A Change in your Committee


Please note that Mariette Pitlo is standing down after having served a year on our committee.  Craig will have nomination forms available at the meeting tomorrow evening should anyone wish to make a nomination to replace her.

I just know that there are many people lining up to take this position, so be quick when you arrive at the Fernkloof Hall!

Club Meeting and AGM


Members are reminded that the AGM will be held on Wednesday 21 February.  This will follow immediately on a our regular meeting at which Duncan Butchart will speak on Garden Birds and present his book on this subject. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the reduced price of R200.

The meeting will commence at 6:30 pm, and will be followed by an opportunity to socialise over snacks and drinks.

The next monthly outing will be held on Thursday 1 March and will be to Haygrove Berry Farm, under the guidance of Mike Ford.  Participants should meet in the gravel parking area at Hemel’n’Aarde Village at 7:00 am

Two Months into the Challenge


Well, the first two months of the Challenge are over and there have been some good sightings by the participants.  These include Buff-spotted Flufftail (a very rare bird, seldom seen, but sometimes heard) Eurasian Hobby,  Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, and a number of rarities, such as Elegant Tern, Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater, Western Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Cuckoo and Sand Martin. Needless to say, this has taken many hours of patient searching by some members!

Leading the pack is Ronnie Hazell (693 points) followed closely by Lester and Cheryl van Groeningen (612 points) and Ed Meyer (462 points).  No doubt the March results will see a closing of the gap between the leaders and the rest of the field as it is becoming increasingly difficult to add new birds, once one has seen the more common ones.  One thing is certain and this is that the Challenge stimulates the participants to spend more time searching for birds in the Hermanus area, something that can only improve our local knowledge and add to our life lists.

Fernkloof pelicans

Pelicans flying over Fernkloof

Rooisand Outing


No less than thirty keen birders braved the strong wind this morning to go birding at Rooisand Reserve.  As expected the water levels were very low and, with the windy conditions, birds were few and far between, however, we managed to see 47 species, so it wasn’t too bad after all.  There was no sign of the White Wagtail, which created such stir a few weeks ago, nor did we see the much anticipated Osprey or Fish Eagle, but there were a couple of Cape Longclaws, and four Great Crested Grebes were spotted on the water.

The list included Bar-throated Apalis, Bokmakerie, Cape Bulbul, Common Buzzard, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Canary, Cape Cormorant, White-breasted Cormorant, Namaqua Dove, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Common Fiscal, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Common Greenshank, Hartlaub’s Gull, Kelp Gull, Black-headed Heron, Grey Heron, Sacred Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Hadeda Ibis, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kite, Cape Longclaw, Brown-throated Martin, Common Ringed Plover, Kittlitz’s Plover, Three-banded Plover, White-fronted Plover, Karoo Prinia, Cape Robin-Chat, African Spoonbill, Cape Spurfowl, Common Starling, Red-winged Starling, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Barn Swallow, Alpine Swift, White-rumped Swift, Cape Teal, Caspian Tern, Cape Turtle-Dove, Cape Wagtail and Common Whimbrel.

A few of the participants then stopped at the Hawston sewage ponds on the way home and added Marsh Harrier, Spotted Thick-Knee, Yellow-billed Duck, Intermediate Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Purple Heron, Little Grebe, Common Moorhen, Levaillant’s Cisticola and Lesser Swamp Warbler.  A great effort, bringing the total to 57 species!

Outing to Rooisand Reserve


Burchell’s Coucal at Rooisand

John Saunders will be leading this walk on Thursday 1 February.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 7:00 am to consolidate transport.

Rooisand has turned up a good number of birds this summer including some very rare vagrants, so be sure you don’t miss this outing.  Unfortunately, a lot of the water that was attracting the birds has dried up, but there should still be many species available.

River Rat


The last of the evening cruises was not that successful!  We had a lovely group who enthusiastically boarded the River Rat at 17h00. However, the wind gods decided that we should have strong winds inflicted upon us and going down stream was very rapid and the return slow with strong winds in our face. Nonetheless we did manage to get 31 species including wonderful Purple Swamphen sightings, Purple Heron, and four species of Kingfisher. Despite the wind, however, we all thoroughly enjoyed the outing – it’s always lovely to be on the water at Stanford.


HBC Sundowner Cruise on the ‘River Rat’


Despite the threatening clouds on Wednesday 24th January, a congenial group of 12 club members and a few friends enjoyed a wonderful sunset cruise on the Kleinriver Lagoon.  Some 45 bird species were seen, although we were unable to match the numbers seen by the morning cruise!  Water birds abounded, but some of the highlights were the good sightings of Purple Swamphen, Malachite and Giant Kingfisher and 5 raptor species, including an African Marsh Harrier. Sadly, the Martial Eagle did not oblige again, but well done to Ronnie for his photo of the Martial  and his excellent photos of the birds seen on the early morning cruise.