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Sundays River Mouth & Colchester Birding

Sunday’s River Mouth is part of the Pearson Park resort, near Colchester. It is an excellent venue for waders and terns, plus other water birds. It is also good for bush birds, with forest and dry country birds meeting.

How to get there:

Drive out on the N2 east from Port Elizabeth. After about 40 kilometres cross the Sundays River Bridge, continue and turn right into Colchester and then first left. Lots of bush birds are seen here in the bush at Colchester. There is also a Village Weaver colony in the town.

Drive slowly along till you reach the BP petrol station. Park at the end behind the petrol station. On the corner is a little rise. Walk over this rise and to the river. Then walk along a lawn next to the river for twenty minutes or so. Here are always Water Thick-knees – up to 50 of them. Also Half-collared, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers as well as lots of swallows and swifts in summer.

Then drive to the Pearson Park office to pay. The entrance fee to Pearson Park resort is R70.00 for the first two persons in a car and R15.00 each for additional passengers.

On the wild fig lined road to the office look for Grey-headed Bush Shrike and also African Green Pigeon. The latter are often seen in the bluegum trees around the petrol station.

On entering Pearson Park drive about two hundred metres or so and turn right to the slipway and park. There are sometimes Knysna Woodpeckers here, plus Southern Black Tits, African Paradise Flycatchers and Black-headed Oriole. Look out again for kingfishers. On one notable occasion there was an African Finfoot here.

Drive further and go over a hill where there are sometimes good bush birds. After going down the hill there is a beauty spot called “Golden Sands” which is great for breakfast.

Some very unusual once-off sightings in the bush between the slipway and the mouth are Rufous-naped Lark, Dusky Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird, African Olive-Pigeon, Thick-billed Weaver, Swee Waxbill and Spotted Flycatcher. Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Red-throated Wryneck and Brown Scrub Robin have been heard but not seen.

Drive on from Golden Sands for about two kilometres. At an old slipway there is an exposed mudflat. In summer at low tide look for Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Terek Sandpiper and other waders. In the bush at that spot listen for African Firefinch.

Terek Sandpiper – Gregg Darling

Drive on and turn right to the ablution blocks at the river.  Then drive slowly on a track to the mouth, stopping to scan for waders and terns. Park at the parking area at the mouth. Walk along the far bank to the mouth itself. Look for Little Terns at the main tern roost and Damara Terns in a roost by themselves right at the mouth.

Damara Tern – Keith Joubert

Raptors include Western Osprey, Black Harrier, African Marsh Harrier and African Fish Eagle.

Rarities have pitched here in the past, including Crab Plover, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Franklin's Gull. A European Honey Buzzard was also seen here.

View the complete bird list here.

Through the club's monthly e-newsletters and bi-annual magazine, the Bee-Eater, we aim to stimulate continued interest in birds and their habitats.