Cape to Nature's Valley, Africa 2005
Henry Detwiler & Bob
Bob Miller and I joined our hosts Barry and Margie Hawthorne of Cape
for a whirlwind 3-week tour of South Africa. This is a summary of
species -- bird list may be viewed by clicking > BIRD LIST
thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.
|After flying from San Diego to New York, New York to
Johannesburg, and Jo'burg to Cape Town, our hosts
Barry and Margie Hawthorne picked us up and we enjoyed a well-earned
night's sleep. Bob and I had led Barry and Margie on several birding
adventures in Arizona, California, and Texas--now they were going to
take us on an unparalleled journey through South Africa!
Barry, Henry, Bob, & Margie
South African Penguins -
baby and Mama
One of our fist destinations was Simon's Town, home to a colony of
South African (Jackass) Penguins. Listening to them "bray" was
a real treat, and gave true meaning to their original name. On
the beach we were also treated to our first cormorants, gulls, and
Simon's Town & South African
Cape Bulbuls - West Coat NP
Winery - West Coat NP
West Coast National Park was a wonderful spot north
of Cape Town, with marshes, grassland, and sand dunes.
Bulbuls are one of the most common birds of South Africa, as
widespread as our Northern Mockingbird. We were also treated
to some more exotic species, like Black Harrier, Ostrich, and Pied
West Coast National Park
Here too, we saw our first mammals, which would turn out to be a
daily occurrence. This tiny steenbok is one of the smallest
varieties of antelope in southern Africa, and doesn't get any larger
than a German Shepard.
Ostrich - West Coat NP
One of the treats in South Africa was the outstanding numbers of
wading birds, and the many spots available to view them. The
Strandfontein water works close to Cape Town was a haven for
Greater Flamingoes (picture above) and large numbers of waterfowl.
No matter where we went, we encountered both Glossy and Sacred
Ibis--more common even than our Cattle Egrets.
Coast off of Strandfontein
Rooi Els is a rocky
peninsula southeast of Capetown. Here we found a family of
rare, endemic Cape Rock-Jumpers, a Black (Verreaux) Eagle, and a
Cape Rock Thrush. In addition, we saw our first Baboon and a
Cape Fur Seal!
Gymnogene (Harrier-Hawk) and Crowned Eagle
Lesser Double-collared Sunbird
As we moved eastward, the diversity of birds increased, and we saw
more species of sunbirds. Both Lesser and Greater
Double-collared Sunbirds were candy for the eyes--not unlike our
hummingbirds. In Gonubie, on the southern coast of South
Africa, we saw a spectacle that few have witnessed--a Crowned
Eagle sparring with a Gymnogene. It was a fortuitous sighting,
since we didn't see either species again during our stay.
The Drakensberg escarpment is the highest mountain
range in South Africa (11,000'+), and during our trip up Sani Pass
to the Kingdom of Lesotho, we gained 4000 four-wheeling feet in four miles.
The scenery was awesome, and the birds weren't bad either!
|October is springtime in the southern
hemisphere, and flowers were blooming everywhere. We
saw many varieties of lilies, including these fancy Bushmen's
Bald Ibis, Lesotho
|Our day trip to Lesotho produced some fine,
sought-after species like Drakensberg Rock Jumper, Drakensberg
Siskin, Grey Tit, and this
fancy Bald Ibis. Three Lammergeiers (Bearded Vultures)
were one of the highlights of the trip! On several of
the rocks gnarly-looking yellow lizards peered back at us.
ON to PAGE