On Saturday, Vilis and I hiked a 16-kilometre loop from our apartment on the Rhodes University campus in Grahamstown through Featherstone Kloof, a long, steep-sided valley just over the high ridge south of 1820 Settlers National Monument.

Featherstone Kloof (© Vilis Nams)

Featherstone Kloof (© Vilis Nams)

Highlights of the hike included long views, wildflowers, fynbos-covered hills, a very large millipede, and pockets of riverine forest that resounded with the songs of woodland birds. We didn’t hurry, and I added four new South African birds to my life list: a green-backed cameroptera carrying nesting material in the patch of forest shown in the photo above; a Cape grassbird that skulked in rank vegetation along a drainage line; a Cape sugarbird in fynbos; and a male swee waxbill (gorgeous!) in a copse of shrubs alongside the trail. All in all, a fantastic hike! I haven’t yet bought a South African wildflower guide, so if anyone out there can identify the flowers in the photos below, I’d love to know what they are. Leave me a comment below or e-mail me via my Contact link. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)

Wildflower (© Magi Nams)

South African Wildflower (© Magi Nams)

Wildflower (© Magi Nams)

South African Wildflower (© Magi Nams)

Fynbos and Blooming Protea (© Magi Nams)

Fynbos and Blooming Protea (© Magi Nams)

South African Millipede (© Vilis Nams)

South African Millipede (© Vilis Nams)

Cape Sugarbird (© Vilis Nams)

Cape Sugarbird (© Vilis Nams)

Female African Stonechat (© Magi Nams)

African Stonechat Female (© Magi Nams)

 

 

 

Featherstone Kloof (© Vilis Nams)

Trail Through Featherstone Kloof (© Vilis Nams)

My bird sightings: Hadeda ibis, red-winged starling, red-eyed dove, fork-tailed drongo, speckled pigeon, olive thrush, African hoopoe, crowned lapwing, neddicky, African stonechat, brimstone canary, helmeted guineafowl, *green-backed cameroptera, greater double-collared sunbird, *Cape grassbird, *Cape sugarbird, malachite sunbird, Knysna turaco, *Swee waxbill, southern tchagra, amethyst sunbird, common fiscal, Cape rock-thrush.

Hiking up out of Featherstone KIoof (© Vilis Nams)

Hiking up out of Featherstone KIoof (© Vilis Nams)

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