Cape Town and beyond

25th to 30th January 2020

This trip was planned at the very last minute. On the 23rd January I was told that my hip revision was postponed from 29th January to 3rd February. So, to fill in the week’s wait we decided to go to the Cape to find a few specials in Velddrif and at the same time to visit friends and family.

Flight organized, car hired, accommodation booked and we were off arriving in Cape Town mid afternoon. Two hours later we arrived at Kuifkopvisvanger and settled in to our cottage overlooking the Berg River – at the location where we hoped to see the Wilson’s Phalarope which had been hanging about there for some time.

View from our cottage balcony overlooking the Berg

Late afternoon drive and no luck. Next morning again no luck. Off to the salt works down the road where, we were told, there was a Red-necked Phalarope in breeding plumage. After driving round virtually all the salt roads we found just one spot where birds were congregating. At first we saw nothing out of the ordinary and it was only on returning to that spot that Sally spotted the Phalarope.

Then as we were leaving we noticed some smaller birds – mostly Little Stints but there was one slightly larger of which I took a photo. Later we realised that it was the White-rumped Sandpiper that the other birders there were talking about.

Returning to Kuifkopvisvanger we were told that the Wilson’s Phalarope had been seen as well as a Common Redshank. Eventually we found both. A well worthwhile visit.

Here are a few of the other birds photographed at Velddrif.

From Velddrif we headed for Cape Town to stay the night with a friend – Ericka – whom I had not seen in 40 years. And a further 2 nights with Sally’s brother and wife – Robin and Anne-Marie in Somerset West.

On the way there we visited the West Coast National Park and its 3 hides (Seeberg, Geelbek and Abrahamskraal) as well as driving up to Postberg on the west side of the Langebaan Lagoon.

Here are some of the birds seen in the West Coast National Park.

During our 3 overcast days in the Cape Town area, we visited Kirstenbosch, Strandfontein, the Penguins at Betty’s Bay on our way to Table Mountain N. P. as well as Somerset West and beyond to Harold Porter National Botanic Gardens and Hermanus.

At Kirstenbosch we saw a very friendly Lemon Dove. It shared the path with us – sometimes leading and sometimes following us.

Lemon Dove

The Penguins at Betty’s Bay shared their territory with Dassies. Unfortunately it was too wet for us to go very far into the protected area.

Strandfontein is always a big draw but we only spent about an hour there. The weather was blustery and wet so the birds found refuge and were hard to spot. The water glowed a salty pink.

Strandfontein – a pink glow of salty water.

We had a lovely drive along the coast from Somerset West to Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens despite the rain.

We were fortunate to have the rain subside sufficiently for us to have a walk in the Gardens. Here are some photos to enjoy.

From Harold Porter we took a drive to Hermanus where we met a friend – Lori – for a late lunch.

Altogether a week well spent prior to my op with a few lifers thrown in for both of us.

Here is a list of the birds identified and Atlassed at each location. 120 Different species identified in total.

Sunset where we had dinner with Ericka and her son at Monkey Valley Resort. Thorfynn’s Restaurant

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