Directions for roadside birding in the Port Alfred Area:
Water Meeting Nature Reserve & Pennyshoek
Exit Port Alfred on the R67 towards Grahamstown. In the village of Bathurst look out for African Green-Pigeon, Trumpeter Hornbill and Black-bellied Starling in the fruiting wild fig trees. Before leaving Bathurst take a detour to Water Meeting Nature Reserve. An entrance fee is levied at the gate. Stop at the lookout point above the Horseshoe Bend in the Kowie River, Crowned Eagle breeds here and the Chorister Robin-chat is common.
On exiting Bathurst turn left along the gravel road towards Southwell via Pennyshoek pass. The scenery is breath-taking and birds are in abundance. The road winds down to the Kowie River where the view is dominated by high cliffs, gorges and a mixture of valley bushveld and riverine forest.
Grey Cuckooshrike, Narina Trogon, Dark-backed Weaver, Rock Kestrel, Cape Rock-Trush, Booted Eagle and Mocking Cliff-chats are birds that occur here. Check the river for Mountain Wagtail, African Black Duck and African Finfoot.
Continue up the pass towards the settlement of Southwell. Scan the grasslands for Denham’s Bustard. Continue down the road back to Port Alfred birding all the way and stopping at the farm dams. (Allow a day to do this 55 km round trip)
Great Fish River Wetland & Mouth
On the R72 just beyond the Kap River Reserve and before the Great Fish River Bridge, turn right into Fort D/Acre and the camping and picnic site. Take the left fork to reach the river under the bridge or proceed straight along the edge of the wetland and again turn left to reach the picnic area where it is easy walk to the river mouth.
This is a good spot for migrant waders. Some birds that have been seen here are: Goliath Heron, Black Stork, Ruddy Turnstone, Caspian-, Sandwich- and Little Tern, Terek Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Great White Egret, SA Shelduck and Cape Shoveler. Levailant’s Cisticola and Cape Longclaw can be seen at the edge of the wetlands.
Kap River Nature Reserve
This small reserve, managed by the Ndlambe Municipality in Port Alfred, lies 24 kms east of the town, wedged between the Kap and Great Fish Rivers. Canoe and walking trails are available by arrangement with the office at the reserve. Wide range of habitats on the reserve accounts for the diverse species list of over 200 birds.
Some of the specials are: White-backed Night-Heron, Amur Falcon, Narina Trogon, Chorister Robin-chat, Barratt’s Warbler, African Crowned Eagle, Black Harrier, African Finfoot, Lesser Honeyguide, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Great Reed Warbler and Dark-backed Weaver.
Contact the Ndlambe Municipality, Nature Conservation Department at 046-6241140 for more particulars.