Grahamstown and surrounds – Grahamstown Quarry
About the Birding
The Grahamstown Quarry has become famous in recent years as the most accessible location at which to see the impressive Cape Eagle-owl. A pair of birds has nested here since at least 2009 but remain in the quarry to roost year-round. The quarry also supports resident Mocking Cliff Chats and Cape Bunting. A 2-hour visit should be sufficient to find these species though, importantly, the Eagle-owls are not always visible. The best approach to finding the owls is to scan the shaded walls of the quarry but be warned that their plumage is incredibly camouflaged.
About the Birding Site
The small settler town of Grahamstown, located just 130Km from Port Elizabeth and 158km from East London, has an incredibly rich cultural history and is primely situated at the ecotone between several key habitats in the Eastern Cape. The town itself serves as a fantastic base from which to access forest, grassland, karoo, and thicket habitats and well over 400 species have been recorded from the area. Key species include the Knysna Woodpecker, Chorister Robin-chat, both Knysna and Barratt’s Warblers, Knysna Turaco, both Eastern and Cape Clapper Larks, Northern Black Korhaan, White-bellied Bustard and Hottentot Buttonquail.
Other Related Information
The Grahamstown quarry is accessible from -33.3161, 26.5144 below the Rhodes University Art Department. Follow the gravel track to the south for roughly 1km to reach the quarry, passing a small dam and stream. Should the gate be locked at the aforementioned location, use the small trail below the dam and enter through the designated gap in the fence at roughly -33.3166, 26.5145.