Gatita's aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter. Different Parks - May/June 2017

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gatita
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Gatita's aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter. Different Parks - May/June 2017

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it was time for something new:

we were going to visit neither KNP nor KTP
we were not going to be focused on animal sightings only
we were going to visit the garden route
we were going in winter

The idea for this trip came up when I was reading some wonderful trip reports with pictures of aloes attracting sunbirds - birds I would love to see more of.
We had to go between mid-May and the beginning of June to avoid the South African and German school holidays and to fit in two German public holidays

we were wondering, whether this would be too early to see the aloes in full bloom :hmz:
we were wondering, whether it would be very cold :hmz:
we were wondering, whether the countryside around the Cape would look rather burned than green after the fires at the beginning of the year :hmz:
we were wondering, whether we still would enjoy the trip although the chances of seeing cats would be rather slim. :hmz:

Nevertheless, we started checking what you can do in late autumn/winter between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and we booked our flights.

As we could not really decide, what to do and where to stay, we thought about just booking accommodation for the first nights in the Cape Town area and stay as long as we like it where we like it thereafter. But in the end, we have changed our minds as we were offered some great last minute/winter special rates and booked:

4 N Simon’s Town
2 N Swellendam
3 N Wilderness
3 N Plettenberg Bay(Keurboomstrand)
1 N Port Elizabeth (Summerstrand)
2 N Addo NP
3 N Mountain Zebra NP
1 N Graaff-Reinet
1 N Karoo NP
2 N Agulhas NP

At least this gave us an opportunity to see all the places we wanted to visit. Well, nearly all, as we found out shortly before our departure that the road over the Swartberg Pass has been washed away in April and that it might take two years before it will be repaired.

To sum it up:
we had 1 wonderful trip
staying 23 days
driving 3864 kilometres
along 2 oceans
through 3 biomes
over 18 mountain passes
on 7 scenic roads (that I am aware of – probably there were many more)
including visits of 10 SANParks, 3 Cape Nature Reserves, 2 municipal parks and 1 Botanical Garden
with 150 different bird species seen in total, including 36 lifer, 2 species seen for the first time in South Africa and 12 out of 20 from the wish list
And we even saw some cats :D
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gatita
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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19.05.2017

After an uneventful flight via London we arrived in Cape Town around 10 am, bought some airtime for the phone and picked up our rental car. This time we had booked an SUV and were given a Ford Kuga automatic, an upgrade as we were told. Little did we know at that time about the problems this type of car had caused in South Africa. But, actually it turned out to be a nice car for our purposes and we were very happy with it.

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As everything went smooth, we arrived at the guest house around 1pm already. The apartment was great and we had a fantastic view over False Bay

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But a price has to be paid for having such a view

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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After unloading the car and shopping in Glencairn, we spent the rest of the afternoon watching the birds at the feeder from our balcony. I was thrilled as the first sunbirds showed up

male Southern double-collared

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male malachite – the first lifer

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and the female (please correct me if this is wrong. I always tend to mix up the female sunbirds)

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male orange-breasted

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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Other birds were around as well

female Cape sugarbird

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and the male

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Cape white-eye

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female Cape weaver

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Cape bulbul

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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peacefully sharing the feeder

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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We could even see cormorants

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and a white-necked raven

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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But the highlight was the porcupine which showed up in the evenings

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What a lovely first day we had

TBC
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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20.05.2017

the day started with a beautiful sunrise

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and the sunbirds returned to “our” garden

male orange-breasted

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and the female (I think)

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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we watched them for a while and then we were heading to Kirstenbosch

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Last edited by gatita on Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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where we saw the first aloes and they were in bloom already :D

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makes you think if you really need it :hmz:

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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we saw some wildlife as well

Guinea-fowl

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Cape spurfowl

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and a first for us, a grey mongoose, unfortunately it caught me by surprise and the pic turned out as a big blur :redface:

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male southern double-collared sunbird

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and some bees enjoying the nectar

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Egyptian geese

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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some proteas were in bloom already as well

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or will be soon

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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Boomslang

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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more pretty flowers

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and lovely grass

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we had planned on having a light lunch at the tea room but unfortunately it was closed for renovations. Thus, we went to the restaurant where we were served a delicious meal and then we had to hurry as I was very lucky to be taken birding at Strandfontein sewerage works this afternoon. :D

TBC
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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20.05.17 continued

In the afternoon I was taken birding at Strandfontein sewerage works

Our first sighting was a BSK looking for lunch

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Followed by lifer no.2 Cape teal, joined by a yellow-billed duck

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Cattle egret

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Cape wagtail

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Glossy ibis

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