Overberg Birding - Somerset West to Grootvadersbosch

  • fred vermeulen
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4 years 6 months ago #85961 by fred vermeulen
fred vermeulen created the topic: Overberg Birding - Somerset West to Grootvadersbosch
I recently went on a short trip to Grootvadersbosch, near Heidelberg in the Western Cape. The area is about 3 hours from where I stay in Somerset West, and is the closest location for many species which reach their Western-most range of their distribution here. Our (girlfriend and myself) targets were the Crowned Eagle, Narina Trogon and the Cape Vulture on the way.









We left on the Wednesday morning and began our 3 or so hour drive, taking the southerly route that goes through Bredarsdorp so that we could make a stop at Potsberg for the Cape Vultures. We arrived at Potsberg and it wasn't long before we were treated with about 20 Cape Vultures coming down to the fields around the environmental center. A single Black Harrier also put in an appearance with the Vultures.









It was then off to Honeywood Farm where we would be staying for the duration of our trip. The farm is right on the border of the Grootvadersbosch reserve and we were welcomed and escorted to our cottage by the owner John, and provided with some free honey. The cottage was great and at an excellent price. We settled in quickly, though would be tackling the forests in the morning.









Dark forests make photography a very tricky task, even at ISO 1600 my shutter speed was down at around 1/60.

On Thursday morning we headed out and went for a trip into the forest, territory that was new to us. Trevor Hardaker had told me a few days before to expect tough birding conditions in the forest and I only found out just how hard it is once there. The forest was quiet for most of our walk and an hour in we had only seen Olive Woodpeckers and heard the Knysna Warbler calling. Later we came across the Terrestrial Brownbuls, Blue-Mantled Crested-Flycatcher and a few other common species. At one point we heard what my girlfriend described as a bird that had swallowed an Oboe in the distance. Only later did we find out it was the Narina Trogon call. Though it would have been too deep in the brush to get to regardless.









We were plagued by rain on the Friday and species sightings remained fairly low. Forest Buzzards being the most common raptor that we came across. No signs of the Crowned Eagle, though it's no surprise, as they aren't exactly common in the area, they do occur there occasionally though and apparently have a nearby nest.







The trip back home saw us get some decent photographs of road-side birds and of some of the more common overberg species. We saw a single Black-Bellied Starling which was a nice sighting. But we also suffered a flat tyre just outside Swellendam, which hampered our return.







Regardless, it was an enjoyable vacation and for anyone looking to enjoy that area I can definitely recommend the accommodation at Honeywood Farm, it's cheap and rustic - but everything one should need.

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4 years 6 months ago #85962 by wildtuinman
wildtuinman replied the topic: Re: Overberg Birding - Somerset West to Grootvadersbosch
Great photos and a lovely report. Looks like a must to visit in the future.

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4 years 6 months ago #85965 by docandy
docandy replied the topic: Re: Overberg Birding - Somerset West to Grootvadersbosch
Great story and pictures! :D Stunning part of the country to visit it would seem!

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4 years 6 months ago #85968 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Overberg Birding - Somerset West to Grootvadersbosch
After seeing these I'm getting the urge to get down to the Cape again! :)

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4 years 6 months ago #86008 by John Young
John Young replied the topic: Re: Overberg Birding - Somerset West to Grootvadersbosch
Great trip report Bryn - will bear the places in mind when I next visit the Cape.
Dave

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4 years 6 months ago #86009 by Ian_H
Ian_H replied the topic: Re: Overberg Birding - Somerset West to Grootvadersbosch
Great trip report, great sightings and great photos!
Thanks for sharing!!!

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