were also on view and these included the CAPE BATIS, CAPE BULBUL, CAPE CANARY, CAPE LONGCLAW, KAROO PRINIA and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD. Good sightings of SWEE WAXBILL, CAPE WEAVER, CAPE WHITE-EYE and CAPE SISKIN were also enjoyed by most in the group. We also added AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER and SOUTHERN GREY-HEADED SPARROW.

Cape Siskin having a bath
Black Crake (Image by Carin Malan)









From here we went to Jessie's beautiful garden and nursery. Deon and Dianne Steenkamp unfortunately got left behind at the dam, but that's a story for another day for Dianne to tell if she wants to. Jessie's garden produced the YELLOW BISHOP, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, MALACHITE SUNBIRD, OLIVE THRUSH and COMMON WAXBILL. A pair of AMETHYST SUNBIRDS undoubtedly the highlight in the garden. Jessie also took us to the juvenile AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK that she is rehabilitating.






Jessie then took us to a hill towards the back of the farm where she often finds all three the pipits of the region. Only a young AFRICAN PIPIT was found and ZITTING CISTICOLAS were also heard and seen. The action was in the skies however as AFRICAN BLACK ALPINE, LITTLE and WHITE-RUMPED SWIFTS were all seen overhead in fairly large numbers – not often that one is privileged to see all four these species together. The cherry on top was a pair of JACKAL BUZZARDS chasing each other above us. We ended the morning with a picnic on the patio at Jessie's log cabin along yet another dam and enjoyed more views of the JACKAL BUZZARD, MALACHITE KINGFISHER and a variety of waterbirds.

At the Gymnogene (Image by Carin Malan)
Jessie's log cabin patio (Image by Chris Cheetham)










This was a truly enjoyable morning's birding and we thank Jessie for all the trouble she had gone through to host us. We will certainly be back. In total we saw 65 species and Carin will submit the BirdLasser report.

Our next outing is on Thursday 16 March when we will visit Harderbaai at Onrus, the Vermont salt pan and the Swartrivier road – an outing that we had to cancel recently. We will meet at the OK in Onrus where transport will be arranged. Bring a picnic basket. RSVP Anton at or sms at 082 550 3347.

(More images to follow later).

Jackal Buzzard
African Darter  (Both images by Charles Naude)










Little Bittern (Image by Carin Malan)




















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