Monday, 27 September 2010

Farewell Africa

Very little seen during the morning whilst sorting the car out at the Sunbird Mountain Retreat, but 1 African Paradise Flycatcher and an African Dusky Flycatcher seen a couple of times.

A very brief stop at the Zandvei Estuary on the way to the airport showed several Avocet and a few Greater Flamingos of any note.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A walk in the garden

A pleasant stroll around Kirstenbosch Gardens before the rain started produced many Sunbirds with Orange-breasted, Lesser Double-collared and Malachite seen.

Orange-breasted Sunbird

Southern Double-collared Sunbird

Malachite Sunbird

Several Cape Sugarbirds present and also gave superb close views.
Cape Sugarbird

Several Cape Canaries and a few Olive Thrushes also present with Black Sparrowhawk and Black Saw-wing overhead.

Cape Canary
Olive Thrush
1 Spotted Eagle Owl located roosting and watched at close range seemingly unbothered by the many tourists trying to photograph it.
Spotted Eagle Owl

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Thank Betty...

Many Jackass Penguins in the colony at Betty's Bay in the afternoon showing at very close range and also several Bank, Cape, White-breasted and Crested Cormorants on the rocks.

Jackass Penguin

Leaving De Hoop

A short wander round the rondevals in De Hoop first thing produced much the same as yesterday with the Spotted Eagle Owl again located roosting on the cliff face and a pair of Water Thick-knees by the boathouse and the comical Rock Dassies on the cliff edges.

Rock Dassie

Many hirundines around the campsite area including African Black, Horus and Little Swift and Pearl-breasted and Greater Striped Swallows showing well.

African Black Swift

Little Swift

Pearl-breasted Swallow

Greater Striped Swallow (photographed out of a toilet window!)

1+ African Pipit and several Red and Yellow Bishops and Blue Crane along the road to Bredasdorp and 3 Jackal Buzzards further on.

Friday, 24 September 2010

De Hoop - Paradise refound

An amazing day spent around De Hoop, with much the same as yesterday around the campsite first thing plus Bar-throated Apalis, Sombre Greenbul, Speckled Mousebird and a pair of Spotted Thick-knees.

Spotted Thick-knee

Bar-throated Apalis

Cape Bulbul

Cape Robin-chat

Cape Wagtail

Many waterfowl present on the Viel during the day including Yellow-billed Duck and Red-billed Teal, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, Moccoa Duck and 3 Hottentot Teal. Also many Black-winged Stilts and Red-knobbed Coots, 5 Whiskered Terns, Night Heron and 3 African Darters here a pair of African Fish Eagles gave superb views low overhead.

African Fish Eagle
Southern Pochard
3 Denham’s Bustards present on the grassy flats with the Bontebok late morning but fairly distant.

Denham's Bustard
1 Knysna Woodpecker showed well in the bushes by the shower block at midday along with 3 Southern Boubous, a Fiscal Flycatcher and a Southern Tchagra.

Southern Boubou
Fiscal Flycatcher
Nearby, a Cardinal Woodpecker present in the restaurant garden along with several confiding Cape Francolins and an Ostrich which was obsessed by the quad bikes. 1 Spotted Eagle Owl present roosting on the cliffs but largely obscured.

Cardinal Woodpecker
Cape Francolin

2 Cape Clapper Larks displaying by the track to the dunes and also 4 Cape Mountain Zebras and many Bontebok and Elands here and later Yellow Canary, Bar-throated Apalis, Cape White-eye, Speckled Mousebird and a Levaillant’s Cisticola by the road.

Yellow Canary
Cape White-eye

Speckled Mousebird

Offshore 10+ Southern Right Whales present fairly close in with one youngster breaching a few times.

Southern Right Whales

Southern Right Whale calf breaching

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Back to paradise

Much the same as yesterday morning around the beach and pool in Lambert's Bay plus 3 Three-banded Plovers, a pair of Cape Shovelers and 3 Pied Kingfishers here today.

Pied Kingfisher

Several Haviside’s Dolphins offshore but not being acrobatic today in the calmer sea.

Few birds seen on the drive to De Hoop with both Red and Yellow Bishops, several Yellow-billed Kites, Blue Cranes, Spur-winged Geese, Greater Striped Swallows and a probable Verraux’s Eagle of note.

1+ Agulhas Long-billed Larks, Yellow Bishop, Fiscal Flycatcher, Hadeda Ibis and several Blue Cranes along the road into De Hoop park mid afternoon.

Agulhas Long-billed Lark
A short walk around the campsite showed several Horus Swifts, Karoo Prinia, Capped Wheatear and an African Hoopoe.

Horus Swift

Capped Wheatear

African Hoopoe

6+ Southern Right Whales present off the beach early evening but very inactive and also many Bontebok, Eland and 3 Cape Mountain Zebras seen.


Cape Mountain Zebra

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Several Greater Flamingoes, 2 Cape Teal and a family of South African Shelducks on a pool behind the beach at Lambert's Bay in the morning, and nearby several Haviside’s Dolphins jumping offshore but fairly distant and 2 White-fronted Plovers and several Hartlaub’s Gulls on the beach and more unusually a Pied Kingfisher feeding in rock pools.

White-fronted Plover

South African Shelduck

Several hundred Cape Gannets present on Bird Island giving superb close views along with many Crowned Cormorants and a few White-breasted and Cape Cormorants.

Cape Gannet
Cape Gannet colony
Cape Cormorant

2+ Jackass Penguins seen briefly here along with several Swift Terns, a Pearl-breasted Swallow and many Hartlaub's and Kelp Gulls.

Hartlaub's Gull
Kelp Gull

An hour-long boat trip into the bay produced amazing views of 12+ Haviside’s Dolphins which came to play around the boat almost continuously but were frustratingly difficult to photograph being so fast moving. Also many Cape Fur Seals around the rocks.

Haviside's Dolphin

Cape Fur Seal

Another drive towards Eland Bay produced much the same as yesterday but also Common Waxbill, Hadeda and Sacred Ibises, Yellow Canary, Lesser Double-collared and Malachite Sunbird, male Pin-tailed Whydah, 3+ European Bee-eaters and a lone Blue Crane.
Blue Crane
Several whales blowing distantly offshore but not seen to be able to identify them confidently, and later on 1+ Southern Right Whale blowing and lob-tailing seen from the hotel balcony late afternoon.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

On the road again

Few birds seen on a quick look round the Quivertree Restcamp first thing, with Dusky Sunbird, Mountain Wheatear, Rock Martin and Cape Sparrow again present.

Rock Martin

The Cheetahs seen patrolling around the edge of their vast enclosure as we left.


Nearby, a Red-faced Mousebird just outside Keetmanshoop briefly.

1 Goliath Heron and 2 African Black Ducks on the Orange River at midday on a very short stop before we crossed back into South Africa.

Very little seen on the long drive south between here and Lambert’s Bay, with Damara Canary, Ludwig’s Bustard and several Greater Striped Swallows by the road of note. A short drive along the track towards Eland Bay late afternoon was very productive with several Cape Francolin, Karoo Scrub-Robins, Bokmakieries, a Cape Bunting and a family of Stonechats around the scrub.

Cape Bunting


Karoo Scrub-robin

Also many Cape Gannets and cormorant spp. offshore.