On the 12th of September Tony and I went out with a local guide for the day. We were due to be out with Brian Vanderwalt but unfortunately he was unavailable, so he put us in touch with another chap whose name unfortunately escapes me, (sorry for that). However, he was a very pleasant and knowledgeable chap and the day went very well. We left Cape Town early morning and headed out towards Somerset West; where we stopped briefly for fuel. The garage had a small reed lined pond off to one side and we picked up several birds here including Yellow Bishop and Cape Weaver.
From there we took the coast road around False Bay eventually ending up at a small village called Rooi Els. We parked up and looking out to sea could see at least two Southern Right Whales in the surf just offshore; a good wat to start the visit. We then walked along a track into some prime Fynbos habitat with many large boulders scattered along the track running up the adjacent mountain side, to quote from the South Africa Net website:
South African fynbos grows in a 100km- to 200km-wide coastal belt stretching from the West Coast to the south-east coast. It makes up 80% of the Cape Floral Region, a world of finely branched plants exquisitely adapted to flourish in poor soils and wildly varying rainfall.
We were after a special bird in this area and that was Cape RockJumper, but more on that in a minute. As we walked out of Rooi Els we enjoyed splendid views of two different Cape Sugarbirds. Another speciality of the Fynbos habitat, and a must see endemic for visiting birders. Orange-breasted Sunbirds were common in this area as were Cape Grassbirds and more Yellow Bishops. We also picked up some uncommon species in the form of Victorin’s Warbler and Grey-backed Cisticola, the former a life bird for the both of us. A little bit further on our guide picked up a call he immediately recognised and told us that Cape Rockjumpers were in the vicinity. We scanned around the boulders on the steep slopes and sure enough we eventually came across this classic mountain fynbos endemic. A bird I had long wanted to see.
My day was already a success and it was only mid-morning. As we walked back to our vehicle we picked up Cape Rock Thrush, an unexpected Black Sparrowhawk flying in from the sea and a pair of Ground Woodpeckers another speciality of the region. What a start to the day.