This lovely, smallish, 200ha garden, run and managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is very good for several of the Cape endemics, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Siskin, Cape Spurfowl and Victorin’s Warbler. Protea Seedeater may be found with a bit of luck, usually on Proteas in the hillside bush in Disa Kloof, and at water, where they come to drink, often at midday.
The habitat is a mix of indigenous gardens, indigenous forests, wooded kloofs (valleys) and mountain slopes with streams, pools and dams.
With a bird list of almost 100 species, the more common ones are Cape Bulbul, Cape White-eye, Southern Double-collared, Malachite and Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape and Brimstone Canary, Cape Bunting, Fiscal Flycatcher, African Dusky Flycatcher, Cape Batis, Swee Waxbill, Fork-tailed Drongo and Speckled Mousebird.
Cape and Sentinel Rock Thrush occur on the rocky slopes, with Red-winged Starlings, Neddicky and Ground Woodpecker.
Look out for African Olive Pigeon in the tops of forest trees, particularly sunning themselves in the early morning or feeding when trees are in fruit. Other forest species are African Dusky Flycatcher, Cape Batis, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Sombre Greenbul and Southern Boubou,
In summer, African Paradise Flycatcher breeds here, along with Black Saw-wing.
Also in summer, some of the breeding migrant swallows to be found are White-throated and Greater Striped.
Olive Woodpecker and Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher are breeding residents, the later reaching the most westerly extension of its range here.
Most raptor species are uncommon here, Jackal Buzzard and Rock Kestrel being the most common.
Giant and Malachite Kingfishers occur in the rivers and dams, along with other wetland species such as Common Waxbill, Levaillant’s Cisticola and occasionally African Black Duck. Cape Grassbird and Yellow Bishop are common in the rank vegetation.
Streaky-headed Seedeater and Amethyst (Black) Sunbird have both been recorded of late, more rarely Brown-backed Honeybird (Sharp-billed Honeyguide) and Black Cuckooshrike.
Harold Porter is perhaps the one of the easier places to find Victorin’s Warbler, although it is quite secretive. Listen for its melodious and repetitive call, particularly in spring, August – October, in rank vegetation along the streams.
An entrance fee is payable. Facilities include a restaurant and tea garden, a book and souvenir shop, along with good information and displays on the indigenous coastal fynbos.
Telephone +27(0)28 272 9311
A good day’s birding is to combine this with either Rooi Els or Stony Point African Penguin colony, or cover all three sites.