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Traveller’s Rest, Clanwilliam – 13 to 15 September 2019

 

21 TBC members, enjoyed a weekend camp to Traveller’s Rest, 35km outside Clanwilliam. Driving over the Pakhuis Pass and seeing the incredible Cederberg mountains, we knew we were in for a treat. We soon saw Booted Eagle (pale form) – the first of many sightings.  At the Farmstall there were more than 100 Cape Weaver nests, in 2 acacia thorn trees. The non-stop activity was fun to watch. That evening we had spectacular views of the full moon rising, and calls of Fiery-necked and Freckled nightjar close to our cottages.

 

On the Saturday we planned to bird all along the road, heading in the direction of Wupperthal. Although a cool start, we soon saw Grey Tit near their nest, and Cape Clapper Lark starting their display flight. Grey-backed Cisticola were seen in numbers, and a few of us saw Grey-backed Sparrow-larks flying by. Karoo, Sickle-winged and Familiar chats were seen. There was much excitement as a group of 11 Ludwig’s Bustards gave us good views – first flying off, but luckily returning to feed near the road.

 

Lark-like and Cape Buntings were seen often, as well as White-throated and Black-headed Canaries. The latter male with its wonderful chestnut back, and all-black head was a favourite. The weekend belonged to the raptors!! Before our tea break, we had already had superb views of a pair of Verreaux’s Eagle, Booted Eagle being pestered by Pied Crows as well as a pair of Lanner Falcon. The cliff face is really popular with these raptors.

 

We decided to go along the Biedouw Valley. LBJ’s and Blue Crane were seen. Hoodia in flower and quiver trees, were also nice to see. A farmer then explained how to get to some nice flowers on top of the mountain. Three groups attempted the steep roads, and enjoyed the wildflowers on top of the plateau. Namaqua Doves and later Namaqua Warbler were added to the bird list. This drive was enjoyed by all.

 

A communal braai on Saturday evening was a happy affair! Wish birds were discussed and there was good camaraderie all round. On Sunday many of us walked the Sevilla Rock Art trail. Along here the group had great views of Fairy Flycatchers – a lovely little bird! We all enjoyed the wonderful rock formations and rock art. One is really taken back in time, to how these people survived many years ago. Staying at Traveller’s Rest farm was lovely, and really good for the soul. It was nice being out of the City and sharing a fun weekend with the TBC birders. On the way home, we were once more greeted by Booted, Verreaux’s and a Martial eagle. A weekend to remember!

 

Brigid Crewe