Outing to Grootbos

Hermanus Bird Club

The HBC was well represented at the Grootbos Outing yesterday, with no less than 28 members present.  We were met at the lodge by our host and guide, Mike Fabricius, who led us on an enchanting trail through the milkwood forest and a very colourful section of fynbos in the area surrounding the “Growing The Future” project.

Birding in the forest was difficult as the birds were hard to see in the dense vegetation, however, we did hear a number of forest species.  What was really fascinating, though, was the wonderful shapes assumed by the milkwood trees and to see how they ‘walk’ by growing branches close to the ground that then re-root and become new trees.  We were also thrilled to see the plentiful fresh leopard tracks and the evidence of their scratching on the tree stems.  Mike did a great job as guide and was able to point…

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Winter Birding – Part 3 – Nossob

We moved from Mata Mata to Nossob, where we spent four nights, once again occupying one of the new riverside cottages.  These are very comfortable and give one an uninterrupted view of the river, however, there were very few wild visitors to our section of it.  Whereas we had previously had wonderful sightings of Lanner Falcons catching Namaqua Doves at the Nossob Camp, these were totally absent during our visit.

There were no cats to be seen in the Nossob river whilst we were there, but we saw many antelope and we were, of course, fascinated by the antics of the Lanner Falcons that appeared to be hunting doves at most of the surrounding waterholes!  I spent many hours trying to capture them with my camera – a very frustrating task, but imagine trying to do it with film!! The Red-headed Finches appeared in huge flocks to drink and they too were troubled by the predating raptors.

Despite it being winter, we saw a number of snakes, the most impressive being a Cape Cobra.  There were also many Bataleurs and we enjoyed their antics at the waterholes.

To the Dams

Our walk this morning took us to the Fernkloof dams.  The weather was lovely and warm with a slight berg wind keeping the temperature up.  The lower dam is quite low but the middle one was full to overflowing!   Sadly the path is in a very poor state so it was not very safe walking beyond the lower dam.

There are not many flowers in bloom, but the proteas are giving their usual Autumn show and we saw some beautiful blooms, not least the Waboom, or Protea nitida.  There were also some wonderful purple Gladiolus maculatus.

More Images from our Birding in Botswana, Zimbabwe and RSA


Stanford Outing

Hermanus Bird Club

Twenty two birders enjoyed a perfect morning at Stanford today.  The weather was glorious and there were plenty of interesting birds to see.  Barbara and Graham presented us with a good walk around the village, which included the path along the river, then via Vlei road to Appel se Dam.  We saw a total of 69 species, including such rarities as the beautiful Hottentot Teal and a Black Harrier.

The full list comprised:    Bar-throated Apalis; Southern Red Bishop; Cape Bulbul; Jackal Buzzard; Cape Canary; Le Vaillant’s Cisticola; Red-Knobbed Coot; Reed Cormorant; White-breasted Cormorant; Black Crake; African Darter; Laughing Dove; Red-eyed Dove; Fork-tailed Drongo; White-backed Duck; White-faced Duck; Yellow-billed Duck; Cattle Egret; Common Fiscal; Greater Flamingo; African Dusky Flycatcher; Fiscal Flycatcher; Egyptian Goose; Spur-winged Goose; African Goshawk; Little Grebe; Sombre Greenbul; Helmeted Guineafowl; Black Harrier; African Harrier-Hawk; Black-headed Heron; Grey Heron; Purple Heron; African Hoopoe; Hadeda Ibis; Sacred Ibis; Giant…

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Bustards Galore

A drive this afternoon along the Swartrivier Road and past Teslaarsdal in search of birds revealed mostly the usual suspects, however, I was amazed to see no fewer than 19 Denham’s Bustards.  I thought there might be a good collective noun for them, but it is just a ‘flock of bustards’.  Never mind, they were still pretty spectacular, but I would gladly have swapped a dozen of them for a Secretarybird!

Denham’s Bustard