Yesterday morning heralded the start of a new birding region and month, this time in and around Hermanus and the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. For me it started with a bang when I saw an African Goshawk in my garden.
I then joined our walking group for a hike up into Fernkloof to search for the rare Erica banksii. At the Visitors’ Centre I got an Olive Woodpecker, a Lesser Honeyguide and later, in the higher regions close to Galpin’s Hut, four Ground Woodpeckers. Nobody could ask for a better start to a birding month and in total I saw 29 species.
As for the erica, we eventually found it after having climbed 550 metres and walked a total of 10.5 km. The weather was cool and overcast – perfect for walking and we had a turnout of 16 walkers, although only six went on the last section to locate the erica. The mountainside was awash with colour, especially from the many Tritoniopsis lata and Erica tenella blooms.
In addition to the sights on the mountain, we were lucky to see numerous pods of dolphins hunting in the bay. Presumably they were after schools of fish, but we did not see any gannets with them, which was puzzling. We did, however, see a few Bryde’s whales as well.