home about us blogs trips lifelists challenge photos in press links contact us
02 - 03 april 2011 - beaufort west / garden route

...back to blogs

With news of both Yellow-crowned Bishop and Temminck's Courser being present in the Beaufort West area for the last few days and since we still needed both of these species for our Western Cape lists, we decided late on Friday night to have a go for them. Leaving at 4am on Saturday morning, we hit the N1 heading north and drove the 465km through to Beaufort West. Our friends, John Graham and Graham Searll, had also decided to try for these birds and arrived in town just 10 minutes after us. Going straight to the site for the Yellow-crowned Bishop, we were pleasantly surprised to find a small group of them comprising at least 3 males and several females. There were a number of other species present in the area with things like Black-throated Canary and Red-headed Finch, also both very good birds for the province, showing well. We didn't want to waste too much time there, so headed out on the road to Rietbron to go and start looking for the Temminck's Coursers. We spent a lot of time scanning the open Karoo plains before John eventually picked up what he thought was one in the distance. We walked over in that direction and were extremely excited when we came across 3 of these birds, an extremely tough bird to connect with in the province. Unfortunately, these birds were extremely skittish and would not let us get anywhere near them. Lots of jubilation and congratulations followed as it started to sink in that we had been so successful with our quest.

male Yellow-crowned Bishop
Temminck's Courser

As we were still standing there, Trevor's telephone rang with news of a Southern Carmine Bee-eater at Nature's Valley, only the second record ever for the province! A quick look at the GPS showed that it was about 187km away over some windy mountain passes, so we made the decision immediately to go for it. Back in the cars, it seemed like an eternity before we eventually arrived in the small village of Nature's Valley. A quick phone call to one of the locals had us going straight to where the bird had been hanging out and we were still busy getting out of the cars when we located it! Another hugely successful provincial twitch! We spent the next couple of hours with the bird enjoying it before leaving and making our way to Wildernis where we booked into Ebb 'n Flow, the Garden Route National Park's restcamp.

Southern Carmine Bee-eater
Fork-tailed Drongo

Up at a relatively leisurely time on Sunday morning, we spent a bit of time birding in the Wildernis area enjoying many of the regular species one would expect there as well as finding at least 2 calling Marsh Warblers, another rare species for the province. Unfortunately, despite intensive trying, we could not get them to show themselves decently for a photo, so walked away without any photographic evidence of the record. After grabbing a brunch at a local restaurant, we eventually started the long drive back home.

male Greater Double-collared Sunbird
African Harrier-Hawk
Full list of species recorded on the trip
Links to pages with additional photos highlighted in red
Common Name Scientific Name
Birds - 138 species  
Common Ostrich Struthio camelus
Cape Spurfowl Pternistis capensis
Red-necked Spurfowl Pternistis afer
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca
South African Shelduck Tadorna cana
Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis
Cape Teal Anas capensis
African Black Duck Anas sparsa
Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulata
Cape Shoveler Anas smithii
Red-billed Teal Anas erythrorhyncha
Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata
Olive Woodpecker Dendropicos griseocephalus
Acacia Pied Barbet Tricholaema leucomelas
Green Wood-Hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus
Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Southern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicoides
White-backed Mousebird Colius colius
Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus
Red-faced Mousebird Urocolius indicus
Klaas's Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas
Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba
Little Swift Apus affinis
White-rumped Swift Apus caffer
Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix
Rock Dove Columba livia
Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Cape Turtle Dove Streptopelia capicola
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
Namaqua Dove Oena capensis
Karoo Korhaan Eupodotis vigorsii
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus
Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostris
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata
Namaqua Sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus
Double-banded Courser Rhinoptilus africanus
Temminck's Courser Cursorius temminckii
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
African Harrier-Hawk Polyboroides typus
Pale Chanting Goshawk Melierax canorus
Jackal Buzzard Buteo rufofuscus
Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii
Rock Kestrel Falco rupicolis
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
African Darter Anhinga rufa
Reed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus
White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax lucidus
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Yellow-billed Egret Egretta intermedia
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
Hadeda Ibis Bostrychia hagedash
African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus
African Spoonbill Platalea alba
Black-headed Oriole Oriolus larvatus
Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis
Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher Trochocercus cyanomelas
African Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis
Black-backed Puffback Dryoscopus cubla
Southern Boubou Laniarius ferrugineus
Olive Bush-Shrike Telophorus olivaceus
Cape Batis Batis capensis
Cape Crow Corvus capensis
Pied Crow Corvus albus
White-necked Raven Corvus albicollis
Common Fiscal Lanius collaris
Brown-throated Martin Riparia paludicola
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
White-throated Swallow Hirundo albigularis
Greater Striped Swallow Hirundo cucullata
Rock Martin Hirundo fuligula
Common House Martin Delichon urbicum
Black Saw-wing Psalidoprocne holomelaena
African Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus nigricans
Cape Bulbul Pycnonotus capensis
Sombre Greenbul Andropadus importunus
Terrestrial Brownbul Phyllastrephus terrestris
Little Rush Warbler Bradypterus baboecala
Knysna Warbler Bradypterus sylvaticus
Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris
Lesser Swamp Warbler Acrocephalus gracilirostris
Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla
Cape White-eye Zosterops capensis
Grey-backed Cisticola Cisticola subruficapilla
Levaillant's Cisticola Cisticola tinniens
Karoo Prinia Prinia maculosa
Rufous-eared Warbler Malcorus pectoralis
Bar-throated Apalis Apalis thoracica
Karoo Lark Calendulauda albescens
Spike-heeled Lark Chersomanes albofasciata
Olive Thrush Turdus olivaceus
Karoo Thrush Turdus smithi
Fiscal Flycatcher Sigelus silens
African Dusky Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta
Cape Robin-Chat Cossypha caffra
Karoo Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas coryphoeus
African Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
Mountain Wheatear Oenanthe monticola
Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata
Karoo Chat Cercomela schlegelii
Anteating Chat Myrmecocichla formicivora
Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio
Pied Starling Spreo bicolor
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Amethyst Sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina
Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia famosa
Southern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris chalybeus
Greater Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris afer
Dusky Sunbird Cinnyris fuscus
Southern Masked Weaver Ploceus velatus
Yellow-crowned Bishop Euplectes afer
Southern Red Bishop Euplectes orix
Yellow Bishop Euplectes capensis
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Cape Sparrow Passer melanurus
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus
Cape Wagtail Motacilla capensis
Cape Canary Serinus canicollis
Forest Canary Serinus scotops
Black-throated Canary Serinus atrogularis
Yellow Canary Serinus flaviventris
White-throated Canary Serinus albogularis
Streaky-headed Seedeater Serinus gularis
Cape Bunting Emberiza capensis
Mammals - 2 species  
Chacma Baboon Papio ursinus
Vervet Monkey Cercopithecus aethiops
Reptiles - 2 species  
Leopard Tortoise Stigmochelys pardalis
Common Night Adder Causus rhombeatus