Monday, November 23, 2009

Rooi Els

Saturday morning I visited Rooi Els, a well known spot for Cape Rockjumper, a South African endemic. Situated on False Bay, Rooi Els offers breathtaking views and a huge diversity of fynbo plants. I strolled down the rocky track taking in fynbo-loving species including Cape Bulbul, Cape Grassbird, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Robin-Chat and Cape Siskins (see a pattern here?).

Cape Sugarbird

Eventually the distinctive calls of Cape Rockjumpers echoed down the hillside from above. There are only a few pairs along this stretch so without hesitating, I climbed the rocky slope. The next hour or so was spent scanning the rocks unsuccessfully. However, a trio of Ground Woodpeckers mobbing a Dassie and a Victorin’s Warbler nearby made the trek worth it. The latter is highly sought after and with its limited range and skulking habits, this species is a tuff one to see. Luck was with me as I watched it from a few meters away as it blissfully foraged, occasionally teeing up to sing.

Victorin's Warbler

I eventually descended down the slope and once I returned back to the rocky track, there were the rockjumpers! I didn't know what to think about being fooled by a bird but I happily watched them as they teed up on the rocks and jumped down the track. They eventually moved on and after I had my filling of Familiar Chats, Karoo Prinia and Orange-breasted Sunbirds, that concluded a remarkable morning of birding.

Cape Rockjumper

Karoo Prinia

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cape Town, South Africa

After nearly 40 hours of traveling via Pittsburgh, John F. Kennedy, Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and Cape Town airports, I arrived in Cape Town early Sunday morning. The past couple days were spent recovering from jet lag and exploring the surrounding area. I’m currently staying at the Tropical Birding office in the northern suburb, Bloubergrise and only had time to bird areas within walking distance. It appears the the blogger photo uploader isn't working right now but when it does, I'll go more in dept on what I'm seeing.