The Bot River estuary bordering the Arabella Country Estate and part of the Kogelberg Biosphere is a bird lover’s paradise, attracting more than 178 bird species, including some of the most spectacular in the Western Cape. Residents at the Estate are privileged to regularly see an amazing number of water birds, including three breeding pairs of Fish Eagles, the beautiful Flamingos, Pelicans and Black Oystercatchers. They are also treated to visits from the migrating birds such as the Osprey, many different Terns, the Common Whimbrel and the odd rarity, such as the European Oystercatcher.
“Life on the estate is a dream come true for any bird enthusiast, on any given day you might see a swooping African Goshawk, African Harrier Hawk, Peregrine Falcon or one of the Sparrow Hawks,” explains Arabella Country Estate Manager, Dirk Uys.
In the summer months there have been sightings of the Yellow Billed Kite, Steppe and Forest Buzzards, cuckoos and many different swallows and swifts that make their homes at Arabella for a short time. Occasional rare visitors have also included the Open Bill Stork, an African Crown Eagle and the Black Cuckoo Shrike. Currently the Estate has a Barn Owl, an African Wood Owl and a Spotted Eagle Owl who are very at ease sitting in trees in residents’ gardens.
“By looking after and creating a more suitable habitat, planting the correct type of trees and making our dams even more environmentally friendly, we are hoping to improve conditions to such an extent that the estate will become a greater hot spot for birding in the future,” says Dirk. “The whole Overberg region is a birding utopia; we have the Rooisand Hide, the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens (Betty’s Bay), the Rooi Els site for the Cape Rockjumper and the Swartivier Road – where the stately Blue Crane is often seen in the fields.”
For more info on the estate please visit www.arabellacountryestate.co.za and www.westerncapebirding.co.za
Ed’s note: I have to add that Stanford is also a bird lover’s paradise with an abundance of birds at the William Appel Dam. along the Klein River and in Stanford gardens. See