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Rooi-els and Peninsula - Jan 2011

Hi All,

Had 2 clients who needed Cape Rockjumper and Chaffinch for their SA list.

We arrived at Rooi-els at 8.30am with a S/E gale wind blowing at Gordon's Bay. However the wind was NOT blowing along the coastal road at Rooi-els!  What a pleasure!!

We found a lone Cape Rockjumper quite far down the road fairly low down amongst the boulders.  We watched this bird for some time and saw that it moved left into group 3's territory.  This group started scolding from high up amongst the cliffs (as they had not come down yet - doubt if they anymore) which caused the bird to move back to it's own territory.  It was a young male so maybe it was trying a new spot or just teasing the other group!

Orange-breasted Sunbirds and Cape Sugarbirds were feeding frantically on any nectar holding flower that was open.  Neddicky, Grey-backed Cisticola, Familiar Chat and Cape Rockthrush were easily seen.

On to Betty's Bay where we decided to have a short walk to see what was happening to the Victorin's Warblers since the fire.  No songs were heard but one spot had one "chukking" close to our feet. A fleeting glimpse was had as it moved away from us.  A light lunch at the Harold Porter Restaurant followed after which I decided to drive back to Tokai, as my clients had seen all the Cormorants and Penguin, for the Chaffinch.  By this time the wind was also howling in and over the forest so nothing moved or was seen.  Next stop Constantia Nek, but still no luck with the birds or the wind.  A last stab was made at Cecelia Forest where to my surprise a huge portion of the alien pines had been removed. Definitely made raptor viewing easier as we were to soon find out.  A couple of calls drew our attention to the sky and there were 5 buzzard types hanging in the wind.  A lone Booted Eagle made it's appearance but was soon dispatched by the Forest/Steppe/hybrid birds.  No Chaffinches were heard calling but a movement in one of the Pine trees caught my attention and there they were!  A party of 5 birds were quietly feeding off the cones and gradually worked there way down to an acceptable height for good viewing of male and female. By this time it was 5pm and we worked our way happily back to the car. Mission accomplished!

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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