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.

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Page 45 of 91

Jackass Penguins. Photo © Gerald Cubitt South Africa 44 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2014 you can expect Shy, Black-browed, Atlantic Yellow-nosed, and Indian Yellow- nosed albatrosses; Southern and Northern giant-petrels; White-chinned Petrel; Sooty and Great shearwaters; Antarctic Fulmar; Black-bellied and Wilson's storm-petrels; Subantarctic Skua; and Cape Gannet. Birding around commercial fshing trawl- ers can be truly spectacular, with a cloud of seabirds following in a vessel's wake to feed on fsh offal and bycatch. Carefully search through the thousands of birds present for less common species, such as Wandering and Northern Royal albatross- es and Great-winged, Soft-plumaged, and Spectacled petrels. Cetaceans are almost always encountered; regulars include Bryde's, humpback, and southern right whales and common and dusky dolphins. South African fur seals can also be expect- ed. A day off the Cape is likely to be a high- light of any trip to South Africa! Coastal sites also offer terrifc birding opportuni- ties, and Boulders Beach at Simonstown is among the best. Here, boardwalks take you into the heart of a large Jackass Penguin breeding colony, and hours of entertainment can be had observing these curious birds' antics. Keep a lookout, also, for three endemic species of cormorant: Cape, Bank, and Crowned. African Black Oystercatcher and Hartlaub's Gull can be spotted among the numerous terns and shorebirds. West Coast National Park • An hour north of Cape Town, this park protects 107 square mi. (27,600 ha) of prime Fynbos, grassland, and shoreline. During the spring wildfower season (which peaks from August to September), the area erupts into a blaze of fowers that is truly one of the world's most remarkable natural phe- nomena! The vast Langebaan Lagoon is the winter stronghold for thousands of mi- grant shorebirds and supports large num- bers of Greater and Lesser famingos, South African Shelduck, Cape Shoveler, and other waterfowl. The surrounding short, coastal vegetation (Strandveld) is home to Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Penduline- tit, Karoo Lark, Fiscal Flycatcher, and 7-South Africa.indd 44 3/4/14 1:12 PM

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