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LOCAL TIME: 07:55 pm | Sunday, 25 February
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Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Cape Point

Cape Point Flora attracts endemic birds

Photo Courtesy Cape Point Website

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve.  The fynbos floral kingdom in the park supports a relatively sparse bird population but the local specials are well worth the effort. A top tourist destination, this beautiful nature reserve is hugged by a rugged coastline and is well known for its diversity of plant life. Visitors can take a funicular trip up to the oldest lighthouse in South Africa for the spectacular views.

The endemic Cape siskin can be found from most of the surfaced paths to the lighthouse and on paths to the sea-view sites. The fynbos near the car park regularly attracts other species like Cape bulbul, Cape bunting, Cape grass bird, Familiar chat, Grey-backed cisticola, Orange-breasted sunbird and Red-winged starling.

Peregrine falcon can be found anywhere but often use the radio mast near the lighthouse as a perch. In winter, if the North-Wester is blowing, sea watching from any of the vantage points can be very rewarding – Black-browed albatross, Cape gannet, Great-winged petrel, Great shearwater, Pintado petrel, Sabine’s gull, Shy albatross, Sooty shearwater, Sub-Antarctic skua, White-chinned petrel will often be around.

Seabirds can also be seen from the rocks in front of the car park, where Bank, Cape, Crowned & White-breasted cormorants all roost, as well as African black oystercatcher, Ruddy turnstone, Hartlaub’s & Kelp gull, Common whimbrel and Grey plover. Terns are also found here, so scan the flocks for Common, Antarctic (winter) and Swift terns. The sandy beaches support Sanderling and White-fronted plover.

The drive to and from the entrance gate is through typical fynbos which is host to Bokmakierie, Grey-backed cisticola, Yellow bishop, Cape grass bird, Southern boubou, Cape canary and Common ostrich. Spend a few minutes at any flowering plants to look for Orange-breasted, Malachite & Southern double-collared sunbirds and Cape sugarbird.

Another special to be found in this reserve is the Hottentot buttonquail, though you have to be willing to spend some time walking through the fynbos in the hope of flushing this endemic bird! Your best chance is in the area south of Sirkelsvlei. Directions: take the 2nd tar road to the right off the main road that runs from the entrance gate to Cape Point. Drive for 2 km’s until you reach the only road to the left and a gate at a dead end. Park at the gate and walk north to a broad, shallow valley which lies south-west of Sirkelsvlei, concentrating your search on the plains dominated by low scrub – and still you may not spot the bird!

Telephone: +27 (0)21 780 9010. Visit ShowMe ™ Cape Town for The Ultimate Online Guide to Cape Town.

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