Eric Barnes with Clovelly & Fish Hoek Valley bird check listsThanks to well known birder Eric Barnes, local bird enthusiasts have a comprehensive bird check list for the Clovelly and Fish Hoek Valley.  Eric has lived in Clovelly for over 50 years and has kept meticulous records of bird sightings in the South Peninsula for over 30 years.  While this bird list is a compilation of the bird sightings he has recorded in the Clovelly & Fish Hoek Valley from January 2006 to November 2011, it can also be used as a guide for bird watching in the South Peninsula.  His neat hand written data sheets of bird sightings and finely drawn graphs of the seasonal variation of species record his passion for birds and provide an extremely valuable record of information which spans decades.  Photo of Eric Barnes with some of his many record ledgers of bird sightings. 

Eric recalls that he has always been aware of birds, but it was only once he bought a pair of binoculars that his interest really developed. In 1966 he joined the Cape Bird Club, a branch of Birdlife SA and has been an active member of the Club’s Conservation Committee, and has shared his knowledge by writing articles for their magazine Promerops and for the press over the years.

Eric is a mine of bird information and can explain the relationships between many species, when or where to look for them and which birds are being seen less frequently and which more often.  Apart from his bird records for the Clovelly & Fish Hoek Valley, he has extensive records of bird sighting for other areas in the South Peninsula.  Wildevoelvlei and the abutting waste water treatment works used to be one of his favourite birding sites.  The value of his bird records is well illustrated by his accounts of seeing over 2000 coot on Wildevoelvlei at a single count in the past.  Then about 12 years ago, the bird numbers dropped so dramatically that he stopped recording birds at Wildevoelvlei. “There was no longer anything toEric Barnes with Clovelly & Fish Hoek Valley bird check list count., ” he explained.  He still does a monthly bird count at the waste water treatment works which is not a natural system, but ironically, is providing a better water bird habitat than the severely stressed Wildevoelvlei.  While the experts argue about the reasons for the dramatic change to Wildevoelvlei and the Authorities keep approving more development in the vlei’s catchment, Eric’s records are a classic Canary in the Coalmine.  They make a clear statement that the system is in trouble and it is unlikely that only birds have been affected!!!   RHS Photo of Eric pointing out the seasonal variations of bird species as well as the decline of sightings of some species over the years. 

On a happier note, Eric’s Bird Check List is a very special resource for all levels of birders.  It is a challenge for those of us who would personally like to see all the birds in our area – and perhaps find a new `mythical‘ bird not on the list.  It is also an excellent aid to identification. If we are uncertain about the ID of a particular bird, the list provides a guide of possible candidates – still quite a challenge with 127 birds on Eric’s  list.   Have Fun.  



Bird Check List:

Key:  C –  Common sighting;  B – Breeds locally;   I –  infrequently seen;   R  –  only a few sightings recorded;   AY –   all year sightings

Sporadic:    no specific pattern to sightings;    Summer:    Summer pattern to sightings;  Transient:  Seen flying overhead 

Birds common name (new name)

