Kommetjie is a small seaside village on a rocky promontory on
the west coast of the Peninsula, much favoured by beach-walkers,
horse-riders, anglers, surfers, and the few hardy swimmers who
brave its usually icy Atlantic waters. To the north lies the
pure white 4-km expanse of Noordhoek beach, also known as Long
Beach (a great walk for those in a contemplative mood), and
to the south a picturesque mountainside road leading around
Slangkop peak to Scarborough and the Cape of Good Hope reserve.
For birders, Kommetjie provides convenient access to a number
of endemic or localized coastal species, notably Bank Cormorant
and Antarctic Tern (winter).
Kommetjie from the east on the M65, turn right down Van Imhoff
Road (at the sharp bend opposite the hotel). Continue to a
prominent parking area on the left, where a path leads onto
the rocky promontory. Stone Age people built rough rock fish-dams
here; today, this jumble of lichen-splattered boulders provides
a safe roost for a good number of terns, gulls and cormorants.
The bird for which Kommetjie is best known is the distinctively
stocky, subtly coloured Antarctic Tern, which can reliably
be found here in small numbers from April to October. By early
spring, shortly before undertaking their return flight across
the southern oceans, the birds have often already attained
their superb white, grey and deep red breeding dress.
tern roost also includes Swift and Sandwich Terns
all year round; Common Terns dominate during the summer.
A handful of the threatened Bank Cormorant can usually
be found on the rocks throughout the year, alongside much
more common Cape, Crowned and White-breasted
Cormorants. An assortment of waders is usually found pottering
among the technicolour rock pools, including the resident
White-fronted Plover and African Black Oystercatcher,
as well as migrant Ringed Plover, Turnstone,
Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel. Kommetjie is also
a well-known sea-watching vantage point during the winter
a largish lake nearby, was once home to several localized
waterbird species including White-backed and Maccoa
Ducks, and is easily accessible from the Imhoffs
Gift housing development (take the signposted road north from
the M65, a few kilometres east of Kommetjie). Great Crested
Grebe and Yellow-billed Egret still occur here.
In recent years, however, the lake has suffered heavily from
blooms of toxic blue-green algae, resulting in a dramatic
drop in bird numbers. Nonetheless, it is always worth stopping
for a quick scan.
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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