Birding Routes

THEEWATERSKLOOF BIRDING - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details

THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL BIRD SPECIES OF THE THEEWATERSKLOOF REGION Show details

BIRDING IN THE OVERBERG WHEATBELT IMPORTANT BIRD AND BIODIVERSITY AREA - INTRODUCTORY OVERVIEW Show details

THE SIR LOWRYS PASS SITE Show details

THE KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE Show details

THE HIGHLANDS AND VALLEY ROADS LOOPS Show details

THE ELGIN/ GRABOUW COUNTRY CLUB & EIKENHOF DAM Show details

HOTTENTOTS HOLLAND NATURE RESERVE Show details

VILLIERSDORP Show details

THE THEEWATERSKLOOF DAM Show details

BOTRIVER VILLAGE AND VAN DER STEL PASS Show details

THE KARWYDERSKRAAL AND SWARTRIVIER ROADS Show details

CALEDON VILLAGE Show details

THE CALEDON WILD FLOWER GARDEN Show details

THE OUDEKRAAL ROAD AND TESSELAARSDAL Show details

THE R326 BETWEEN STANFORD AND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

THE R406 TO GREYTON Show details

GREYTON VILLAGE AND NATURE RESERVE Show details

THE R406 BETWEEN GREYTON AND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details


(NB! This section is still under production and will be completed by middle January 2016. - Ed.)

 

The R406 between Greyton and Riviersonderend serves as another excellent example of Overberg bird-watching at its best and deserves attention from discerning birders. This gravel road is mostly in a good condition and can be travelled safely and at leisure. Exit the village of Greyton at the bridge over the ….................. River at 34° 02'29.40"S 19° 37'08.56"E. Many endemic and near endemic species are to be found along this road and it offers possible sightings of the special birds associated with the Overberg Wheatbelt Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. It further gives access to a wide selection of water birds, birds of prey and sometimes even species usually found in forests.

Greyton farm 1
Greyton farm 2  (Images by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Endemic species associated with fynbos habitats that are fairly common are CAPE SISKIN and CAPE SUGARBIRD, with ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER less so. The latter species has very specific habitat requirements and knowledge of this and its call is needed to locate this dificult to find bird. Other endemics and near endemic species that are very common along the R406 include CAPE CANARY, CAPE BULBUL, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SPURFOWL, SWEE WAXBILL and CAPE WHITE-EYE. Rocky outcrops and mountainous areas may produce CAPE BUNTING, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN and CAPE ROCK-THRUSH, the latter to a lesser degree. Some records of NAMAQUA SANDGROUSE have also been noted.

The target species along the the wheatfields and open habitat are BLUE CRANE and DENHAM'S BUSTARD that are located often, while finding AGULHAS LONG-BILLED LARK, CAPE CLAPPER LARK and KAROO KORHAAN neccesitates keen observation and hard concentration. Species that are present in abundance in this habitat type include SOUTHERN RED and YELLOW BISHOPS, CAPE CROW, AFRICAN PIPIT, KAROO PRINIA, STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER and AFRICAN STONECHAT. Other common species are BRIMSTONE CANARY, BLACK-HEADED HERON, LARGE-BILLED AND RED-CAPPED LARKS, NEDDICKY, PIED STARLING and ALPINE SWIFT. GREY-BACKED and ZITTING CISTICOLAS, NAMAQUA DOVE, CATTLE EGRET, CROWNED LAPWING, CAPE LONGCLAW, LONG-BILLED and PLAIN-BACKED PIPITS and LITTLE SWIFT are present in smaller numbers. Only a few records of CLOUD CISTICOLA, WATTLED STARLING and BLACK STORK have been noted.

Blue Crane  (Image by CA)
African Stonechat  (Image by CM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



There are a few remnant patches of indigenous forest near the R406, but unfortunately these areas can only be accessed through privately owned working farms that are almost impossible to enter. The SABAP2 atlas statistics indicates that the following very exciting species not usually expected in this region are present in small numbers: FOREST CANARY, BLUE-MANTLED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER, BLACK and GREY CUCKOO-SHRIKE, LEMON and TAMBOURINE DOVES, BROWN-BACKED HONEYBIRD, LESSER HONEYGUIDES, GREATER HONEYGUIDE and AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON. The hope is expressed that access to these potentially brilliant birding spots would become possible in future. Well wooded areas and thickets along the R406 should however be inspected as species such as BAR-THROATED APALIS, ACACIA PIED BARBET, CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, SOMBRE GREENBUL and KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN. AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER is present in good numbers during summer.

Other common species, often described as “trash birds” by twitchers, along here are BOKMAKIERIE, ROCK MARTIN, SOUTHERN MASKED-WEAVER, STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER, CAPE and SOUTHERN GREY-HEADED SPARROWS, GREATER DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, CAPE WEAVER and CAPPED WHEATEAR.

Capped Wheatear  (Image by JW)
White-rumped Swift  (Image by CM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water courses and dams often produce exciting species. LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, RED-KNOBBED COOT, YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, EGYPTIAN and SPURWINGED GEESE and RED-BILLED TEAL are abundant. Other common species include REED CORMORANT, AFRICAN DARTER, LITTLE GREBE, BLACKSMITH LAPWING, COMMON MOORHEN, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER and LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER. Ducks that are reported far less frequently include AFRICAN BLACK DUCK, WHITE-BACKED and WHITE-FACED DUCKS, CAPE SHOVELER and SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK. Also look out for BURCHELL'S COUCAL, BLACK CRAKE, YELLOW-BILLED EGRET, the common herons and kingfishers of the region, GLOSSY IBIS, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and AFRICAN SNIPE, all of which are seen occationally.

As far as birds of prey are concerned FOREST and JACKAL BUZZARDS, SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL, ROCK KESTREL, BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE and BARN OWL are fairly common. Only irregular records of other raptors have been noted. For the record eagles can include BOOTED, MARTIAL and VERREAUX'S EAGLES and AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE. Accipiters found are AFRICAN GOSHAWK, GABAR GOSHAWK (rare), AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS. Also look out for specials such as BLACK HARRIER, AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER, LANNER and PEREGRINE FALCONS and SECRETARYBIRD. In summer expect to find good numbers of STEPPE BUZZARD, LESSER KESTREL and YELLOW-BILLED KITE. As far as other summer migrants are concerned note should be taken of sightings of EUROPEAN BEE-EATER, RED-CHESTED CUCKOO, SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN and BLACK SAWWING.

NOW DISCUSS AND ILLUSTRATE SPECIFIC GREAT SPOTS ALONG THIS ROAD.

VAGRANTS LARK-LIKE BUNTING, BLACK-HEADED CANARY, BLACK CUCKOO, EURASIAN HOBBY, SAND MARTIN, AFRICAN OPENBILL, RED-BILLED QUELEA, EUROPEAN ROLLER, MARABOU STORK

(Note that there are links to more information, trip reports and the like below the photographs that may be used to further plan a visit to the area).

African Purple Swamphen  (Image by AO)
Black-crowned Night-Heron  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African Harrier-Hawk  (Image by CM)
Immature Black Harrier  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

BIRDING IN AND AROUND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details