Flock to the Wilderness (BirdLife South Africa’s AGM weekend) will be held in the Wilderness Hotel, Wilderness, Western Cape, during the weekend of Friday 29 to Sunday 31 May 2020. The AGM will take place at 10h00 on Saturday 30 May. We’re also planning a special lunch at the hotel on 30 May (more details to follow later). Additional birding activities are planned for the weekend and these will be done in collaboration with BirdLife Plettenberg Bay, Lakes Bird Club and the Nature’s Valley Trust. We look to seeing a large number of our members in Wilderness. Details of Flock to the Wilderness will be posted on this webpage as and when they become available.

Bird Tours

SATURDAY, 30 MAY 2020

14h30 – 17:00:  

Birding tours guided by BirdLife Plett  

Meet at The Wilderness Hotel Reception 

  1. The Ebb and Flow Tour* (PAX = 10) 
  2. The Reflections Eco-Reserve Tour (PAX = 10) 
  3. The Rondevlei Bird Hide Tour* (PAX = 10) 
  4. The Woodville Forest and 7 Passes Tour* (PAX = 10) 
  5. The Ganzvlei Farm Tour (PAX = 10) 
  6. The Fifth Street Forest Enclave Tour (PAX = 10) 

15h00 – 16h00:  

Talk presented by NatureValley Trust 

Meet at Salinas Beach Restaurant  

      7. The #ShareTheShores Tour: (PAX = Unlimited) 

SUNDAY, 31 MAY 2020

08h00 – 11h00: 

Birding tours guided by Lakes Bird Club. Meet at The Wilderness Hotel Reception 

  1. The Ebb and Flow Tour* (PAX = 10) 
  2. The Reflections Eco-Reserve Tour (PAX = 10) 
  3. The Rondevlei Bird Hide Tour* (PAX = 10) 
  4. The Woodville Forest and 7 Passes Tour* (PAX = 10) 
  5. The Ganzvlei Farm Tour (PAX = 10) 
  6. The Fifth Street Forest Enclave Tour (PAX = 10) 

Area:  

SANParks – Ebb and Flow main rest camp grounds and the adjacent campsite along the eastern banks of the Touws river. 

Information: 

The park’s rest camp is at Ebb and Flow, situated on the Touws river. The hutted camp and campsite, particularly at Ebb and Flow North (adjacent to Ebb and Flow south), offers good birding (including nightly Wood Owls) and is a rewarding place to base your explorations into the surrounding forests. 

Significant Bird Species: 

Knysna Turaco, Giant Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Half-collared Kingfisher, Grey Cuckooshrike, Black-backed Puffback, Narina Trogon, Cape Batis, Knysna Warbler, Yellow-throated WoodlandWarbler, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Paradise Flycatcher, Olive Woodpecker, White-starred Robin, Chorister Robin-Chat, Cape Robin-Chat. 

Area: 

Reflections Eco-Reserve borders both coastal forest and the Rondevlei Lake with its extensive reedbeds and has walks along paths and roadways around the property that meander through coastal thickets, tree lined lanes and stretches of open areas with some grass and rehabilitated fynbos. 

Information:

The property has been host to a number of rarities over the years like White-browed Scrub Robin and Great Spotted Cuckoo and is a good site to see both Lesser and Greater Honeyguide as well as Cardinal Woodpecker. 

There is a breeding pair of African Fish Eagle on the property that can be seen regularly and a variety of ducks, egrets and some waders can be observed on the eastern side that overlooks Rondevlei Lake. 

The Rondevlei is part of a series of estuarine lakes that contribute in a large way to the Garden Route’s fame as South Africa’s favourite holiday destination. As a designated Ramsar site no boating or fishing is permitted. This ensures a tranquil tour and great birdlife. Besides nesting resident Fish Eagles we boast about 140 species of bird life as well as Cape Clawless Otter, Water Mongoose, Caracal, Bushpig, Grysbok and Grey Duiker. 

Significant Bird Species

http://www.reflectionsreserve.com/index.php/about-reflections/abundant-birdlife 

Area:

SANParks – Rondevlei Bird hide & surrounding grounds and forest edge walk and the “link channel” 

Information:

A string of lakes stretches from Wilderness Lagoon to Island Lake, Bo-LangvleiRondevlei and Swartvlei. At Rondevlei where SANParks has offices and a research centre there is a well maintained bird hide with great views across the lake with sand banks and reeded edges in front of the hide.  

