Birder's Guide

MAR 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/276205

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43 March 2014 | Birder's Guide to Travel Garden is a great starting point and abounds with birds. Helmeted Guineafowl (belonging to the African-endemic family Numididae) are particularly approachable here, as are raucous Cape Spurfowl. Look for the lovely Cape Batis and Southern Boubou in the more forested sections, and if you are very lucky, you may also locate the tricky Knysna Warbler. The protea gar- dens attract birders and nectar-loving birds alike, and here one is bedazzled by stun- ning Orange-breasted, Southern Double- collared, and Malachite sunbirds while re- gal Cape Sugarbirds watch from atop bril- liant fowering proteas. As the day heats up, keep an eye out for soaring raptors, which often include Red-breasted Sparrowhawk, Forest Buzzard, and an as-yet-undescribed buzzard species provisionally named "Elgin Buzzard". The scenic drive southward to Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve of- fers numerous stunning views, and the f- nal destination—dramatic Cape Point—is even more spectacular. The mountains, grasslands, and Fynbos protected by this wonderful reserve provide superb bird- ing, mammal viewing, and herping. Target species include a variety of endemics, from Gray-winged Francolin and Hottentot Buttonquail (if you are very lucky!) to Cape Siskin and Cape Grassbird. With regard to mammals, look out for eland (the world's largest antelope), bontebok, the endan- gered Cape mountain zebra, and troops of comical chacma baboon. Numerous rep- tiles and amphibians also occur here, most noticeably angulate tortoises and prehistor- ic-appearing black girdled lizards. Other nearby locations worth visiting include Table Mountain, Strandfontein, Rondevlei Nature Reserve, and Tokai. Pelagic birding and the coastline • The cold upwelling of the Benguela Current off Cape Town supports a wealth of pelagic seabirds, with large concentra- tions of albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, and prions gathering in the deeper wa- ter at the edge of the continental shelf. Birding is excellent year round. At the peak of diversity, from August to October, Southern Double-collared Sunbird. Photo © Adam Riley Helmeted Guineafowl. Photo © Adam Riley Malachite Sunbird. Photo © Gerald Cubitt 7-South Africa.indd 43 3/4/14 1:11 PM

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