Birdwatching between Cape Town and Cape of Good Hope… sort of

Crowned crane (from further north in Africa)

Crowned crane (native to areas further north in Africa)

Well, this was fun! The day before, Dave and I had hoped to drive all the way to Cape of Good Hope (like an hour’s drive south of Cape Town) but we were waylaid by the wineries. So we tried again today… but he had noticed a turnoff yesterday for The World of Birds. We REALLY want to buy a good bird book to identify South African birds – so we stopped for a visit, not really planning to go in.

Well – we did, and it was amazing! There are over 300 species there – mostly birds, but also some mammals and reptiles too. It started 40 years ago as a private venture on rented land, aiming to house injured birds, and it has grown from there. We were especially impressed by the size of the enclosures. They are very large, so the birds can fly around. You can actually walk through most of them – very large habitat areas where you are right in there with the birds. And very impressive species – not so many small songbirds, but lots of raptors (kestrels, owls, vultures) and lots of wading birds such as ibises, egrets, herons and storks.

One of MANY hornbill species.

One of MANY hornbill species.

And a great collection of hornbills – very unique African birds.

What was especially nice to see here was how many of the birds were nesting – a sign that they are really well treated, and very comfortable in their habitats. They had lots of room to fly or walk around, and we could observe lots of natural behaviours.

So it was 1pm when we left there… still only halfway to Cape of Good Hope, not having even passed by the penguin colonies yet, not having even eaten lunch yet! So much more to do this day – more blog posts coming – but for now, some bird pix!

The scarlet ibises - from South America - were spectacular!

The scarlet ibises – from South America – were spectacular!

The white peacock display was like a choreographed ballet - the three of them turning in time with one another.

The white peacock display was like a choreographed ballet – the three of them turning in time with one another.

Flamingos!

Flamingos!

And not just birds. The squirrel monkey habitat was fun - a huge enclosure where the little guys could come visit us. This guy wanted Dave's glasses. He's squeezing Dave's ear with his soft little fingers - no claws!

And not just birds. The squirrel monkey habitat was fun – a huge enclosure where the little guys could come visit us. This guy wanted Dave’s glasses. He’s squeezing Dave’s ear with his soft little fingers – no claws!

A red-billed toucan.

A red-billed toucan.

The wood ducks really liked the furniture. These guys are native to North America - we sometimes see them on the Beaver Pond near home.

The wood ducks really liked the furniture. These guys are native to North America – we sometimes see them on the Beaver Pond near home.

Duck on a table!

Duck on a table!

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