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Half day Habitat trip route - February 2012

First port of call was Kirstenbosch and before we had even left the car park a male African Goshawk clicked from the dead tree for all to see, what a start!  The other good bird seen chirping near the entrance gate was Cape Siskin. Very unusual to be this low down in the gardens.

They were feeding on the daisy type flowers which were normally used by CapeCanaries which were calling from the top of the Oak trees.  Karoo Prinia greeted us near the aloes where it was scolding a Southern Boubou. Outside the forest the Swee Waxbills were feeding on grass seeds and inside the forest Cape Batis was flitting around the lower canopy whilst African Olive Pigeons were feeding on fruit high in the canopy.

In the Ericas many sunbirds were flitting about, in fact the Orange breasted Sunbirds were extremely tame and ignored us and giving great photographic opportunities. Lemon Dove was still on its nest…. wonder when the Grey Squirrels will find it and destroy the eggs. Forest Canaries feeding on wild peach seeds which had fallen on the ground.  I have never seen them that tame!

The Spotted Eagle Owls were roosting in the favourite place.  A group of Black Saw-winged Swallows were skimming over the taller trees and one wonders when they are leaving for the north.  It took some time before we were able to see the whole of the Sombre Greenbul as it was being it’s skulking self as usual.  As it warmed up the Cape Sugarbirds appeared on top of the large Protea stands.  Pretty soon they will be in their prime as their breeding season approaches.   Many African Dusky Flycatchers had bred well and many were popping down to the lawns to snap up some food.

Forest and Steppe Buzzards soared high over the canopy.  The lawns had Hadeda Ibis, Helmeted Guinea Fowl and Cape Francolin probing and pecking in-between the tufts.

Next stop was Milnerton Lagoon where the Terns were gathering after their morning feed at sea. Swift, Sandwich and Common Terns made up the group.

Table view pans had Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Yellow-billed Duck and CapeShoveller with a majestic Purple Swamphen glistening in the afternoon sun.  Little Egret and Glossy Ibis dabbled along the edge of the pan.  In the furthest corner of the pan a pair ofWhite-backed Duck was spotted, the bird that we wanted to see.  Great Crested Grebe and Dabchick filled the gaps for the grebes.  

In the reed bed a Grey Heron was roosting near aReed Cormorant and White-breasted CormorantBlack-smith Lapwings were found on the beach lawns.  A walk down a fresh water waterhole produced White-throated Swallow,Cape Robin-chat, White-backed Mousebird, Cape Sparrow and Cape White.  A loneRock Kestrel hovered into the wind looking for the meal of the day.   

A short day but it produced 64 species.

Brian Vanderwalt

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I have been an avid birder in the Western and Northern Cape for over 45 years. Since 1999, I have guided Day trips and Overnight Tours (5 days or longer), as well as organised Birding weekends and Bird Ringing (Banding) outings. Read more...

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