South Africa, Day 1, 1 September 2018 - Paarl Mountain and Paarl Bird Sanctuary

Having arrived the previous evening we didn't pick our car up from Cape Town airport until this morning. This was quick and we were soon on the road heading north for the winelands town of Paarl.

Finding the entrance track to Paarl Mountain reserve we soon started to encounter our first roadside birds - Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape Turtle Dove, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Speckled Mousebird, Streaky-headed Seed-eater, Cape Bulbul, Cape Robin-chat and Cape White-eye  Up at the 'wildflower garden' near the Paarl Mountain Reserve entrance  we added a superb Malachite Sunbird and Protea Seed-eater.   

On the way back down into town we clocked up Yellow Bishop, Southern Masked Weavers, a nice group of Horus Swifts over a small sewage works. Then an African Goshawk circled over.

Southern Double-collared Sunbird

Cape White-eye

Cape Turtle Dove

Streaky-headed Seed-eater

Yellow Bishop

Southern Masked Weaver

 Fiscal Flycatcher

After a nice lunch in a cafe in Paarl town we headed to the north side of town to Paarl Bird Sanctuary, an area of pools, reeds, scrub and woodland. Here we had to be accompanied by a lady member of their staff with a walkie talkie to call security in case of any problems. In the end we had none except the track being flooded at one point meaning we couldn't drive the whole circuit. Birds were everywhere here - the only Glossy Ibis of the whole trip quickly followed by a number of regional wildfowl - Cape Shoveler, Red-billed Teal, African Black Duck, Maccoa Duck, Cape Teal and Red-knobbed Coot. Also there were several Reed Cormorants, African Sacred Ibis, Hadada Ibis and Hartlaubs Gulls before we turned our attention the passerines. A Lesser Swamp Warbler lurked low in the reeds while African Reed Warblers and Southern Red Bishops were everywhere. On the way out Karoo Prinia, Cape Sparrow and Cape Canary were on the perimeter fence and at the main sewage works buildings a gorgeous Pin-tailed Whydah and several Pearl-breasted Swallows were joined by Black Saw-wing and Greater Striped Swallow.

Red-billed Teal

Southern Red Bishop

Lesser Swamp Warbler

Cape Shoveler

African Reed Warbler

Pin-tailed Whydah

 Pearl-breasted Swallow

After checking in at the A'Queenslin Guesthouse in Paarl a short walk onto the adjacent hillside in the fading light revealed c10 Brimstone Canary, Cape Robin-chat and Fiscal Flycatcher.

Cape Robin-chat

Brimstone Canary

 Fiscal Flycatcher

That night we ate in an up-market yet still reasonably priced restaurant within walking distance of our guesthouse and had a steak to die for! 


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