Birding enthusiasts visiting Klipbokkop can take note of the latest Birding Atlas Project. Anyone can join the SABAP2 project as a registered observer and in this way contribute with one’s own observations and sightings.

SABAP2 is a joint project involving various institutes based at the University of Cape Town and BirdLife South Africa, following a similar project which ran from 1987–1991. SABAP2 plans to produce an improved atlas and contribute to biodiversity conservation, specifically avian biodiversity in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

The Southern African regional area of interest for the project is divided into more than 17 thousand sampling units, each referred to as a “pentad” which covers 5 minutes of latitude by 5 minutes of longitude. The pentad covering Klipbokkop is of particular interest as some scarce and vulnerable species are found in the fynbos mountain area. Of particular interest for the Birds of Prey Working Group (BoPWG) is the fact that endangered birds of prey like the Black Harrier and Verreaux’s Eagle nest in the area. The Klipbokkop pentad is shown below, its reference number being 3345_1920 (depicting the pentad at 33˚45΄ south and 19˚20΄ east).

The habitat found here, including the pristine fynbos, especially around the Kweekkraal and Waboomberge mountain ranges, is of particular interest to this project.

Notables observed in the survey of December 2007 included the pair of Verreaux’s Eagles nesting on the southern cliffs of the Kweekkraal Mountain Range. It was interesting to notice the red tag (initiative of the BoPWG) on one of these birds’ left wing. A Rock Kestrel also made this area its home. A pair of Black Harriers (classified as “Vulnerable” in the Red Data Book for birds) was confirmed close to the Brandvlei Prison’s shooting range.

Up in the mountain ranges birdlife is less abundant, although very interesting and definitely worth the effort to reach the higher elevations. Two pairs of Cape Rockjumpers, beautiful and always active and enthusiastic, were observed above 1200m.

One notable species in the lower parts between the Brandvlei dam and the mountain is the Agulhas Long-billed Lark. It is worthwhile to spend some time to find this species as it only occurs in a small area and is classified as “Near-threatened” due to pressure on its habitat. It is identified by its long bill, somewhat curved. Also look out for a white belly with some teardrop stripes on the breast.

Even the casual birder will thoroughly enjoy birdwatching from the comforts of Klipbokkop’s pub and cafeteria facilities, looking down the Droëspruit valley. Various sugarbirds regularly bathe “on the rocks”, including Malachite, Orange breasted and Greater Double-banded Sunbirds. The Cape Bunting displays some stunning zebra-like patterns and the early evening display of the Freckled Nightjar can be enjoyed with your sundowner.

Make us of the list of birds confirmed to date at and around Klipbokkop for a thoroughly entertaining couple of hours.

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