The Harold Porter National Botanical Garden serenely set between the mountains and the sea presents good opportunities for bird watching, with 88 species recorded on it's bird list. A visit to the area makes a much greater list than this possible, including the Jackass Penguin, because many other habitats such as sandy and rocky sea shores, estuaries and lakes are found in close proximity to the Garden.
OPEN MOUNTAIN SLOPES
The fynbos covered mountain slopes in the natural area of the Garden provide wonderful views over Betty's Bay and the sea and you may be lucky enough to see a Black Eagle or Jackal Buzzard soaring overhead, or closer to hand you may be fortunate enough to see the rare Protea Canary. This habitat is also home to the charming but untidy Grassbird, the Cape Rock Thrush and the Ground Woodpecker.
STREAMS AND FORESTS
Along the streams and dams enclosed by montane forests in the gorges, the bird watcher may catch a glimpse of the shy African Black Duck or the noisy Giant Kingfishers. Along the forest edges one will often see the dainty but unobtrusive Dusky Flycatcher, quite often at close quarters. In summer the striking dark-mantled, orange Paradise Flycatcher builds it's beautifully constructed well camouflaged nest in the branches overhead.
In the cultivated Garden one can almost always be rewarded with views of the brightly metallic-coloured male Orange-breasted Sunbird (a fynbos endemic), or the Lesser Doublecollared Sunbird and their cryptically coloured mates, flitting about the Ericas and Leucadendrons. The male Cape Sugarbird can be seen flirting his long tail to chase off competitors and attract a mate, who is usually more interested in foraging amongst the Proteas for nectar. The Olive Thrush may be seen busily scratching amongst the fallen leaves while the cocky Cape Robin can be seen nearly everywhere, especially where weeding or planting has taken place.