The Macnaughts’ account of their recent trip prompted us to send a brief account of ours to Addo last month. Hope it may be of interest.
Tony & Heather
Our first stop was at Ebb-and-Flow in Wilderness – a place much visited by Hermanus Bird Club over the years. Our log cabin overlooked the river and we didn’t have to leave our deck to see a lot of birds: seven spectacular Knysna Turacos flew into the tree opposite to be followed by a Brown-hooded Kingfisher who stayed there awhile. A beautiful Purple Heron stalked in the reeds – we had never been aware before of the intricate pattern and colours on the head and neck and the purple on its body. Usually when we have seen them they have been in flight and just look brown. Black-headed Orioles called and Saw-wings flew by us, and an African Hoopoe pecked around in the grass.
Prince Albert was not great for birds but we were interested to see that the Red Bishops were still in breeding plumage in February, whereas in Fisherhaven they had reverted to their non-breeding plumage many weeks before.
Graaf Reinet produced Masked Weavers and not a lot of other birds, but a lovely town to visit.
We had never been fortunate to see many birds in Addo: maybe the elephants got in the way or – more likely – we didn’t get up early enough. However, this time we were rewarded with close-up views of a pair of Secretarybirds and also a pair of Denham’s Bustards. In the dark one night a pair of nightjars flew up from the road (presumably fiery-necked) and, some creatures we had never seen before – two spring hares leaped about like little kangaroos.
Then back to Wilderness where we stayed in Kingfisher Country House which is well-known to birders. The owners feed the birds as well as their guests and while we had our breakfast, turacos came down to the feeders almost within arms-length of us. They were joined by Chorister Robin-Chats, Fork-tailed Drongos, Forest Canaries Common and Swee Waxbills,and Cape Whiteeyes. Very difficult to concentrate on breakfast, but a delight to see these birds at such close range.
The House is near the lakes and it was easy to drive along to the hides. A Painted Snipe had been reported on Rondevlei but it must have gone back into the reeds by the time we got there. However, we enjoyed Glossy Ibis, Purple Swamphen, Black-winged Stilts and flamingos.
Finally back to Fisherhaven where the sunbirds were waiting for us.