Cape Town and Tsitsikamma NP, South Africa

Subject: Cape Town and Tsitsikamma NP, South Africa
From: Gil Langfield <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 21:21:43 +1100
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 Sinclair..

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 White-starred Robin.

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.


Gil Langfield
Melbourne, Australia

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