In the middle of January I had a 2-week holiday to South Africa, with about
one week near Cape Town and another at Tsitsikamma National Park, on the
coast near Port Elizabeth. I had been to both areas for shorter periods
about 4 years ago and so was looking to fill in some gaps in my birding
list. I used a 7-year old copy of Sinclair's "Birds of Southern Africa"
and a similar vintage "Birds of the Southwestern Cape and where to watch
them". While there, I purchased a Year 2000 edition of Newman's "Birds of
Southern Africa for about Rand 150, which since the drop in the currency
last December is about A$25, but found the illustrations not as good as in
While my wife was conferencing in Cape Town, I visited Kommetjie,
Wildevoelvlei, Rietvlei, Paarl Mountain Reserve, Paarl STW, Sir Lowry's
Pass, Helderberg Reserve and Strandfontein STW, all close to Cape Town. I
saw most of the missing ducks from my list except the White-backed Duck
which is supposed to be at Wildevoelvlei. I saw thousands of Greater
Flamingos at Strandfontein with not a single Lesser Flamingo among
them. There were a few Bank Cormorants at Kommetjie. The highlight of the
trip was the sighting after much effort of two Cape Rockjumpers at Sir
Lowry's Pass. What a remarkable bird! Ground Woodpeckers were also seen
there but neither of the Rock Thrushes.
At Tsitisikamma, it was a few days before I saw the first Knysna Louries
(Turacos) and again I dipped on the Knysna Woodpecker and Warbler. I did
see lots of Rameron Pigeons, Black-bellied Glossy Starlings and a single
There were lots of White Storks along the road from Tsitsikamma to Port
Elizabeth. I tried to find Roseate Terns at Cape Recife, near PE but it
was blowing a 40-knot gale and I gave up.
Although the amount of razor wire and security in general was as high as 4
years ago, I did not feel unsafe in any place visited and did not see a
single road accident, in spite of most drivers breaking the speed limit by
30-40 km/hr at all times.
Please contact me directly if you wish to have further information.
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