Club Meeting on Wednesday 18 May

Please note that there will be a club meeting at 6:30 pm at the Fernkloof Hall on Wednesday 18 May. The speaker will be Ronnie Hazell, who will present a talk at 7:00 pm entitled “6000 kms and 300 Birds” We look forward to seeing you there. Donations of R20 will be accepted when we enjoy a glass of wine before the talk.

Good Birding at Appel se Dam, Stanford

This morning Renee and I went to Appel se Dam in Stanford, as we had seen a report of a Fulvous Whistling Duck having been seen there. We were not disappointed and saw the bird immediately, albeit at a great distance. It was a very exciting sight, as it is well out of range and a real rarity in this part of the world.

We also saw White-backed Ducks, Yellow-billed Ducks, Common Moorhen, Red-billed Coot and African Darter. On recent visits to the site, there have been almost no birds, so we were very pleased with what we saw!

CWAC Results

Carin Malan, coordinator for Birdlife SA on the CWAC count thanked the 8 HBC observers for their contributions. Team A counted 32 species & 1256 birds on the mountain side of the Estuary. Team B , on the ocean side of the Klein River Estuary, worked hard to reach 17 species & 352 birds. Results for the Overberg estuaries are sent quarterly to Birdlife SA as part of an ongoing research project to monitor the waterbirds on our estuaries

Outing to Hasher Farm

Our outing to Hasher Farm (previously Summaridge) was attended by no less than 19 club members! How nice to see that things are getting back to normal. We met at the Wine Village in very cool conditions, but it soon warmed up, especially after a very warm welcome to the farm and the granting of permission to go where we wanted.

We split into two groups and set off full of optimism, however, for some strange reason we did not manage to identify more than 37 species. This did not deter us from our task, and we really enjoyed the outing which ended on the lawns outside the winery where we enjoyed our tea, before returning to Hermanus. It was an interesting outing as we have never previously birded on the estate and the conditions were perfect. We are indebted to Hasher for their hospitality!

Sharing Costs of Driving

Please be aware that the club still operates a system whereby drivers of vehicles used on outings should be reimbursed for fuel costs. We operate on a cost of R3 per kilometre to cover fuel only, so if four people share a car on a 60 km trip, then the cost per person is R45 each. Whilst this will never cover the actual running costs, we feel that it is only fair that those of us who constantly provide lifts, are getting some small return. The responsibility for recording distances lies with the driver.

CWAC Survey of Klein river Lagoon

Eight club members participated in the quarterly CWAC count of birds on the Klein river lagoon this morning. We were divided into two teams with John, Sheelagh, Mike Ford and Barbara Palmer doing the north bank, and Ed, Mike Kokot, Renee and Ronnie on the south, or beach, side. It was a beautiful morning to be out and we all enjoyed ourselves counting the various waterbirds that were present. Those on the north side obviously saw many more birds, but the beach side was also interesting, especially when we saw a flock of around 80 White-fronted Plovers together on the sand.

Not only were we counting waterbirds, but also trying to photograph as much of the natural life as possible so as to be able to load photographs onto iNaturalist for the International Bioblitz.

We ended up enjoying a cup of coffee at Dutchies, where the final counting took place. We await these details from Ed.

Thursday 5 May Walk

Our Bird Walk for Thursday 5 May will be at the Hasher Family Estate (a.k.a. Sumaridge Wine Farm) in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. We were invited by one of the owners, Céline Hasperslagh. The name “Hasher” is derived from combining Céline’s surname, Hashperslagh and her husband, Frederick’s surname, Herten. They hail from Belgium. The owners are keen on promoting the farm as a conservation area. There are various habitats, wetlands, open water (farm borders on De Bos Dam), vineyards, Fynbos, etc. Céline has offered a guide if necessary.

We meet at 07:30 at the east side parking of the Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Village (Opposite the entrance to Hemel-en-Aarde Estate where we will sort out rides and appoint people to tally the birds seen. The GPS coordinates for the Hasher Estate are: 34°22’02.9” S  19°15’18.9” E.

There is a picnic lawn where we might enjoy our sandwiches and coffee afterwards.

It would be useful to have some idea of numbers attending so please let Mike Kokot know if you intend coming (Mike Kokot or WhatsApp +27 82 4144814).

Masks required if you enter any of the buildings on the Estate.

Take care!

Mike Kokot

Walk coordinator

Possible Outing – Any Interest?

I can arrange Hilton Farm House half way between Stilbaai and Gouritz River mouth for three nights in October at a cost of R23400. It has 6 en suite rooms and can therefore sleep 6 couples or, since some rooms have three or four beds in them, it could accommodate 5 couples and 4 singles. For 6 couples the price is R650 pppn. Please indicate if there is any interest, so that I can get an idea of whether to proceed or not. I don’t want to make a reservation and then find that no one wants to go. Renee and I will certainly go, so that’s 2 people. The house is very spacious and is serviced. Check it out on the web.