The quarry in Cotswold (Lafarge Quarry) is set on a tributary of the Papenkuils River. It is good for birding when you have a few hours to kill, being easy to get to and easy to cover in a short period of time.
Park at the end of the quarry and walk slowly up the river
It is overgrown with reeds and bushes but it is still productive for birds. Opposite is a grassy fynbos covered hillside. There is a bit of forest too.
In summer the reedbeds are alive with Southern Red Bishops and weavers. Malachite Kingfishers are sometimes seen. It is a good spot for sunbirds, particularly Malachite Sunbird. Cape Canaries are common. Tambourine Doves often give a brief fly past. African Firefinches and Bronze Mannikins occur. At one stage a pair of Hamerkops bred in a gum tree. Albert Schultz ringed a Chorister Robin-Chat in the bush here, which is an excellent bird for Port Elizabeth. Other once-off species include Spotted Eagle Owl and Dark-backed Weaver. A bizarre sighting was a Red-tailed Tropicbird which flew over.
Malachite Sunbirds – Corné Erasmus
However the usual birds are a long list of common bush and reedbed birds, like Cape Grassbird and Yellow Bishop. A couple of forest birds filter in. Black Sparrowhawks are always seen. A Red-winged Francolin was heard calling form the grassy fynbos covered hillside opposite.
After walking up and down the river, spend half an hour at the quarry itself. Pride of the place goes to a resident pair of Peregrine Falcons. There are also cormorants, darters and Grey Herons in the dam below the quarry. Cape Bunting and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting were both seen once at the quarry.
How to get there:
It is essential to phone the manager in advance for permission. (041-395 7700) Drive down Cape Road and turn right opposite the William Moffatt Expressway towards the freeway interchange. Carry on straight over the interchange towards Grasvoël Street, Cotswold and in two minutes you are at the quarry. There is a boom for security.