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A Report from

Birds or Whales, 12th November 2010,

Raymond Kite

Guide Dave De Beer (email

This is the conundrum you face going to Hermanus at this time of the year. The nursing Southern Wright Whales spend 6 months in the bay at Hermanus (although this is the end of the season) and can be seen right up to the shore, as it is very deep.

My wife and I were booked to go on a whale watching cruise but the weather was not cooperating. We were advised to go and talk to Dave De Beer who had written an excellent book on whales “ Hermanus Whales” with great photos but interestingly all the photo were taken from land as he knows the best spots to wait.

We duly found Dave’s studio in town and he agreed to take us the next day, as we were leaving I noticed nice bird photographs and mentioned that this was really my passion, he said his also. So we dropped the idea of going to see whales and went birding locally as I only had 2/3 hours to spare.

Dave first took me to Fernkloof Nature Reserve just north of Hermanus and after going 100 yards from the entrance he said wait here and we will see Cape Sugarbird and Orange Breasted Sunbird which within 5 minutes we had. He took me to several other sites telling me what we species we would see and we did. In all we saw 50 species in 2.5 hours all very local. If we had more time he could have taken me further and seen more than double this number including raptors which was what I really wanted to see. If you're in the area well worth giving Dave a call

Species seen

Bar Throated Apalis
Black oyster Catcher
Black Saw-winged Swallow
Black Winged Stilt
Blacksmith Plover
Cap Sugar Bird
Cape Batis
Cape Bulbul
Cape Canary
Cape Cormorant
Cape Robin Chat
Cape Rock Thrush
Cape Sparrow
Cape Spur Fowl
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Wagtail
Cape Weaver
Cape White Eye
Common Moorhen
Common Tern
Egyptian Goose
European Starling
Fiscal Flycatcher
Fiscal Shrike
Greater Flamingo
Greater Stripped Swallow
Grey Heron
Guinea Fowl
Hartlaubs Gull
Karoo Prinia
Kelp Gull
Kittlitz Plover
Laughing Dove
levaillants Cisticola
Little Tern
Malachite Sunbird
Olive Thrush
Orange Breasted Sunbird
Red Eyed Dove
Red Knobbed Coot
Sandwich Tern
Speckled Mousebird
Swift Tern
Three Banded Plover
White Breasted Cormorant
Yellow Billed Duck
Yellow Billed Kite

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