Comment /  date of sightings



Cape Francolin (Cape Spurfowl)   C      B AY
Helmeted Guineafowl   C      B AY
White Faced Duck Jan 2009 R  
Egyptian goose   C      B AY
Spurwing Goose Mainly winter from 2008 I  
African Black Duck   I  
Yellow Billed Duck   C AY
Greater Honey-guide 1 record Oct 2010 R  
Ground Woodpecker Sporadic 2006 – 2009 I  
Cardinal Woodpecker Sporadic in 2010 / Aug 2011 R  
Malachite Kingfisher   I  
Giant Kingfisher   I Sporadic
Pied Kingfisher   C AY
Speckled Mousebird Decreasing sightings I  
Klaas Cuckoo   C     B AY
Diderick Cuckoo 1 Record R  
Burchall’s Coucal Used to be common in Clovelly / seen again in 2010/ R  
Alpine Swift   C summer
African Black Swift   C summer
Little Swift Decreasing sightings I  
White-rumped Swift   C summer
Spotted Eagle Owl   C       B  
African Wood Owl Clovelly Garden in 2007 R  
Fiery – necked Nightjar   C Sporadic
Speckled Pigeon   C       B AY
African Olive Pigeon 1 record R  
Laughing Dove   C       B AY
Cape Turtle Dove   I  
Red-Eyed Dove   C AY
Common Moorhen   C       B AY
Red-knobbed Coot Less common in summer C       B  
African Snipe 3 records R summer
Greater Painted Snipe 1 record Feb 2006 R  
Water Dikkop  (Thick-knee) 1 record R  
Spotted Dikkop  (Thick-knee)   C       B  
African Black Oystercatcher   C  
Three-banded Plover 2 records Summer 2006 R  
Blacksmith Plover (Lapwing)   C AY
Crowned Plover (Lapwing) Sightings in 2006 & 2007 then none  – decreasing   Decreasing!
Kelp Gull   C AY
Grey-headed Gull 2 records in 2006 R  
Hartlaub’s Gull   C AY
Caspian Tern 1 record  Aug 2007 R  
Swift Tern Absent in Late winter C  
Sandwich Tern Feb, Mar 2006 R  
Common Tern 3 records R  
Black-shouldered Kite Decreasing sightings C       B sporadic
Black Kite 2 records Nov 2008 / Nov 2010 R  
African Fish Eagle flies down Valley I transient
Gymnogene / African Harrier Hawk  Increasing – More sightings in 2011 I  
African Goshawk Feb 2008 to Feb 2010 / jul 2011 I  
Red- breasted Sparrow Hawk (Rufous –chested Sparrow Hawk ) 1 record July 2008 R  
Black Sparrow Hawk   C       B  
Steppe Buzzard   C  
Jackal Buzzard   C  
Black Eagle (Verreaux’s Eagle) 2 records R transient
Booted Eagle 1 record R  
Rock Kestral   C AY
Peregrine Falcon   C  
Little Grebe (Dabchick) 3 records R  
Cape Gannet Seen fishing in the Bay C  
African Darter   C AY
Reed Cormorant   C AY
Crowned Cormorant   C AY
White- breasted Cormorant   C AY
Cape Cormorant   C AY
Little Egret   C  
Yellow-billed Egret Increasing frequency C AY
Grey Heron   C AY
Black-headed Heron   C AY
Purple Heron   C AY
Cattle Egret   C AY
Black-crowned Night Heron 5 records in Spring R  
Little Bittern Infrequent till 2011 increasing sightings I  
Glossy Ibis   I  
Hadeda Ibis   C      B AY
African Sacred Ibis   C AY
African Spoonbill   C AY
White Stork 2 records Feb 2010 / Oct 2011 R  
Fork-tailed Drongo 1 record Oct 2007 R  
African Paradise Flycatcher   C      B Summer
Southern Boubou   C      B AY
Bokmakierie   C      B AY
Cape Batis   C      B AY
Pied Crow   C AY
White-necked Raven   C AY
Common Fiscal Shrike   C      B AY
Brown-throated Martin   C       
Barn Swallow (European Swallow)   I Summer
White-throated Swallow   C       B Summer
Greater Stripped Swallow   C       B Summer
Rock Martin   C Summer
Black Saw-wing Swallow Decreasing occurrence I Summer
Cape Bulbul   C       B AY
Sombre Bulbul  (Sombre Greenbul) Used to be mainly summer now AY C AY
Cape Grassbird   C AY
Little Rush Warbler (African Sedge Warbler) Increasing sightings C       B? AY
African Reed Warbler   I Early Summer
Lesser Swamp Warbler (Cape Reed Warbler)   C       B? AY
Cape White-eye   C       B AY
Levaillant’s Cisticola   C       AY
Neddicky 1 record I  
Karoo Prinia (Spotted Prinia)   C       B AY
Cape Rock Thrush   I  
Olive Thrush   C AY
Fiscal Flycatcher 4 records 2009 – 11 I        B  
African Dusky Flycatcher   C AY
Cape Robin  (Cape Robin-chat)   C       B AY
Familiar Chat   I sporadic
Red-winged Starling   C       B AY
European Starling   C       B AY
Orange-breasted Sunbird Summer preference 2010 +11 AY C       B  
Malachite Sunbird   C       B AY
Lesser double-collared Sunbird   C       B AY
Cape Sugar-bird   C summer
Cape Weaver   C       B  
Southern-masked Weaver Mainly Winter, sometimes till Dec           B June- Dec
Common Waxbill   C       B AY
Pin-tailed Whydah   C sporadic
House Sparrow 2 records Feb + May 2008 R  
Cape Sparrow   C sporadic
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow 3 Records Mar 2008 / May Oct 2010 R  
Cape Wagtail   C AY
Common Chaffinch 6 records I  
Cape Canary   C       B AY
Brimstone Canary   C AY
Cape Bunting   C AY