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After seeing, but not having the opportunity to identify, the many cormorants on the rocks on treasure hunt day, we tried again by arriving here at 7:45am. Unfortunately, the tide was only just receding, and the birds were somewhere else - the exposed rocks just beyond the shoreline must have been too close to the beach for their comfort. The detour wasn't a total flop, since a couple of very close Hadada Ibis had been passed in the centre of the village, along with numerous Helmeted Guineafowl. The Black Oystercatchers were still among the gulls, although not as approachable as hoped. We also tried for the thick-knees again at the lighthouse. They weren't to be found, but a short seawatch had lines of Cape Cormorants passing eastwards. When watching these from the shore, they seemed all black, including the lack of yellow facial skin. However, the similar Bank Cormorant apparantly does not gather in such numbers away from the breeding areas, and Cape Cormorants from this distance and at this time of year can seem all dark around the gape.

African Oystercatcher

Hadada Ibis

African Oystercatcher

Hadada Ibis



 

Map of Coba area

Southern Boubou

Sombre Bulbul

Southern Boubou

Sombre Bulbul

We arrived here a little behind schedule (i.e. 20 minutes after opening time) due to rush hour traffic heading into Cape Town. By this time, the weather had turned to a steady drizzle, but this cleared later in the morning. After picking up the guide map and a few tips from the front desk (one of which was that the Spotted Owls hadn't nested this year), we started on the cultivated gardens immediately outside of the main entrance. Many more birds were heard than seen around this part of the gardens, most being the common species already seen, such as Cape White-eye, Cape Bulbul, Olive Thrush, and good numbers of Southern Double-collared Sunbirds. Much more diversity was found beyond the main pond, in the medicinal plants and erica / useful plants beds. The pond itself was devoid of birds, but shortly after were Cape Robin, Speckled Mousebird, and Black Saw-wing. Deeper into the beds were Southern Double-collared & Orange-breasted Sunbirds, singing Sombre Bulbuls, Southern Boubou, Yellow Canaries, and Rameron Pigeons.

Protea Garden

Cape Sugarbird

Protea garden

Cape Sugarbird

Next on the agenda was the Protea area - one of the parts of the garden worth looking forward to. It is quite an open area, with plentiful mown lawns, and stands of shrubs including sugar bearing Protea. The Orange-breasted Sunbirds seem so much less wary here, and a Cape Sugarbird was perched in the open for some time. We stopped for some water and to reflect on the unique character of the Sugarbird - when we moved on again and rounded the corner there were about another 10 birds together, even closer and less concerned by us than the first bird.

Fynbos

Dusky Flycatcher

Fynbos walk

African Dusky Flycatcher

A change of habitat then led to the lower slope of the Nursery Ravine. This proved to be very quiet - we decided it was due to the heat of midday, and returned to the car. From our point of view, the garden deserves its reputation as one of the best sites in the area. For non-birders, the walks are very pleasant, although this time of year is not the best from the botanical minded. We only spent 3 hours there, but missed out not only a major part of the garden, but also varied habitat such as the lower slopes.

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

DVD

Contact

Site map

Links

Content

Introduction

Town

Cape

Strandfontein

Kirstenbosch

Rondevlei

Species list

Text only