We spent four days at the park outside Swellendam, two of them on our own and two with the Hermanus Bird Club. It was a successful birding adventure and the club recorded 120 species from 23 members who attended, whilst Renee and I got 121. Whereas the club total represented only Bontebok Park sightings, we had three birds from outside the park – and they were good ones – a pair of Crowned Eagles soaring over the entrance to Grootvadersbos, a Black Sparrow Hawk and a Hamerkop.
Within the park we were thrilled to hear a Buff-Spotted Flufftail. It lured us with its haunting call for two nights without stopping for more than five minutes at a time! We obviously never saw it, as they are such secretive birds and it was somewhere in the dense riverine bush and quite inaccessible! Other specials were the ubiquitous Black Harriers, an Osprey, Jacobin Cuckoo, Knysna Woodpeckers and displaying Denham’s Bustards, as well as a good selection of Larks, with the Cape Clapper Lark the most recognisable, as it delivered flawless aerobatic displays.
We climbed to the waterfall at the Marloth Reserve – an excellent walk through a natural forest, but very steep towards the end where we encountered the waterfall and a beautiful rock pool. We did not see one bird in the forest!
We had also planned to walk in Grootvadersbos Reserve, but were very disappointed to find it closed, as the road was being repaired. We wanted to see Narina Trogon and some of the rarer Flycatchers that occupy this special habitat (and I, of course, wanted to find some epiphytic Orchids).