The Birds Are Back

May 12, 2010

It’s September and its great seeing all the migratory birds coming back in patches over the last few weeks.

Early morning and afternoon, when you look up during a game drive, the Greater Striped, White Throated Swallows and the Black Sawings are all doing their aerial acrobats. I’m expecting the Steppe Buzzards back soon to once again make it difficult to identify them from the Forest Buzzard.

With Gondwana being so new, it is always fun going out knowing that you can pick up a few species not yet seen on the reserve. Something special on the reserve is that we have so many endemic species; it is worth coming just for them.

Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Black Harrier you will see on every game drive. Mentioning the Black Harrier, its always fun watching them hunting by soaring very low over the Fynbos searching for anything moving.

A while back I saw one catching a male Cape Sugarbird by just plucking him off a Bearded Protea. After that I had a Jackal Buzzard catching a Common Slug-eater in front of my vehicle in the road. The other day I sat for half an hour watching this Black Headed Heron catching and then trying to swallow a huge Common (African) Molerat. It took him seven minutes.

The diversity of vegetation makes the bird watching so enjoyable on Gondwana, whether it be sitting on the grasslands identifying very difficult ‘LBJ’s or watching Secretary Birds and Black Headed Heron hunting anything that is small enough to swallow, or just stopping by a dam in a Fynbos valley and watching so many different species coming for a drink or bath. Cape Sisken, Common Waxbill, Bar Throated Apalis, Cape Grassbird and many more species of Sunbirds are always out and about.

Overall you can get a very good birding experience on the Southern Cape birds and bird watching scene plus all the endemics you can find nowhere else in the world. By the way, I still need some help on the Victorins Warbler, Olive Bush Shrike and the Lesser Honeyguide. Any takers?

Please note Albert has just initiated and completed Gondwana’s first bird hide at a beautiful and lively waterhole on the reserve. Come and enjoy for yourself!