Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Cape Town: Jaws and Jumpers

With a couple of days free before joining my Zoothera Birding group in Windhoek for our exciting Namibia, Botswana & Zambia tour I wanted to strike off another biggie on my Bucket List. So despite looking an idiot in a wetsuit, I went into a cage and got really up close and personal with a few Great White Sharks..

In all, there were 8 different sharks coming in to our boat and once in the cage I had awesome close views, so close you could have reached out and touch them (which I didn't!). Such an awesome experience and one I will never forget! Many thanks to Marine Dynamics (www.sharkwatchsa.com) for making my dream possible - I would thoroughly recommend their services if you ever want to give this a try.

We also saw a couple of Southern Right Whales in the bay as well.

Southern Right Whale

From here we headed back towards Cape Town, but made a few roadside stops and I picked up quite a few easy lifers with endemics such as Karoo Prinia, Cape Robin Chat, Cape White-eye, Cape Canary, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Bar-throated Apalis and Cape Weaver.

Bar-throated Apalis

Cape Bulbul

Cape Weaver
Next up was Bety's Bay and the African Penguin colony. And what a place this is as you get really close to these fascinating birds that are nesting right beside the path. Spent a pleasant hour trying to get some photos of the adults returning to shore and fighting their way through the surf....

You could almost P P P P P Pick Up A Penguin here.... Get it?

So with time pressing I still wanted to have a crack at seeing my number one target - Cape Rockjumper. Having not really planned ahead I didn't know how this would be possible as I didn't have the call (and it's the breeding season so that wouldn't have been the right thing to do anyway), so I bowled up at the usual site not too optimistic. However, a couple of Swedish birders were just leaving and told me they had seen a family of rockjumpers a kilometre and a half along the path. What luck! But I think their estimation of distance was grossly under exaggerated as i walked a LONG way before, sure enough, I spotted a family of 4 Cape Rockjumpers. Wow! I spent a pleasant half an hour watching the adult male bring food to his almost fully grown young from the path and was amazed when they kept coming closer. I was crouched behind a boulder and some bushes and managed to get these photos...

Loved watching this family of Cape Rockjumpers

Walking back to the car a cracking male Orange-breasted Sunbird was feeding on some flowers beside the path, a pair of Cape Sugarbirds were further up the hill and a pair of Cape Rock Thrushes brought my lifer tally to 11 for the day... What a day!

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