Birding at Reflections Eco-Reserve and in the Garden Route

Reflections Eco-Reserve is one of the best places for birding in the Garden Route. Keep your binoculars and your bird book handy because the reserve has a wide range of habitats including wetlands, coastal bush and fynbos which are host to many of the 250 species of birds in the Garden Route.

Don’t be surprised if you are awakened by the cry of Fish Eagles! Other commonly seen birds around the chalets include Amethyst, Greater Double-collared, Lesser and Malachite Sunbirds; Cape Wagtail; Cape Robin-Chat; Dusky Flycatcher; Black andand Grey Cuckooshrikes; Cape White-Eye; Karoo Prinia; Bar-throated Apalis; Knysna, Cardinal and Olive Woodpeckers; Southern Boubou; Fork-tailed Drongo, Black-headed Oriole; Swee Waxbill and Brimstone and Cape Canaries.

Some of the best birding occurs along the edge of Rondevlei Lake and offers African Rail;African Purple Swamphen; African Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, African Snipe,Pied and Malachite Kingfishers; Red-chested Flufftail; Yellow-billed Egret, Little Egret; Yellow-billed Duck; Maccoa Duck; Southern Pochard; White-backed Duck;Hottentot Teal; Levaillant’s Cisticola, African Marsh Harrier and African Fish Eagle.

The walking path that we have cut at Reflections is an easy circular meander that takes you through all the different habitats. All of the above species can be found but others include Buff-spotted Flufftail; Cape Grassbird; Grey-backed Cisticola; Neddicky; Cape Sugarbird;Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Sombre Greenbul,Martial and Booted Eagle; Black Sparrowhawk and African Goshawk.

Birding in the forests above Reflections is best done at Woodville. Turn right onto the gravel road and drive for about 400 metres to the T-junction. Turn right again and follow the road up a short but very steep pass. Above the pass you enter a neighbourhood of dairy farms. Black-winged Lapwing; Denham’s Bustard; Zitting Cisticola and Cape Longclaw are all worth looking for in the fields on both sides of the road. In summer, stop and scan the fields as the Bustards can often be found displaying in the fields.

At the next T-junction turn left. Keep watching the power lines as Forest Buzzards often perch here. Shortly after the junction there is a right turn marked Bergplaas (next to a small farm shop). This road leads through some great forest patches to the fynbos areas in the Bergplaas plantations. Cape Siskin; Victorin’s Warbler; Cape Sugarbird; Orange-breasted Sunbird; Protea Canary and Forest Buzzard can all be found here. You will need to buy a permit at the offices (R150 per vehicle).

If you pass the Bergplaas junction you will reach the turnoff to Woodville after about 2 km. The walk is a circular walk of about 3 km.  Specials are Narina Trogon, Black-bellied Starling; Scaly-throated Honeyguide; Knysna Turaco; Knysna Warbler; Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler and Black and Grey Cuckooshrikes.