You see enough of the regular visitors to our garden, so I thought of spreading my wings a little to show you a sampling of some of the many other birds we see in this country. First up though is a native of Australia that turns up in odd places – the Black Swan:

The rest of the birds on show today are indigenous and the first of these is a large local resident at some lakes, dams and rivers – the Goliath Heron:

A bird that is ubiquitous all over South Africa – and which is making increasing inroads in the UK – is the Egyptian Goose:

Some time ago I proudly showed you photographs of the flamingos we were able to observe in the West Coast National Park. This flock of Greater Flamingos is flying over a dam in Gauteng:

Although I do not see them very often, the African Black Duck is fairly commonly observed along streams and rivers in this country:

Lastly, I want to show off a common resident seen all over South Africa, especially around freshwater wetlands. I think the Three-banded Plover is a particularly attractive bird:



I am often amused to see photographs of Egyptian Geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca) abroad – especially in the United Kingdom, where they appear to have made themselves quite at home.  I read somewhere that some were brought into Britain in the 17th century as ornamental birds.

In South Africa it is common to see pairs of these birds dominating stretches of water – such as dams or particular stretches of a river – by fiercely guarding their territory against perceived intruders. As Egyptian Geese are predominantly herbivorous, it wasn’t at all surprising to see this one grazing next to a dam. It was, however, surprising to find it on its own with a mate nowhere in sight.


We so enjoyed our rather serene  stopover after Easter at the Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp which forms a part of the Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park that we broke our journey here again.

Our rondavel was situated in tranquil surroundings next to the Touws River among many beautifully shady trees.

While we had been entertained by a flock of goslings during our earlier visit, this time we were kept company by a pair of Egyptian Geese that were quite at home on the lush lawns.

Later in the afternoon, a small flock of Helmeted Guineafowl picked their way across the grass. They are obviously used to having human visitors around and were not at all perturbed by our presence.

We wondered about the litter lying around – very unusual for a national park – and assumed monkeys had been responsible for tearing open the garbage bags that had been put out for collection. How wrong we were! A pair of White-necked Ravens could be seen pecking and pulling at the plastic bags – one even using its foot for extra leverage – in order to tear them open and inspect the contents. They were engaged in this messy activity for a while until one of the Egyptian Geese bore down on them and chased them away!

Another bird we were privileged to see and hear a lot of was the very beautiful Knysna Turaco. It, however, deserves a post on its own.

So does our walk through the forest.


The Addo Elephant National Park is a delightful place for watching birds. This Bokmakierie was perched close to the road.

I often hear them, yet rarely see them in my garden so am always pleased to find them here.

Red-necked spurfowl have been visiting my garden regularly over the past few weeks to peck at the seed spilled on the ground below the feeders. Jack’s Picnic Site in the Addo Elephant National Park provides wonderful opportunities to see them really close up.

Given the various groups of donkeys and the Urban Herd of cattle that roam around our town, cattle egrets are a common sight as they keep these animals company. It is refreshing to see a flock of them gathered at the edge of a waterhole.

This lone Egyptian goose was actually on its way to join a few others grazing nearby. I occasionally see these birds on the edge of town too.

The sound of Cape turtle doves – called Ring-necked dove (Streptopelia capicola) – filter through our suburb daily. Strangely enough, I seldom see them in my front garden as they seem to prefer the area behind our home. This one is looking for seeds in the veld in the Addo Elephant National Park.


Tucked into the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains, the Wilderness Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp forms a part of the Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park which stretches from the Touws River mouth to the Swartvlei estuary, protecting several lakes as well as the riverine vegetation along the Touws River.

We have camped here several times before, enjoying the serenity of the scenery and the ever-present bird calls, the trees, flowers, boating on the river and walking through the forest.

This time we were merely overnighting there to break our road trip between Cape Town and home and so we opted to stay in one of the rondavels.

The beds were very comfortable and all the usual kitchen equipment required for self-catering was provided. This included a small fridge, a two-plate stove and a microwave. As luck would have it, we didn’t use any of these things for we were beset with load shedding on our arrival as well as on the morning of our departure – and so our trusty camping gas stove came to the fore!

Most South Africans will recognise this shape as a Knysna Turaco – the rest camp is alive with their calls and if one is patient one is bound to see them flying across from tree to tree.

Despite our brief sojourn, we were able to walk along part of the Half-collared Kingfisher trail.

This follows the course of the Touws River and affords one a glorious view of the trees, such as the Common Forest Grape and other forest plants.

The paths consist of boardwalks over potentially damp or muddy areas and earth sections – all are enticing enough to encourage one to keep on exploring. We had to turn back very reluctantly after a while as the sun was beginning to set!

On our way back to the rondavel, we were entertained by a family of Egyptian Geese goslings:

We bid the day farewell after looking at this tranquil scene: