A three night outing to the Gifberg Holiday Farm gave 19 keen birders an opportunity to see a good selection of birds and enjoy a beautiful part of the Western Cape. Arriving on Monday afternoon, we ventured out for a hike up the Gifberg river, unaware that the trail was soon to become quite rugged. John managed to get his foot stuck in a crevice and it was only good fortune that allowed him to escape with nothing more than some cuts and bruises. The outing did, however, give us a good chance to appreciate the beauty of the rock pools and potholes that abound in the area.
On Tuesday an outing across the highlands eastwards and down to the Waterval Resort, provided another fine birding opportunity with a good number of species being identified. Sadly, the waterfall had all but stopped flowing, but it was a good trip and the drive to Vanrhynsdorp impressed with the burgeoning viticultural development of the area.
The following day there was an outing to Nieuwoudtville. The drive across the Knersvlaklte and up the pass onto the escarpment displayed the different biomes that exist within a short distance of each other. First we went to the waterfall on the road to Loeriesfontein. It too, was virtually dry, but there were many birds around. From there we visited the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve. By the time we arrived it was midday and pretty warm, so most people abandoned the idea of a rugged 5 km walk and returned to Gifberg. The change of habitat did allow us to see many species that were not found around Gifberg, so it was a worthwhile outing. We saw our first waterbirds and some waders.
Evenings were taken up with the usual communal braais and the ladies excelled themselves with a fine spread of delicious food. We had made new friendships and were sad to have to return home this morning, but well pleased with our tally of 107 species for the trip! Thank you John, for arranging this fine excursion!
Trip List: Acacia Pied Barbet; European Bee-Eater; Southern Red Bishop; Yellow Bishop; Bokmakerie; Southern Boubou; Cape Bulbul; Cape Bunting; Lark-like Bunting; Ludwig’s Bustard; Jackal Bustard; Brimstone Canary; Cape Canary; White-throated Canary; Yellow Canary; Ant-eating Chat; Familiar Chat; Karoo Chat; Grey-backed Cisticola; Levaillant’s Cisticola; Zitting Cisticola; Red-knobbed Coot; Blue Crane; Cape Crow; Pied Crow; Cape Turtle Dove; Laughing Dove; Namaqua Dove; Red-eyed Dove; Yellow-billed Duck; African Fish Eagle; Booted Eagle; Verreaux’s Eagle; Common Fiscal; Fiscal Flycatcher; Grey-winged Francolin; Egyptian Goose; Spur-winged Goose; Pale Chanting Goshawk; Little Grebe; Common Greenshank; Black Harrier; African Harrier Hawk; Grey Heron; African Sacred Ibis; Hadeda Ibis; Greater Kestrel; Rock Kestrel; Black-shouldered Kite; Yellow-billed Kite; Karoo Korhaan; Blacksmith Lapwing; Cape Clapper Lark; Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark; Karoo Lark; Long-billed Karoo Lark; Large-billed Lark; Red-capped Lark; Banded Martin; Rock Martin; Speckled Mousebird; White-backed Mousebird; Speckled Pigeon; African Pipit; Long-billed Pipit; Plain-backed Pipit; Three-banded Plover; Karoo Prinia; White-necked Raven; Karoo Scrub Robin; Cape Robin-Chat; Namaqua Sandgrouse; Marsh Sandpiper; Streaky-headed Seedeater; Cape Shoveller; Red-backed Shrike; Cape Sparrow; House Sparrow; Southern Grey-headed Sparrow; African Spoonbill; Pied Starling; Red-winged Starling; African Stonechat; Cape Sugarbird; Malachite Sunbird; Southern Double-collared Sunbird; Barn Swallow; Greater Striped Swallow; White-throated Swallow; African Black Swift; Alpine Swift; White-rumped Swift; Cape Rock Thrush; Karoo Thrush; Olive Thrush; Grey Tit; Cape Wagtail; Rufous-eared Warbler; Common Waxbill; Cape Weaver; Southern Masked Weaver; Capped Wheatear; Mountain Wheatear; Cape White-eye; Cardinal Woodpecker.