Birds of Plettenberg Bay and surrounding areas
written by Ray Goodwin
Plettenberg Bay’s birdlife may be regarded as unique, in the sense that we lie almost exactly between the eastern and western Cape areas, although we are probably more closely related to the latter. In all we have five distinct habitat types – fynbos, forest, grassland, wetland and coastal areas, giving us in excess of 250 species of birds currently seen or reliably reported. Eight separate venues, covering all of the above habitat types and accessibly to the general public are discussed in sequence of west to east.
Each of the venues will show some of the species which may be encountered. Still Bay and Plettenberg Park: Coastal fynbos – Victorin’s Warbler, Orange-breasted and Southern Double-collared sunbird, Cape Siskin, Cape Grassbird, Cape Rock-Thrush, Southern Tchagra, Peregrine Falcon and Rock Kestrel.
Plettenberg Bay Golf Course is situated to the west of Piesang Valley and within these confines are most habitat types, forest (both exotic and indigenous), grassland, fynbos and some wetland. Regarded as the prime Knysna Turaco viewing spot, altogether more than 90 species have been recorded in this area alone including the Narina Trogon and Black Cuckoonshrike.
Sewage works Holding Dams: Red-billed, Cape and Hottentot teal, Cape Shoveler, Southern Pochard, Yellow-billed and Comb duck, Black-crowned Night-Heron.
Keurboom’s Estuary: This is home to many of the migrant waders, particularly in the summer months. Osprey, Eurasian Hobby, Cape Longclaw, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Little Egret, Grey and Purple heron. Further up the Keurboom’s river Half-collared Kingfisher, White-backed Night-Heron and African Finfoot can be sighted.
Bitou River: Over 140 species recorded, always providing that good rains have kept the level of the lakes reasonably full. African Fish-Eagle, Jackal Buzzard, Peregrine and Lanner falcon, South African Shelduck, Pied Avocet, Black-singed Stilt, African Snipe, Kittlitz’s Three-banned and Common Ringed plover, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper and Ruff to name a few.
Uplands: Farmlands, exotic plantations and grassland. Denham’s Bustard, Crowned and Black-singed lapwing, Blue Crane, Common Quail, European Roller, Amur Falcon and Secretary Bird.
Kurland Polo Fields and Lake: White-faced and White-backed duck, African Jacana, Spur-singed Goose, Plain backed Pipit and Red-capped Lark.
Nature’s Valley, Forest and Grootrivier: Knysna Woodpecker, Narina Trogon, Lemon Dove, African Olive Pigeon, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Red-chested and African Emerald cuckoo, Olive Bush-Shrike, Black-backed Camaroptera, Half-collared, Giant and Malachite kingfisher, Black-bellied Starling and Knysna Turaco in abundance.
Ray Goodwin has been living in Plettenberg Bay since 1994 and in 2002 he qualified as a registered THETA accredited bird-watching guide.