Earlier this year, Duncan wrote a charming piece about Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa. I already buy into the value of such gardens for freshly-arrived birders and know Kirstenbosch to be one of the best. On a damp, cold day in the UK, I took myself back via Duncan’s post and a few old photos.

CPT 22Mar13 Cape Sugarbird 02

The Cape Sugarbirds can be elusive some days, yet can be seen atop the proteas singing boldly the next. Perhaps the wind blowing in from the ocean affects their moods. They carrya long tail and prefer the slender stems at the tops of bushes which get buffeted as the wind is forced up the sides of the gigantic massif. It must be difficult maintaining their dignity some days.

CPT 14Mar11 Cape Sugarbird 01

Promerops is a Southern African endemic family with the Cape Sugarbird, Promerops cafer, restricted to the very southern tip of the continent. Gurney’s Sugarbird, Promerops gurneyi, distributed patchily further north, is the only other member of the family.

CPT 14Mar11 Cape Sugarbird 03

The Cape Sugarbird is very closely associated with the fynbos vegetation exclusive to the Cape region. This highly diverse but restricted family of plants is well represented in Kirstenbosch, hence the good sugarbird-viewing potential.

CPT 22Mar13 Speckled Mousebird 01

The female carries a reasonably long tail, but the male has a very showy endpiece. Beware of the Speckled Mousebird which is similar in size, but has a much smaller bill. The Malachite Sunbird has a similar silhouette, but is much smaller.

CPT 22Mar13 Malachite Sunbird 01

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.