Harold Porter Botanical Reserve area – 18 May 2014

It was an early start for us on the Sunday of the CBC outing to Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay as we were due to meet at the gate at 8:00am and we were travelling from Tokai and Plumstead. However, we arrived in good time, meeting up with fellow CBC members for a quick coffee stop to kick off the morning.

Once in the gardens we were delighted to find a whole flock of Swee Waxbills as we were waiting for everyone to gather together. There were about 10 of us. We wandered slowly up to the river, but there was not much bird activity as the sun hadn’t really reached this part of the gardens yet. However, where the sun was out from the shadow of the mountains there were birds to be seen and our list was growing. We recorded about 29 species in the gardens. There was a Cape Grassbird calling almost at our feet as we wandered up the path that leads towards towards Leopard’s Kloof, but unfortunately we never caught sight of it. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive Victorin’s Warbler which had been seen in that area, and, as we sat in wait for this elusive bird we sighted a bird on the top of a tree in the middle distance that caused a great deal of discussion, however, we finally decided it was a juvenile Klass’ Cuckoo – a nice bird for the list.

The time had flown by and we were all in need of a bite to eat, so we adjourned to the parking lot for the tea break. After a tea break we headed down to the African Penguin Colony at Stony Point. The wind was very strong indeed, but we put up the spotting scope and had fun educating ourselves by looking at the different Cormorants. We saw Bank, Crowned, Cape and White-breasted, so it was an excellent opportunity to observe the differences between the species. Thank you, Mike Saunders for your guidance here. We added another 13 species to our list at Stony Point.

We had been invited to lunch by friends so we left the group who stopped at Rooi Els on their way back to Cape Town and had an excellent sighting of Verreaux’s Eagles. Our list total for the day was 45, but the group probably saw more birds than that.

Thanks again, Mike, for organising and leading this outing.

Linda Hibbin.