Gardens & wildlife on the Estate
Pearl Valley is celebrated for its scenic natural environment, with lush indigenous fynbos, ample trees, numerous lakes and an abundance of wildlife and birds. With the iconic African Fish Eagle, Spotted Eagle Owl, Malachite & Pied Kingfishers, Buzzards, Kites, Commerants, Coots and African Duck to name a few – the estate is a birder’s paradise. Maintaining this natural heritage is a priority and Pearl Valley currently has an indigenous vegetation coverage of 80% in residential and open areas.
Environmental Updates by Simon Allen.
Simon Allen has been working closely with Mike Westman. He has been helping us for the past 7 months gain our Aduban accreditation.
Owl Boxes at Pearl Valley
As part of our environmental strategy here at Pearl Valley and in partnership with our friends from Eagle Encounters, owl boxes have been put up across the estate. There already exists a current population of owls but by putting up owl boxes we encourage the owls to stay in the area and also to breed. There are 2 predominant owl species within our area being the Spotted Eagle Owl and the Barn Owl.
Overall the estate can accommodate about 20 owl boxes. Because these baby owls have been reared in a box they will seek out a box as a nest. Once they have claimed a box they will stay there forever as they are territorial and breed in the area.
Releasing Rehabilitated Owls Back into the Wild
In conjunction with our partners from Eagle Encounters, we have been releasing rehabilitated owls back into the wild. Eagle Encounters receives & rehabilitates birds of prey that have been injured, poisoned, abused or hand-reared. When they are fit, healthy and able to hunt and breed again they are released into the wild. Only hand-reared birds are kept for education purposes.
Our first 4 owls arrived in October 2015 and to date we have successfully released 9 Spotted Eagle Owls. When the owls arrive they are kept enclosed in a cage for about 2 weeks. They are fed daily and fresh water is supplied. After about 2 weeks we open the cage but still supply food and water daily. Eventually we start feeding less and less until the owls are self-sufficient and move out of the area.
Official Bird List
With no less than 132 different bird species officially recorded on the estate (855 different bird species are found in Southern Africa), Pearl Valley can be considered a bird sanctuary. Apart from the impressive diversity, vulnerable species such as the Black Harrier, Blue Crane and Great White Pelican are also found here. Please click here to download the official Pearl Valley Bird list, the result of a project carried out over several years and a recent official independent bird count. The list indicates the most likely areas for sightings and specie conservation status. We especially recognize the efforts of Dr. Rob Little from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute at the University of Cape Town, The Cape Bird Club, Evert Nel (former Pearl Valley Golf Club Captain), Joël Roerig and Chris Brunt for their assistance in the compilation of the list.
Berg River Rehabilitation
The Berg River forms the south-western border of the estate along a 1.2km stretch. Pearl Valley, in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, embarked on the Berg River Rehabilitation Project in 2014. Restoring this important river system benefits both the greater agricultural industry and surrounding communities. The removal of large swathes of alien vegetation (such as Port Jackson and Blue Gum) and re-introducing endemic indigenous species will have various benefits, including bank stabilization, flood attenuation and filtering surface flow run-off from adjacent lands. Pearl Valley successfully introduced more than 12,000 shrub and tree plantlings including yellowwood, wild peach, wild olive and wild almond on the estate’s riparian zone, covering 2.4 hectares.