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Maitland River Mouth & Trail Birding

Three are three good birding areas near Maitland River Mouth.

1. Forest Birding at the Maitland Nature Reserve Trail

The first is the forest. Drive out on the N2 west from Port Elizabeth. Take the Sea View turnoff and drive to Cow's Corner. From there drive to the turnoff to Maitland River Mouth on the left (about 5 kilometres). On the corner is a small dam which sometimes produces Malachite Kingfisher and African Fish Eagle, plus Forest Buzzard and calling forest birds. Drive on about 3 kilometres and the Maitland Nature Reserve is on your right. 

Park next to the road, walk to the gate, and onto the trail. The first kilometre of the Sir Peregrine Maitland trail is usually ringing with forest bird calls. Forest birding like this is done by ear mostly. But birds sometimes show themselves if you call them up. Both White-starred Robin and Brown Scrub-Robin are resident here and respond well to calling up. Other specials are Knysna Woodpecker, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Dark-backed Weaver, Knysna Turaco and Grey Sunbird.

In the reedbeds near the gate I on one occasion had Great Reed Warbler. Also listen near the beginning of the trail for Knysna Warbler.

Dark-backed Weaver – Keith Joubert

Peregrine Falcon – Keith Joubert

2. Birding near the Maitland River Mouth

Once you have finished forest birding, drive to just before the blind mouth of the Maitland River. Near the top of the rise before the mouth, park and scan the reedbeds and marsh. Birds like African Rail, Purple Heron, Goliath Heron, Black Crake and Little Bittern have been seen here. Raptors include Peregrine Falcon and Jackal Buzzard on the dunes plus African Fish Eagle.

Goliath Heron – Godfrey Lodge

Little Bittern – Keith Joubert

3. Birding at the Maitland River Mouth

Drive down to the blind mouth next. It usually holds a big flock of African Black Oystercatcher. Often also Pied Avocets, a tern roost, Giant, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers and once an African Pied Wagtail. There is a historical record for Eurasian Oystercatcher in the early 1970s but it has never been seen again. There are always a flock of Water Thick-knees at the mouth. Cape Gannets can be seen offshore. 

African Black Oystercatcher – Corné Erasmus

View the complete bird list here.

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