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BEST OF SOUTH AFRICA

Friday 19th September - Saturday 4th October 2014

Simon Mitchell

Blue Crane (Simon Mitchell)

Blue Crane (Simon Mitchell)

For many wildlife enthusiasts South Africa conjures images of large mammals and Kruger National Park. However, it also has a fantastic variety of birds to offer, many of them endemic. Our tour took us from the spectacular fynbos-clad mountains of the Western Cape extending where snow-tipped peaks drop precipitously all the way down to rocky beaches home to nesting penguins and cormorants. We visited to the extreme dry of the Karoo desert home to a wonderful selection of often tricky and nomadic lark species and the spectacular forested mist-belts and gorges. High altitude passes into Lesotho contrasted with flat high-altitude plateaus and marshes around Wakkerstroom and with each location new birds abounded.

The 2014 Birdquest to South Africa continued our long run of successful trips to this classic birding destination. We saw a whole host of fantastic birds, including Southern Bald Ibis, Lammergeier, Black Harrier, Red-winged Francolin, Blue and Wattled Cranes, six species of bustard, Cape Parrot, African Grass Owl, Knysna Woodpecker, African Broadbill, no less than 18 species of lark, including all four possible species of Long-billed Lark, Blue Swallow, three endemic tits, Bush Blackcap, Orange Ground Thrushes a plethora of chats, both Rockjumpers, Namaqua Warbler, Barratt’s, Knysna and Victorin’s Warblers (all of which showed well), Karoo Eremomela, Yellow- tufted and Yellow-breasted Pipits, Olive Bush-shrike, Southern Tchagra, both sugarbirds, Cape and Drakensburg Siskins, Black-headed and Protea Canaries. On the mammal front highlights were the expected of Southern Right Whales (which performed sensationally) as well as Cape Porcupine an African Wildcat

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Simon Mitchell)

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Simon Mitchell)