Swartland Outing 21 June 2015

Southern Double-collared Sunbird
Southern Double-collared Sunbird

The weather was sparkling and perfect for a day out watching birds – cool but sunny.

The group, varying between 14 and 17 met our leader at the Tygervalley Shopping Centre and then consolidated cars so that we had just 4 cars travelling in convoy.

We started off by visiting D’Aria Wine Estate in Durbanville. At the small dam we saw lots of the usual water birds such as Cape Weavers, Red Bishops, Yellow-billed Duck, Red Knobbed Coot, Grey Heron and more. We had wonderful sightings of both male and female Stonechats and although we only heard Little Rush Warblers, we had good views of Lesser Swamp Warblers on top of the reeds. Then in the parking area we saw a flock of fifteen or more Pin-tailed Whydahs. Brian remarked that he thought this was one of the largest flocks of these birds he had seen!

Walking on the other side of the restaurant we saw Cape Canaries (heard them first, of course), and then showing beautifully an Amethyst Sunbird, first spotted by Pieter le Roux. Olive Thrush, Cape White Eyes, a Bar-throated Apalis and some very confiding Dusky Flycatchers as well as a Fork-Tailed Drongo and a Hadedah Ibis sitting on a very messy nest were all added to our list.

After leaving D’Aria, we drove around the hills stopping every now and then to look for birds near the road. We saw a Jackal Buzzard, White Necked Ravens, a Black Sparrowhawk, a brilliant view of a Black Harrier, Rock Kestrel, Cape Grassbird, Red-capped Larks, A Long-billed Lark, a Karoo Robin, Black-capped Wheatears, a Yellow Bishop and much much more.

We ended the morning at Durbanville Nature Reserve (usually closed on weekends in winter, but Brian had organised a key) where we saw Whitebacked Mousebirds, Cape Sugarbird, Malachite and Southern Double-collared Sunbird.

This list is not exhaustive! In total we saw 68 species – a good count for mid-winter.

Thank you, Brian, for an excellent morning’s birding. You are a patient teacher, and your joy and excitement are contagious!

Priscilla Beeton.