Sunday, 9 November 2014

A Trip to South Africa - Part 8 The last bit - The Cape West Coast National Park

Today was a full on birding day. Up early and out to meet our guide for the day: Mark Harrington.
Before I go further with what we saw, I have to say that Mark was a brilliant guide, he's knowledge of the the sites we visited was fantastic as well as his bird knowledge. I would thoroughly recommend contacting Mark if you in the Cape Town area, here are his details:

So onto the day after leaving Cape Town we headed north towards the WCNP, we made our first step at a small wetland near Vissershok, we had good sightings of Great White Pelican here, but not close enough for decent photos, then as we tried to get a better view they departed away from us, such is a birders life! There were also Black-headed Heron and Sacred Ibis about as well as a circling Yellow-billed kite. We didn't tarry here too long before we headed passing these  on the way:
Blue Crane:
the arriving at:

This was a delightful meadow full of birds, out first sighting being this:
Levaillant's Cisticola:
Apart from this obliging Cisticola photography was difficult as the birds were skittish and being a meadow there was no way to sneak up on anything for a closer shot. However we did see the following other birds here:
Cloud Cisticola, Blue Crane, White-necked Raven, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, Rock Kestrel, Black-winged Kite, Large Billed Lark, Three-banded Plover, Yellow Canary, White-throated Swallow, African Pipit, Cape Longclaw, Cape Weaver, Southern Red Bishop and Yellow Bishop.

So on to the park first we paid our entrance R40 each (£2.50) and stopped to use the facilities this gave me a couple of photo opportunities:
Angulate Tortoise:
 Cape White-eye:
 Cape Bulbul:

We spent the rest of the day in the park at various locations including a fabulous lunch at the Geelbek Restaurant located within the park. The day was scorching making any distance photography difficult due to the heat haze, especially when we were in the hide down on the shore line.

We totalled 101 species for the day which is by far the best total we have ever managed on any day out, that's what you get when you have a brilliant guide. So anyway here are some of the photo's that I did manage, some are just for the record:
African Spoonbill:
 African Spoonbill & Sacred Ibis:
 Little Grebe:
 White-throated Swallow:
 Cape Shoveler:
 Black Crake:
 Cape Weaver:
 Black-schouldered Kite:
 Grey Heron:
 Karoo Prinia:
 Klaas's Cuckoo:
 Red-faced Mousebird:
 Malachite Sunbird:
 Cardinal Woodpecker:
  Malachite Sunbird:
 Cape Weaver:
 Cape Spurfowl:
 Black-winged Stilt:
 Rock Kestrel:
 Southern Black Korhaan:

 Greater Flamingo, African Oystercatcher, Common Terns, & Sandwich Tern
 Greater & Lesser Flamongo:
 Grey Plover:
 Cape Spurfowl:
 Black Harrier:

 Puff Adder:
Yellow-billed kite:
Cape Bunting:
 Grey-backed Cisticola:
 Kittlitz's Plover:
We of course saw many more, but I won't bore you with a list.
So just some loose ends to tie up, we spent a bit of time around the cape area with a visit to the Kirstenbosch Gardens, for Sugarbirds but they proved elusive we did get this though:
Spotted Eagle Owl:

A trip to Boulders Beach for the African Penguins:

Then finally on a very blustery day we went up Table Mountain, very few birds around, but it did produce our final 'tick' of the holiday:
Orange-breasted Sunbird:

So that's it our trip produced 168 species in total with 140 being new, so not too shabby at all.

So our next trip will be a bit less exotic, but interesting nevertheless, Norfolk in a weeks time.

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