Significant Bird Species:

In the reeds: Little Rush-Warbler, Lesser Swamp-Warbler, African Reed-Warbler, (summer) African Rail, Black Crake, African Snipe, Greater Painted-Snipe, African Swamphen, Purple Heron, Red-chested Flufftail,  African Marsh-Harrier.  

On the waterGreater Flamingo, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Maccoa Duck, Southern Pochard, Hottentot Teal and White-backed Duck. African Fish-Eagle breed in trees near the water’s edge and Osprey is present.

Around the propertySouthern Tchagra, Red-neck Spurfowl, Grey Cuckooshrike and Spotted Thick-knee may be seen. From the roadside, the channel between Bo-Langvlei and Rondevlei can yield some interesting birds like Black Egret, Little Bittern, Hottentot Teal and Goliath Heron. 

Area: 

Woodville Forest and Big Tree within the Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park. 

Information: 

There is a 1.5km walking trail through some magnificent indigenous forest with some huge Yellow woods and other trees, many of which are named. This forest is famous for its Narina Trogons, but May is not the optimal month for sighting them. After the forest we will drive along the 7 Passes Road with its many dairy farms and dams which attract species such as the Black-winged Lapwing. 

After a few kilometres there is a road sign posted on the left to Bergplaas. This is also a very good birding road. At a small vlei near this turn off some Stripped Flufftails were recorded. 

Drive back to the 7 Passes Road and shortly thereafter we will take a right turn and drive through more farmlands where Denham’s Bustards and Secretary birds can be seen. Raptors are often seen on these roads. We arrive back at Langvlei, one of the Wilderness Lakes.  

Significant Bird Species:   

Narina Trogon, Grey Cuckooshrike, Chorister Robin-Chat, White-starred Robin, Olive Bushshrike, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Black-bellied Starlings, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Knysna Turaco, Knysna Warbler, Olive and Knysna Woodpecker, White-faced Whistling Duck, African Black Duck, Black-winged Lapwing, Forest Buzzard, Black Sparrowhawk, Denham’s Bustard, SecretarybirdVictorin’s Warbler. 

Area: Touws River mouth

Information: Join the Nature’s Valley Trust team at Touws River mouth for a chat about conservation issues facing beach breeding birds. Learn about the threats, and the local conservation and research efforts put in place to mitigate them. This educational outing may not see loads of species ticked, but will give you a better appreciation of the wonderful birds we share our beaches with.Meet at beach parking lot by Salinas Beach Restaurant Saturday 30th May at 15:00. Outing will be 1 hour long.

Area: 

George area. 

Information:

This is a small patch of indigenous forest between the houses and the railway line. Here you will find most of the forest specials but they will probably be in a birding party.  

Significant Bird Species: 

Buff-spotted Flufftail, White–starred Robin, Chorister RobinChat, Yellow-throated WoodlandWarbler, Knysna Warbler, Cape Batis, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, Grey Cuckooshrike, Cape Batis, Black Sparrowhawk 

Area:

East from Wilderness on the N2, pass Sedgefield and Groenvlei Lake on the right. Just before the turn off to Buffalo Bay on the right is Ganzvlei Farm. 

Information:

This is a privately owned farm, previously dairy but now just Aberdeen Angus cattle.  The tour will start with a walk past the farm buildings and along a delightful wooded avenue until the banks of the Goukamma River, where Black Saw-wings and Brown-throated Martins nest in the river banks. In summer 5 species of cuckoo are found here. Continuing along the tree line, where there are magnificent White Stinkwoods, until a small pond next to an old bird hide. There are extensive reed beds in this area.  If the mouth of the Goukamma River is closed, there is a lot more water in the final area near to the bird hide. The tour will return along the same path back to the starting point. 

Significant Bird Species: 

Brown-hooded Kingfisher, African Black Duck, Terrestrial Brownbul, Southern Boubou, Green-backed Camaroptera, Black-backed Puffback, African Goshawk, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, African Rail, Tambourine Dove, Yellow Bishop, Little Rush Warbler, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Malachite Kingfisher, Black Cuckooshrike, Black-bellied Starling. 

Accommodation

BirdLife South Africa has reserved 50 rooms at The Wilderness Hotel for two nights, available for those attending Flock to the Wilderness 2020 to book: 

  • Check-in: 29 May 2020 
  • Check-out: 31 May 2020  
  • Rates: R795.00 pppn for single room, R530.00 pppn for double. Includes breakfast 

Booking must be made with The Wilderness Hotel directly. 

Download and complete the booking form to make your booking. Please send your completed booking form to stay@thewildernesshotel.co.za 

https://wildernesshotel.co.za