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Bird watching in Helderberg

November 16, 2012

The Helderberg is one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hot spots and is home to a remarkable variety of bird species and is a fantastic destination for enthusiastic birders. The Helderberg area has a wide diversity of birding habitats including the unique fynbos and magnificent wetlands. Popular birds include Lesser Collared Sunbird, Malachite Sunbird, Spotted Eagle Owl, Yellow Billed Duck and many more.

For birders who are able to schedule their bird watching tours, birding in the Helderberg is spectacular at the end of August. The best birding months follow in September, October and November.

Tips for bird-watching beginners:

  • Avoid wearing bright coloured clothes and wear clothes that blend well with nature as much as possible.
  • Turn your phone to silent
  • Avoid sudden movements, keep your voice down, and try not to point or move around too much.
  • Locate a good birding spot. The more invisible you are, the better bird watching experience you will have, as disturbing the birds just causes them to leave.
  • For best results try to keep still so as not to scare the birds into hiding. If you’re going out in the woods, wear boots and maybe leech socks to keep insects away.
  • Wearing a dark coloured hat isn’t just good for keeping warm, it can help camouflage you.
  • Be equipped with telescopes, binoculars and cameras for enhanced sight.
  • Use of a guide improves birding

Helderberg Nature Reserve

The Helderberg Nature Reserve is a well known birding spot in Somerset West. Opening times are:

1 November – 30 November: 07:30 – 19:00
1 December – 28 February: 07:30 – 20:00
1 March – 31 March: 07:30 – 19:00
1 April – 31 October: 07:30 – 17:30

The Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary

The Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary in Broadway Boulevard, opposite Victoria Road, in Somerset West offers bird watchers and wildlife photographers the opportunity of viewing many birds in their natural environment.

The sanctuary was formerly a wastewater treatment works located close to the Lourens River estuary. Today the 10 hectare (25 acre) site has become a natural wetland that is home to many coastal and wading birds, and it enjoys conservation status as part of the Lourens River Protected Natural Environments.

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