Thick with Thick-Knees

 

A vacant plot in Eastcliff must have something going for it, at least as far as the world of Spotted Thick-Knees is concerned.  This morning, whilst out walking, I spotted no less than 12 of these birds sunning themselves in an area no bigger than 40m x 40m.  There may have been more – I only saw the ones that were standing and I did not get too close for fear of disturbing them.  I read that out of breeding season they form roosts of up to 70 birds, but this my first experience of this habit.               R Hazell.

Sp Thick_knee

Nests

 

You will recall our appeal for disused birds nests for the forthcoming stand at the Flower Festival in September.  Please remember to be on the lookout for nests as we need as many as possible.  If you have already got some nests in storage, please let Guy Redford know at 082 905 2365, so that he can pass this info on to Pat.

Paradise Flycatcher (2)

Paradise Flycatcher

Coming Events

 

Outing to Grootbos

On Thursday 6 July there will be a walk at Grootbos which will be led by a well-qualified member of the Grootbos staff.  It will take in both fynbos and forest habitats and should be a worthwhile birding experience.  Please meet at the parking area between the main road and the cliff path at Kraal Rock at 07:30am to consolidate transport.

IMG_2028

An ancient Milkwood at Grootbos

July Meeting

Mike Ford will talk on his experiences and work undertaken during his trip to Ethiopia. Don’t miss this talk which is bound to be one of the highlights of the year, and which will provide an insight into a fascinating country and the interesting birds that Mike was able to see and ring.

 

Keir Lynch – June Speaker

 

This month we will be privileged to have Keir Lynch addressing us at our monthly meeting on 21 June. His talk will be titled “Birds and Biodiversity –  Threatened Species in a Threatened Landscape.” and should be of interest to all members.

In his own words, “I have two decades of experience within nature conservation and have been privileged to work in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, Phinda Private Nature Reserve, Shamwari Game Reserve and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.  In 2012 I joined the CapeNature Biodiversity Stewardship Programme and was responsible for landscape conservation and protected area expansion in the Overberg region.  I left CapeNature to head into the frontlines of conserving threatened ecosystems by heading up a Watercourse Restoration Project for the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust, a project funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.  I am also the Chairperson of the Overberg Crane Group and an avid naturalist.  When not looking at birds I can be found searching for snakes underneath rocks or wading through wetlands in search of frogs.”

We look forward to a full turn out at this interesting meeting.

Beaumont Bird Walk

No less than 27 keen birders attended the walk at Beaumont Farm this morning.  We were ably led by Margie and Barbara, who had a pleasant three kilometre stroll arranged around some orchards and along the stream.  This enabled us to see 42 bird species on the farm, before enjoying our tea on the lawns.

Then some of us returned via the Swartrivier road to Hermanus. The list was augmented by a further 15 birds along this productive road, including sightings of 4 Denham’s Bustards, an unidentified Falcon and a couple of African Black Ducks, bringing the total for the trip to 57.

Beaumont Farm on Thursday 1 June

Please don’t forget that the monthly outing on June 1 will be at Beaumont Farm (Bot River) and will be led by Margie and Barbara.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 07h55, so that we can be away by 08h00.  Remember to bring refreshments, which can be enjoyed on the lawn, before returning via the Swartrivier road (for those so inclined).

Challengers will view this as an opportunity to augment their lists, which, by now, must be looking good!

Grootvadersbosch Away Trip

It started out as an outing for 20 members, but Cape Nature had a drainage problem and the numbers had to be reduced to 12.  The Palmers kindly agreed to camp, so in the end 14 of us set out on Monday.  Numbers continued to diminish for various reasons and by the time Wednesday evening came along, we were down to only 10.

We were very pleasantly surprised by the excellent accommodation available and looked forward to our first forest walk.  This took place on Tuesday morning, when we hiked for three and a half hours in desperate search of Trogons, Flycatchers and Turacos. Sadly, it was not to be – our total count for the forest reserve was only around 30 species, but we were well rewarded with an excellent sighting of a Barn Owl as well as large flocks of African Olive Pigeons – up to 40 or 50 birds on one occasion!

That afternoon some of us went up into the foothills of the Langeberg behind Heidelberg where we managed to add to our trip list. Unfortunately, the roads were very dusty and this, combined with a setting sun in our eyes, made for difficult birding.

On Wednesday eight of us visited the Bontebok Park outside Swellendam and were rewarded with good sightings, including African Marsh and Black Harriers. By the time we returned to Grootvadersbosch that evening our bird count was at 85, which was certainly more than any of us expected!  I managed to add another 24 species on the journey back to Hermanus, including a magnificent Martial Eagle near Bredasdorp.

As usual, catering was of a very high standard and we had three wonderful dinners! Being a small group also enabled us to get to know each other well, thereby meeting one of the objectives of such outings.