the plains to the southeast of Swellendam, along the Breede
River, lies the Bontebok National Park. The signposted turn-off
is on the N2 just east of the town, and the park entrance is
a further 3 km along this untarred road. Quail Finch,
a scarce bird in the Cape, occurs in moist depressions between
the N2 and the park gate, especially opposite the Swellengrebel
airstrip, 3.4 km south of the N2. A small number of Eastern
Red-footed Kestrels, a very scarce bird in the Cape, have
regularly been observed in this vicinity in summer. Much of
the park consists of low, fynbos-clad plains, enlivened by grazing
Bontebok (Damaliscus dorcas dorcas: an antelope which
once came precariously close to extinction but which is now
flourishing), Grey Rhebok (Pelea capreolus) and Cape
Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra). Driving the few kilometres
across the plains to the rest camp along the Breede River at
the parks southern boundary, you might be disappointed
by the apparent paucity of birds. It is well worth scanning
the plains, however, for Secretarybird and Southern
Black Korhaan (p.57*). Look for the occasional distant
white dot which is likely to be a displaying male Stanleys
Bustard (p.72*). An early start and a thorough search
through the roadside scrub between the park entrance and the
rest camp should produce Clapper
Lark (p.116*) and Grey-wing Francolin, the latter
feeding nervously at the road edges. This is also one of the
better areas in the Overberg for Martial Eagle and Black
is excellent birding close to the rest camp, which offers
both camping facilities and caravans for hire. A short trail
starts behind the information centre and winds westwards through
acacia thicket. Another begins at the bottom of the campsite,
on the riverbank, and leads to an aloe-clad hillside bedecked
with sunbirds in the winter flowering season. Olive Bush
Shrike may occasionally be seen along the former trail.
Other notable species (in Cape terms) are Klaass
Cuckoo, Cardinal Woodpecker, Lesser Honeyguide,
Southern Tchagra, Grey-headed Sparrow and Streaky-headed
Canary. Pearl-breasted Swallow nest annually in
the camp buildings and are easily seen during summer; other
common birds of the campsite area are Cape Bulbul,
Bar-throated Apalis, Fiscal Flycatcher, Southern
Boubou, Malachite Sunbird and, feeding on the lawn edges,
flocks of Swee Waxbill. You are bound to hear Fiery-necked
Nightjar calling in the campsite at night, and are likely
to see such river-loving species as African Black Duck
and Giant Kingfisher along the Breede.
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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