Spier Wine Estate

10 June 2024

Leader John Magner.


cbc outing spier estate 01 SR 10 june 2024

It was chilly as the group of about 25 birders congregated around 9am at the large pond next to the Wine-tasting rooms, where a variety of waterfowl were thawing out in the winter sun.
The usual suspects were all there, with a juvenile African Fish Eagle adding some excitement as it swooped in to perch in a tree high above the water.
As we followed outing leader John Magner, towards the bridge over the Eerste River, we stopped to enjoy a small group of Swee Waxbill foraging busily on the lawns. John pointed out evidence along the riverbanks of how high the water had risen the week before during the big rains.
The road over the bridge leads out into open fields and here we added Malachite Sunbird, Karoo Prinia, Cape Longclaw, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Cape Robin-Chat and Southern Double-collared Sunbird, amongst other species, to the growing list.
The road took us to a small pan where we found Maccoa Duck, Little Grebe and Cape Teal, along with other species already seen. We then headed into a forest area with a mix of trees including Yellowwood, where John was hoping to find Olive Woodpecker. There was a buzz of excitement when Dennis heard the call of the Brown-backed Honeybird. We stood for about five minutes, hoping to catch a glimpse of the bird. A very confiding African Dusky Flycatcher, posing for the photographers in plain sight, did its best to make up for any disappointment we felt when we failed to track the honeybird down.

Another interesting sighting was of a Common Duiker in the distance as we emerged from the forest. Some of us also enjoyed views of a pair of African Black Duck in the river close by. The trail led us back towards the large pond and we almost missed the resident African Harrier-Hawk sitting quietly on a branch not too high off the ground and quite near to the path.
One of the last birds to make it onto the list was the resident Malachite Kingfisher, leaving us with a respectable tally of 58 species.

The general consensus was that the outing had been very enjoyable and that we had benefitted greatly from John’s familiarity with the site. A number of us felt that it would be well worth a return visit at some time in the future.

Species list:
Kelp Gull
Hybrid Yellow-billed Duck/Mallard
Southern Boubou
Red-billed Teal
Malachite Kingfisher
Rock Kestrel
Pin-tailed Whydah
African Spoonbill
House Sparrow
African Stonechat
Olive Thrush
African Dusky Flycatcher
Cape Batis
Spur-winged Goose
Cape Teal
Maccoa Duck
Little Grebe
Black-winged Kite
Helmeted Guineafowl
Yellow Bishop
Cape Sparrow
Brown-throated Martin
Cape Spurfowl
Cape Longclaw
Red-faced Mousebird
Southern Double-collared Sunbird
Karoo Prinia
Levaillant’s Cisticola
Pied Crow
Fiscal Flycatcher
Southern Fiscal
Cape Robin-Chat
Cape White-eye
Malachite Sunbird
Fork-tailed Drongo
African Harrier-Hawk
Purple Heron
Hadada Ibis
Southern Red Bishop
Red-knobbed Coot
African Black Duck
African Fish Eagle
Red-eyed Dove
Common Moorhen
African Darter
Yellow-billed Duck
Common Starling
Swee Waxbill
Cape Bulbul
White-breasted Cormorant
Reed Cormorant
Blacksmith Lapwing
Western Cattle Egret
African Sacred Ibis
Cape Canary
Cape Weaver
Egyptian Goose


Photographs by Sharon Richner and Dennis Laidler.

Report by Sharon Richner.