It's a Great Day to Bird

Cape Town

After leaving Tulbagh we drove to Cape Town via Darling.  Darling is a popular area for wildflowers.  We went to two different wildflower reserves, but most of the flowers had already bloomed and bird life was scarce.


One of the flowers we saw at the Oudepos Wildflower Reserve near Darling

We made it to Cape Town and our accommodations at Largo House, which is located about a 5 minute drive from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (where we plan to go the next day).  We got to Largo House about 2:00 pm, unloaded our luggage, and off we went to an adjacent river garden park across the street.


Almost all of our accommodations have required a skeleton key.


View across the street from Largo House.


Common Waxbill


Cape White Eye


A “BUG” Hotel? First one I’ve ever seen.




Swee Waxbill


Helmeted Guineafowl


Pincushion plant


Now this is a channelized watercourse.

Kirschenbosch Gardens

We paid a visit to the gardens.  My goal, of course, was to find birds.  This place is always mentioned as one of the key places to bird in Cape Town.  I must say I was disappointed in how few species we saw – only 24.  While I don’t know most of the calls, what I did hear were the same birds over and over again, with the Southern Double Collared Sunbird and Cape White-eye being the top contenders for singing.  Despite the lack of bird species, I did come away with two life birds – Forest Canary and the Lemon Dove.  Both great birds (aren’t they all).


Cape Robin Chat


Cape Francolin – poor birds were chased by children


Southern Double-collared Sunbirds – they were everywhere chasing each other around. Spring is in the air.


This sunbird is feeding


Lemon Dove


Egyptian Goose – this goose had just got done taking a bath


Any they say Vulture’s have faces only a mother could love – Helmeted Guineafowl.


Forest Canary


Cape Canary


Cape Batis nest

The flowers in the gardens were beautiful, although I expected more flowers.  We spent 8 hours in the garden and did a lot of walking uphill affording a commanding view of the city.  One good outcome, we did get some exercise out of the day.

The Gardens

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The Flowers

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The Trees


Camphor Trees


Didn’t get the name of this tree

In the gardens is an elevated walkway.  I thought from this walkway we would see a lot of birds – not so much.  Again mostly sunbirds and white-eyes.  Still it was good to see birds.


The walkway


Me on thew walkway. It wasn’t raining, but the morning was cool. Later in the day the sun came out and it was much nicer/warmer.

The gardens included an area of native species that have become invasives elsewhere in the world – fascinating.  Also there was a part of the garden dedicated to threatened and endangered plants.

We also hiked in the surrounding mountains.  The gardens and trails are well marked so easy to know where you are going.


Trail sign posts


No that isn’t a golf course down below, but the gardens.


View of Cape Town from our trail


View of the mountains from the gardens

Speaking of sign posts, they had a signpost near one of the entrances that indicated distances to places in other countries.  We were surprised to see “Missouri” (Jack’s home state) on the signpost.


Jack at signpost


We were wondering how they picked “Missouri” to include on the signpost. I wonder how many people who visit the botanical gardens have ever heard of Missouri?

The next day in Cape Town we woke to rain.  It seems to be raining a lot in South Africa.  The country is experiencing a drought so I am sure many people are happy to get rain.  We did get out later in the day and walked along the Liesbeek River again (across the street from Largo House).  Saw a Common Chaffinch (female) for another life bird.  Not too bad of a day.  We had planned to hike up to Lion’s Head which gives one a 360 degree view of the city, but with the rain we weren’t going to see much.

Next we are headed north along the coast to West Coast National Park and Langebaan (our base for three nights).

Until then ……… IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BIRD.

1 Comment

  1. Betty Siegel

    All those gorgeous photos and you’re disappointed? Come on, Michelle!
    They really are excellent pics. Great job!

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