Birding Routes

INTRODUCTION TO BIRDING ALONG THE CAPE WHALE COAST Show details

ENDEMIC BIRD SPECIES OF THE CAPE WHALE COAST REGION Show details

PELAGIC ENCOUNTERS FROM KLEINBAAI IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE DYER ISLAND CONSERVATION TRUST Show details

THE ROOIELS SITE - IN SEARCH OF THE CAPE ROCK-JUMPER Show details

AFRICAN PENGUINS AND CORMORANTS AT STONY POINT Show details

THE HAROLD PORTER NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS Show details

BIRDING AT THE KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE AND KLEINMOND Show details

BIRDING AT ROOISAND ALONG THE BOT RIVER ESTUARY Show details

BIRDING AT FISHERHAVEN & THE HAWSTON SEWAGE WORKS Show details

THE VERMONT SALT PAN Show details


HERMANUS is internationally renowned for its land-based whale watching between July and November and is a holiday and eco-tourism destination of note. Bird-watching here is outstanding and only a few spots are highlighted. THE VERMONT SALT PAN is reached by turning off the R43 into Vermont Avenue at the OK Shopping Centre. Continue down this road and turn right into Rock Hopper Lane (second road to the right) from where a parking area is reached at 34˚ 24’36.59”S 19˚ 09’43.52”E. A picnic bench is available here and a paved trail takes one along the eastern and southern sections of the pan.

At the Vermont salt pan
Greater Flamingos (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great diversity of birds associated with water habitats is available and in spring and early summer it is often possible to see up to fourty species around the pan during an hour’s visit. The pan's water level tends to drop considerably towards the end of summer. Expect to find species such as the PIED AVOCET, GREATER FLAMINGO, BLACK-WINGED STILT, CAPE SHOVELER, and CAPE and RED-BILLED TEALS seasonally. The YELLOW-BILLED DUCK is usually abundant. In recent years good numbers of the MACCOA DUCK and BLACK-NECKED GREBE have been recorded. Large numbers of the WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANT, KELP GULL and BLACK-HEADED and GREY HERONS breed here. Look carefully for the nocturnal BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON in the reed beds as good numbers of breeding birds are often present. The BLACKSMITH LAPWING is common and KITTLITZ'S and THREE-BANDED PLOVERS are present when conditions are favourable. The RED-KNOBBED COOT, LITTLE GREBE and COMMON MOORHEN are numerous and the BLACK CRAKE and AFRICAN PURPLE SWAMPHEN can often be seen moving around at the base of the reeds. The calls of the more secretive LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER and LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER can also be heard from the reeds. Less common and vagrant species recorded here recently include the BAILLON'S CRAKE, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, HOTTENTOT TEAL and SEDGE WARBLER. 

Cape Shoveler (Anton Odendal)
Cape Teal (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General birding in the reed beds and other vegetation around the pan should also not be underestimated. Abundant endemic species are the CAPE BULBUL, CAPE CANARY, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE WEAVER and CAPE WHITE-EYE. Other common species include the BRIMSTONE CANARY, GREY-BACKED and LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLAS, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT and OLIVE THRUSH. The COMMON WAXBILL and PIN-TAILED WHYDAH are particularly active during breeding season. Larger species of note are the HELMETED GUINEAFOWL, CAPE SPURFOWL and SPOTTED THICK-KNEE. There is a large stand of Milkwood trees on the eastern side of the pan and this hosts species such as the BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, SOMBRE GREENBUL and SOUTHERN TCHAGRA, with the AFRICAN PARADISE FLYCATCHER being very active in summer.

Blacksmith Lapwings (Charles Naude)
Red-knobbed Coot (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The eucalyptus trees to the north-west of the pan should also be investigated as there are breeding records of the AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK, BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS here. These species can often be seen flying over the water. The majority of swallows, swifts and martins to be found in the region are also present in summer months. A visit to the Vermont Salt Pan is recommended strongly as the quality and quantity of birds in such a small area is outstanding.

Further to this there are extensive green belts in the suburb of VERMONT itself and birding here can be exceptional. Expect to find species similar to those described under the Onrus Caravan Park elsewhere in this web page. A slow drive through Vermont is always worth the effort. Also note that there are three parking areas with magnificent ocean views available in Vermont. These are at the end of Bitou Street, (34° 25'16.87”S 19° 09'17.09”E), the Jan Rabie Tidal Pool along Marine Drive (34° 25' 06.68”S 19° 09'46.07”E) and at Davies' Pool also along Marine Drive at the western end of the Onrus Caravan Park. (34° 25' 00.33”S 19 ° 09'59.20”E)

The Vermont, Onrus, Sandbaai (VOS) coastal path is also available for more active bird-watchers wanting to hike through relatively unspoilt coastal Fynbos. The ocean views are breath-taking and species available are similar to those found in the descriptions of the Hermanus Cliff Path and VOS coastal path elsewhere on this web page. 

(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).

Karoo Prinia (Charles Naude)
Vagrant Sedge Warbler (Charles Naude)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Spurfowl family at the salt pan (Anton Odendal)
Greater Flamingos at the salt pan (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIRDING AT ONRUS AND HARDERBAAI Show details

BIRDING ALONG THE HEMEL & AARDE VALLEY AND ROTARY WAY SCENIC DRIVE Show details

BIRDING ALONG THE HERMANUS CLIFF PATHS AND THE KLEIN RIVER ESTUARY Show details

THE FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE AT HERMANUS Show details

BIRDING IN AND AROUND STANFORD Show details

FROM STANFORD TO THE UILENKRAALS ESTUARY AND BEYOND Show details

THE DANGER POINT PENINSULA Show details

DYER ISLAND AND SURROUNDS Show details

THE UILENKRAALS VALLEY TO BAARDSKEERDERSBOS AND BEYOND Show details

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

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 1: KARWYDERSKRAAL AND SWART RIVER ROADS Show details

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 2: THE OUDEKRAAL ROAD Show details

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 3: THE PAPIESVLEI AREA Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details