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

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


The Oudekraal road is another excellent option for bird-watchers wanting to savour the birding delights of the Overberg Wheatbelt. The total distance of the road is 23km. It is best to travel along this quite gravel road in the early morning and doing so from east to west. Target species here include the DENHAM'S BUSTARD, BLUE CRANE, LANNER and PEREGRINE FALCONS, BLACK HARRIER, KAROO and SOUTHERN BLACK KORHAANS, AGULHAS LONG-BILLED and CAPE CLAPPER LARKS, AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER and SECRETARYBIRD.

The turn-off to this road (34° 22'15”S 19° 38'54”E) is from the R326 between Stanford and Riviersonderend just south of the intersection with the R316. The description of species abundance is based on findings in SABAP2 (the bird atlas project) report cards throughout the region. The quest to find some of the region's many LBJs starts immediately as all of the region's cisticolas, larks and pipits are available. The LARGE-BILLED and RED-CAPPED LARKS are particularly numerous, but most bird-watchers are usually searching for AGULHAS LONG-BILLED and CAPE CLAPPER LARKS. After a short distance there is a fork in the road at 34° 21'53”S 19° 38'24”E – keep left.
A bridge without a railing is then reached at 34° 21'54”S 19° 38'16'E. Be cautious here and parking off the bridge is advised. There is usually a large body of water to the north of the bridge and extensive reed beds to the south. This makes for a huge species diversity to be found on any given day. The RED-KNOBBED COOT, REED CORMORANT, YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, both geese, LITTLE GREBE and THREE-BANDED PLOVER are usually on offer, with the AFRICAN BLACK DUCK, HAMERKOP, CAPE LONGCLAW and AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER far less common. The BROWN-THROATED and ROCK MARTINS are abundant and expect to find large numbers of martins, swallows and swifts in summer. The BARN, GREATER STRIPED and WHITE-THROATED SWALLOWS are very numerous, but also look for PEARL-BREASTED SWALLOW that can be present in smaller numbers. The ALPINE, LITTLE and WHITE-RUMPED SWIFTS are very common, with AFRICAN BLACK and COMMON SWIFTS less so.
Endemic species that are very common in this general area include the BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE CANARY, CAPE CROW, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, CAPE SPURFOWL, PIED STARLING and CAPE WEAVER. Other species available in abundance are the SOUTHERN RED BISHOP, YELLOW CANARY, BLACK-HEADED HERON, AFRICAN STONECHAT, CAPPED WHEATEAR and PIN-TAILED WHYDAH. The BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE is found regularly, as are the STEPPE BUZZARD and YELLOW-BILLED KITE in summer. The BLACK HARRIER is recorded fairly often and this road represents an ideal area to look for this sought-after endemic and threatened species.
The KLIPDRIFT FARM at 34° 22'00”S 19° 37'42”E is also worth a visit. It is situated on the banks of the Klein River and a recent visit there produced a variety of garden birds such as the YELLOW BISHOP, BRIMSTONE CANARY, NAMAQUA DOVE, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT, COMMON WAXBILL and CAPE WHITE-EYE. This is an ideal stop-over point for bird-watchers. Ensure that ample time is spent at the large dam at JACOBSDAL (34° 20'36"S 19° 33'37”E) where vast numbers of waterfowl are often present. The common waterbirds occur in large numbers and look for the AFRICAN DARTER, GREY and PURPLE HERONS and GIANT, MALACHITE and PIED KINGFISHERS. Ducks recorded regularly are the MACCOA DUCK, SOUTHERN POCHARD, SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK, CAPE SHOVELER, and CAPE and RED-BILLED TEALS. The calls of the LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER, LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER and AFRICAN REED-WARBLER (summer) can be heard from the reed beds and BLACK CRAKE can often be seen darting in and out of visability. The AFRICAN SNIPE is often seen in the short, damp grassy vegetation along the water's edge and in summer listen for the distinctive call of COMMON QUAIL in the same area. It is believed that there is a resident pair of SECRETARYBIRD in this general area as these birds are seen often.

Typical Oudekraal scene in spring (Anton Odendal)
Cape Spurfowl  (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

Bridge over the Kleinrivier (Anton Odendal)

 

African Pipit  (Carin Malan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The turn-off to the village of TESSELAARSDAL is reached at 34° 20'06”S 19° 32'23”E. A visit to this historical enclave is recommended as the hilly and rocky landscape brings another suite of birds into play. Look for endemic species such as the ACACIA PIED BARBET, CAPE BUNTING, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE ROCK-THRUSH and GROUND WOODPECKER. Also expect to find endemics associated with fynbos habitats such as the CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD. Birds of prey that are recorded fairly commonly include the JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED EAGLE and ROCK KESTREL. The possibility of finding the MARTIAL and VERREAUX'S EAGLES and BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE-EAGLE is remote, even though these species have been recorded here.

A long, single-lane bridge within a plantation of bluegum trees is reached at 34° 20'00”S 19° 31'55”E. The thickets along here host the FORK-TAILED DRONGO, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, CARDINAL and OLIVE WOODPECKERS, AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON and KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN. In summer look for the EUROPEAN BEE-EATER, SPOTTED FLYCATCHER and AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER, as well as all the cuckoos that occur in the area. Birds of prey to look out for include the FOREST BUZZARD, AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK and BLACK and RUFOUS-CHESTED SPARROWHAWKS. The dam at the SAB barley farm (34° 18'50”S 19° 30'51"E) is also worth inspecting, although spotting scopes are needed at this site. Large numbers of waterbirds are often present with roughly the same species composition as the dam at Jacobsdal described above.
The Oudekraal road ends at a T-junction (34° 16'08.06”S 19° 26'15.83”E) just outside Caledon. The brief description of species to look for along this road speaks for itself. Discerning bird-watchers wanting to investigate the birding treasures of the Overberg Wheatbelt in relatively close proximity of Cape Town should seriously consider travelling along here.


(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).

Arum Lily  (Anton Odendal)
Cape Longclaw  (Carin Malan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pied Kingfishers  (Carin Malan)
Maccoa Duck  (Carin Malan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 3: THE PAPIESVLEI AREA Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details