I did a few day trips for Birdwatch Cape this past week, one which went to Rooi-els on the East coast of South Africa, in the Kogelberg Biosphere region.
When we arrived, after seeing Cape Sugarbird and Orange-breasted Sunbird, the next bird was Victorin’s Warbler! This was just after 8.30am and it was singing it’s heart out on the top of a dry stick! The rest of the walk produced Cape Rock-jumpers, Cape Siskin, Sentinel Rock-thrush and Ground Woodpecker. The whole gang of specials in the first half hour of our walk.
That does not happen every day!!
Black Eagles were also at their nest above the aloes and I am sure the one was carrying something when it landed on the nest. Rock Kestrels gave them a hard time once they took flight as did the White-necked Ravens. Familiar Chat followed us all down the road, maybe we were disturbing insects? Karoo Prinia and Cape Grassbird were very active in the fynbos, maybe already breeding. Yellow Bishop was still trying to get his breeding dress on for the coming spring, but had some way to go as he was still brownish!
Many Penguins were moulting and others breeding in there little “sponsored” fibreglass burrows. All the 4 Cormorants were there. White-breasted and Bank and Crowned were still breeding, Cape were roosting on the rocks but no Cape Gannets or Skuas were seen out at sea. African Black Oyster-catchers were patrolling the open rocks as were some Sacred Ibis and Little Egrets. Great that the Oyster-catchers have recovered so well since we banned 4X4 vehicles on our beaches!
Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, Betty's Bay, Kogelberg Biosphere:
Speckled Mouse-birds were quite numerous and Sombre Greenbul, Cape Grassbird, Orange-breasted and Southern D-Collared Sunbirds were very active and vocal. Brimstone Canary called from one of the taller shrubs and Cape Siskin did a flypast towards the mountains. Cape Robin and Swee Waxbills were seen hopping around and feeding on the lawns. The resident Dusky Flycatcher hawked insects from his favourite perch in the Protea. The forest walk produced Olive Thrush, Cape Batis and Boubou Shrike and of course the little Cape White-eyes. No Black Duck but there were many visitors as it was Saturday.
On our trip home an adult Jackal Buzzard was seen near Pringle Bay.
Strandfontein Sewerage Works:
Black-shouldered Kite was hunting in the open grassland before the main works, never see him there in summer, maybe because of the Steppe Buzzard that uses the grassland then. Many Black-necked Grebes greeted us as we arrived at the pans but the ducks seemed to be less. We did however see Yellow-billed and Maccoa Duck, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, Cape and Red-billed Teals and the surprise was a pair of Black Duck in one of the channels. Greater Flamingos were feeding in the larger ponds and White Pelicans gave a spectacular flypast in the afternoon light. Black-winged Stilt and a large flock of Pied Avocets used the shallower water as did a few first-year Greenshank.
All in all a great days winter birding.