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Like many other sewage works in southern Africa, the Paarl Bird Sanctuary, managed by the Paarl Municipality, attracts a wide variety of waterfowl. Together with the waterfowl the reserve is also home to a number of species associated with the thicker vegetation growing on the northern and western sides as well as a number of local and national rarities.



Hartlaub's Gull, Grey-headed Gull, Cape Shoveler, African Black Duck, Lesser Swamp-Warbler, African Rail, Little Bittern



The Bird Sanctuary holds open water, reedbeds and denser thicket on the fringes.



A good gravel road allows access to all parts of the Sanctuary as well as a number of hides overlooking the open water.



Open water on some of the larger ponds hold large numbers of waterfowl including Cape Shoveler, Maccoa Duck, Southern Pochard, Cape Teal, African Black Duck and Black-necked Grebe. On the edges, check for the diminutive Malachite Kingfisher darting from reedbeds. The largest pond holds both Greater Flamingo and Lesser Flamingo as well as breeding Hartlaub's Gull and Grey-headed Gull.

Reedbeds surrounding the hides hold Levaillant's Cisticola, Cape Weaver, African Reed-Warbler, Little Rush-Warbler and Lesser Swamp-Warbler.

Time spent in the hides watching the reedbeds may be rewarded with views of African Purple Swamphen, Black Crake, Little Bittern and African Rail.

A heronry on the eastern side of the Sanctuary holds breeding African Darter, Cattle Egret and Grey Heron. Birders present in the early morning or late afternoon might be rewarded with views of Black-crowned Night-Heron returning or leaving their roosts.

The shoreline of many of the ponds hold a number of wading species including Three-banded Plover, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Water Thick-knee.

The thicker alien vegetation on the western and northern sides of the reserve hold species such as Swee Waxbill, African Dusky Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher.

Check the skies above the ponds for Brown-throated Martin, White-rumped Swift, Greater Striped Swallow, Pearl-breasted Swallow and a number of birds of prey including African Fish-Eagle, African Goshawk and Black Sparrowhawk.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary has had its fair share of rarities and local vagrants in the last few years. The Sanctuary has played host to both local and national rarities such as an American Purple Gallinule, Goliath Heron and Greater Painted-snipe.



Paarl Bird Sanctuary is located on the northern side of the town of Paarl.

From Cape Town, take the first turn off into Paarl, follow Main Rd, and then turn right into Berg River Blvrd. Follow the road through 2 traffic circles past Paarl Hospital. At a T-junction with Optenhorst Street, turn right. Over the bridge the road becomes Oosbosch. Turn Left into Drommedaris and follow the signs to the sanctuary.

Or from N1 from Cape Town take 3rd off ramp onto Jan van Riebeeck Drive (R303). Continue through the traffic circle, and then turn left into Oosbosch Street, and right into Drommedaris Street (almost opposite a BP Garage). From here follow the signs to the sanctuary.

Andrew Hester 2001.

Oude Denneboom
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