Pied Starling

Grootvadersbosch – Day 4 (Road Side Birding)

This is the final part of my four part blog series documenting my vacation to Grootvadersbosch.

Saturday, we woke up and lay in bed a bit – until I read some e-mails on my phone and saw that there was a Marabou Stork located near Bredarsdorp, and while it was an extra 80 or so kilometers out of the way we were going to be going, I figured that it’d be a nice way to end off the holiday – a bad ass lifer. So I asked Cathryn to get ready as soon as possible and we’d then leave the Honeywood Farm and hit the open road again, and make a stop for the Stork. We managed to get in the car by 9:00 and we were soon on the road.


Rock Kestrel
Rock Kestrel

Rock Kestrel
Rock Kestrel
Black-Shouldered Kite
Black-Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite
Black Shouldered Kite

Just before passing through Suurbrak, we came across some Buzzards along the road side and we were back to the game of stop and shooting to try get some decent photographs. We managed to get a few shots, but we then moved on. A few kilometers down the road we came across a Rock Kestrel which entertained us a little bit. Soon we were off again, and after a short stop at the BP garage we were once again on the N2 and traveling towards Swellendam and ultimately Bredarsdorp.

A Black-Shouldered Kite, a common bird that we saw surprisingly little of on the way to Honeywood put in a short show for us along the road side too for a bit just before Swellendam. We drove through Swellendam shortly after and we were looking good to try see the Marabou Stork – then suddenly….

Jackal_Buzzard
Jackal Buzzard

Jackal_Buzzard
Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard
Jackal Buzzard

As we pulled away from another stop alongside the road, we heard the unmistakable sound of loose rubber. We luckily were right near one of the long stops and pulled over. I got out the car and looked at the back wheel, gone. The tyre had worn through to the metal and if you remember my post on day 1 of this journey, I was already borrowing a car and using a transferred tyre from my car on the current one, clearly it needed more. I got out the jack and the wrenches, and managed to loosen 2 of the 4 bolts, but the other two were just stripping the tools. We had to eventually call a road side assistance place in Swellendam to come out and give us some help. About an hour later, we were back on the road, with in excess of 200km to go if we took the shortest route and on a marie biscuit spare.

Cape Crow
Cape Crow

African Stonechat
African Stonechat

We could no longer twitch the Stork and had to take the path of least distance to get home, 200km already being more than a spare like that should be put under. What’s more is that we had to travel those 220km now, at 70km/h. But we continued on our way, making a few more stops along the road. If there was any consolation to the matter at hand, we did see a Black-Bellied Starling about 15km outside Swellendam.

Pied Starling
Pied Starling

Pied Starling
Pied Starling

Blue Crane
Blue Crane

We stopped at another rest area and got some great shots of Pied Starlings which were originally bathing in some of the puddles. The journey continued and we made a couple of more stops, one for lunch at a Steers in Riveirsondersend, our first take-aways in days – it was great.

We got back to Somerset West at 15:30, more than 6 hours after we had left the Honeywood Farm, but we had made it back alive and got some decent photographs along the way back.

There was obvious disappointment about leaving early and then missing out on the bird we had left early for. But things turned around quickly after a message I received later that evening, but that’s a whole ‘nother story which deserves a whole new post. I hope you enjoyed these blog posts about the vacation as much as I enjoyed the vacation itself.

This is the final installment of a 4 part blog series, you can view the other posts from this vacation here:

Grootvadersbosch – Day 1
Grootvadersbosch – Day 2
Grootvadersbosch – Day 3

Share This Article With Others:

Bryn De Kocks

Bryn is a passionate and opinionated antinatalist and naturalist with a love for nature, the ocean, photography, severe weather and music. He spends most of his time looking for new birds within the Western Cape, taking landscape photographs or behind his computer being a nerd.

2 thoughts on “Grootvadersbosch – Day 4 (Road Side Birding)

Leave a Reply