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Sir Lowry’s Pass Birding, Cape Overberg, Western Cape

Sir Lowry's Pass birding habitatSir Lowry’s Pass birding spot is on the N2 – a 45 minute drive from Cape Town towards Port Elizabeth. This scenic pass crosses the Hottentots Holland Range which is covered by an immense floral diversity and is home to two fynbos endemics not seen on the Cape Peninsula – Cape Rock Jumper and Victorin’s Scrub-Warbler.

A three to four hour walk along the southern slopes of the mountains can produce these specials: Cape Rock-jumper, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Ground Woodpecker, Cape Rock Thrush, Sentinel Rock Thrush, Black Harrier, Verreauxs’ Eagle, Jackal Buzzard, Hottentot Buttonquail, Cape Siskin and Striped Flufftail.

The Route:  Park your car in the car park on the western side of the N2 and carefully cross back over the N2. Pass though the fence and onto the upper of the two roads leading along the eastern side of the mountain range.

The first part of the upper track leads one through mountain fynbos, where typical fynbos species can be seen. Further along the path, one passes the lower end of the boulder-strewn hillsides – a favoured place of the Cape Rock-jumper, their presence often given away by their high pitched calls.

After about one and a half kilometers, one comes to a small overgrown stream and passes under a set of power lines. Soon after crossing the stream, follow a small path (and the power lines) up to the left. A short walk along this path leads to the Gantouw Pass, where the stream leading up to the cannon becomes densely vegetated and often yields a sighting of Victorin’s Warbler. The slopes in the vicinity of the old cannons can produce Cape Rock-jumper and other species attracted to the rocky habitat.

The windswept ridges of this particular range offer excellent conditions for birds of prey so look at the skies above the rocky ridges for sightings of Verreauxs’ Eagle, Jackal Buzzard, White-necked Raven, Peregrine Falcon and Rock Kestrel.

Look out for Striped Flufftail and Red-chested Flufftail near the railway line.

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