17 C
Mossel Bay
17th Jan 2021
Community & Living Nature & Nurture Tourism & Travel

BEST BIRDING SPOTS IN THE GARDEN ROUTE

THE GARDEN ROUTE BOTANICAL GARDENS

This well-developed garden is a safe haven for many birds and birders! The garden’s extensive network of trails allows you to explore all the habitats the garden has to offer. The Mushroom Meander trail leads down to a small steam surrounded by evergreen forest, where you can find many of the forest birds. You can also relax in the bird hide that looks out over the garden’s wetland area. The main dam is full of fish that attract the larger water birds. When the Aloe garden is in full bloom, be on the lookout for various sunbirds, as they dart from flower to flower, playing an important role in the pollination of these aloes.

Look out for: forest buzzard, buff-spotted flufftail, African rail, Knysna woodpecker, little rush warbler, Knysna warbler, black-bellied starlings and forest canary.

Contact: 044 874 1558

THE WOODVILLE BIG TREE

This picnic area is situated near a towering Outeniqua yellowwood tree, and is alive with forest birds. But before you start your picnic, follow the 2,7 km circular trail that traverses this patch of pristine Afro-temperate forest. Search carefully through all the different layers of the forest, starting with the forest floor, where the rustling of the leaves will give away the presence of ground-dwelling birds. The understory is often dense, and a good place for birds to nest. Use your binoculars to scan the forest canopy and also the skies above. Listen for the calls of the birds, as you will often hear them long before you see them.

Look out for: African cuckoo hawk, lemon dove, Narina trogon, green wood hoopoe, olive woodpecker, white-starred robin, chorister robin-chat.

Contact: 044 877 1197

THE BROWN-HOODED KINGFISHER TRAIL

This fantastic trail follows the Duiwerivier valley up to a waterfall. It grants you access into a gorgeous, steep-sided valley that would otherwise be impenetrable. The vegetation is exceptionally lush, with a mix of forest and valley thicket, and when the forest grape is in fruit, the valley is filled with the raucous calls of dozens of Knysna turaco. The cliffs are an important breeding place for cliff-nesting birds, and the tranquil stream usually attracts some of the shyer water birds. Also be on the lookout for all the beautiful butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.

Look out for: African black duck, African goshawk, peregrine falcon, tambourine dove, Knysna turaco, half-collard kingfisher, black-collard barbet, collared sunbird.

Contact: 044 877 1197

THE RONDEVLEI BIRD HIDE

This hide looks out over the vast expanse of the Rondevlei lake and has extensive reed beds on either side. Near the hide, you will find a boat launching site that often produces special sightings, such as the elusive little red-chested flufftail. If you are fit, explore further into the nearby coastal forest by following the Cape Dune Mole-rat Trail as it lead you up through the forest and into coastal fynbos. It is well worth spending a full morning exploring this part of the Garden Route National Park, where bird life abounds!

Look out for: black-necked grebe, little bittern, glossy ibis, white-backed duck, Hottentot teal, African fish eagle, African swamphen, malachite kingfisher.

Contact: 044 877 1197

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