dramatic Vanrhyns Pass abruptly lifts you above the arid plains
of the Knersvlakte into moister vegetation again. Nieuwoudtville
is world famous for its flowers, and the incredible density
and diversity of bulbs produces a spring floral display that
is arguably as spectacular as that of Namaqualand. Flowerwatching
is at its best in the Nieuwoudtville Flower Reserve (3 km
east of town on the Calvinia road) and at Glenlyon Wildflower
Farm (ask for directions in town). Look out for Clapper
Lark (p.116*), Southern
Black Korhaan (p.57*) and Grey-wing Francolin
in these areas. The Nieuwoudtville Falls, signposted 10 km
along the Loeriesfontein road, are also definitely worth a
visit. The scrub in the rocky areas surrounding the falls
holds an interesting selection of birds, among them Layards
Titbabbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Pale-winged Starling
and even, the occasional Protea
Canary (p.57*). Cape
Eagle Owl (p.105*) occur here and in other rocky areas
in the vicinity, but move around and are not easily seen.
Continuing along the main tar road towards Calvinia and, ultimately,
Brandvlei, you will notice the landscape becoming markedly
more arid, until you reach the semidesert of Bushmanland,
north and east of Calvinia. Roadside birds to be on the alert
for beyond Nieuwoudtville are Ludwigs
Bustard (p.105*), Booted Eagle, Black
Harrier (p.57*) and Greater Kestrel. At Calvinia,
check the trees and reeds along the Oorlogskloof River, near
the Shell service station, for Namaqua
Warbler (p.85*) and African Marsh Warbler (summer).
Turn into Hospitaal Street near the big silos and make your
way to the nearby Akkerendam Nature Reserve. This is your
last chance to see Karoo Lark (look on the plains shortly
after you enter the reserve) as, in Bushmanland proper, only
the similar but more localized Red
Lark occurs. Park near the dam and walk along the
broad path that leads into a huge amphitheatre. The hillside
scrub along here holds Layards Titbabbler, Karoo
Prinia, Karoo Robin, Mountain Chat, Cape
Bunting and Black-headed Canary, while Fairy
Penduline Tit (p.81) and White-backed Mousebird
prefer the taller vegetation along the river-course on the
right. This reserve is also an excellent locality for Cinnamon-breasted
Warbler (p.85*), which is best searched for on the
rocky slopes to the left of the broad path. Scan the skies
for Black Eagle, Booted Eagle and Jackal
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4 Crassula Way, Pinelands, 7405, Cape Town, South Africa
Gibbs reports back from Gough
Island! Read the blog!
26/09/09: New Cape
Town Pelagics trip report from trips of 12 and 19 September
Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water proved very successful,
with sunny weather and over 20,000 visitors. Callan's "Birding
Namibia and the Okavango" was the most highly-attended
lecture on the Saturday, with over 240 people. Congratulations
to the winners of the Birding Africa competition and the
African Bird Club raffle that we helped sponsor!
12/08/09: New Cape
Town Pelagics trip reports from August and July 2009.
Shearwater and more!
sub-adult Black Sarrowhawk visits our garden again! Read
on about Raptor Research in the Western Cape.
Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has grown! And its sibling
never had a chance to hatch. See the pictures of the chick,
its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more about the Western
Cape Raptor Research Programme.
27/07/09: To follow modern nomenclature and systematics, we've
adopted the IOC
World Bird List, Version 2.1.
13/07/09: The 8th
African Bird ID Challenge has launched! Win a 50% discount
on a Cape Town Pelagics
trip, a copy of Southern
African Birdfinder, or African
Bird Club membership for 1 year.
6 July 09: Cape
White-eye research in our garden.
2 July 09: Cape
Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has hatched! See the pictures
of the chick, its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more
about the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme.
2 July 09: Campbell
Fleming, a Cape Town scholar, avid birder and photographer,
joined Birding Africa last month as an intern. Click here,
to see what he got up to.
2 July 09: New pelagic
trip reports from the Cape Town Pelagics trips in June
2009. Highlights: Slenderbilled
Prion and Leach's Storm Petrel
30 july 09: Our latest Cape Fynbos and Karoo trip
reports feature Hottentot
Warbler and other fynbos and Karoo endemics...
26 June 09: Tungsten
mining threatens RAMSAR site, South Africa's Verlorenvlei.
Read the Media Release.
22 June 09: Claire
Spottiswoode, one of the Cape Birding Route founders,
was part of the exploratory team at Mount Mabu. The mountain
is part of the newly discovered largest
rainforest in Southern Africa.
11 June 09: A colour-ringed
Black Sparrowhawk visits the Birding Africa office garden.
Read why it's a 10 months old male!
14 June 09:
at the office of The Cape Birding Route, Birding Africa
and Cape Town Pelagics.
31 May 09:
Michel Watelet wins the 7th African Bird Club & Birding Africa
ID Challenge. Test your African birding skills and WIN
Africa Cape town day trip or a copy of the Birdfinder!
30 May 09:
A tragedy unfolds at Kommetjie south of Cape town as 44 beached
Killer Whales were shot. Click here for more details and
14 March 09: Raptor
Watch in Cape Town on 14 March 09