Gutsy group conquers gusty wind

A group of 17 club members overcame the gusty wind, cold, cloudy conditions and even light rain to turn the May midweek visit to the Robertson area into two enjoyable days of birding.

The group was based at Pat Busch private nature reserve in Klaas Voogds West, lying among the scenic foothills of the Langeberg Mountains, and visited Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve and Van Loveren wine farm.

Despite the weather conditions, the group managed to identify 71 bird species. Two of the highlights were a Tambourine Dove and a Southern Tchagra.


June activities

A walk in the Fernkloof Reserve and an evening when members share their experiences have been arranged for June.

On Thursday morning 5th June we meet at the Fernkloof Reserve hall at eight for a walk in the gardens and mountains led by Lee Burman. She not only knows the area and its birds very well, but also has a very good knowledge of the plants to share with interested participants. If it should rain, please feel free to stay in bed.

Our popular annual Members’ Evening will be on Wednesday 18th June in the Fernkloof Reserve hall. The highlights will be four short presentations. Gavin and Cynthia Turner will tell us about their birding trip to New Zealand; Lee Burman about her visit to Botswana; Graham and Barbara Palmer about their trip around South Africa; and Ronnie Hazell about his visit to Swaziland. The evening begins at seven and ends with tea, coffee and biscuits.

New topic for May: Birding in KZN

The topic for the Hermanus Bird Club meeting on Wednesday 21 May has changed. Mike and Helen MacNaught will share with club members and visitors their experiences in KwaZulu-Natal.

They have kindly agreed to bring their presentation forward from August to allow Dale Wright, the scheduled speaker for May, to recover fully from eye surgery. His talk on Birdlife South Africa’s conservation programmes has been moved to August.

As usual, the meeting, in the Fernkloof Reserve hall, starts at seven (19:00).

Next Mike Ford course


Mike Ford is going to be doing another of his excellent special courses. The title is Difficult Species – Key Identification Factors. This will be held on the 11th and 12th September between 9 and 12 each day. The cost is R110.00 for members. If you wish to attend please email Craig Holmes at and he will confirm participation on a first come first served basis.

May Activities

Thursday 1st May – Morning outing to Hawston View Road and Van der Stel Pass. A group of 24 birders, led by Lee Burman, went on this pleasant outing via Karweiderskraal Road and Swartrivier Road, counting over 70 species, including Denham’s Bustard and Namaqua Dove.

27 – 29 May – Outing to Pat Busch Mountain Reserve in Robertson. Fully booked.

May evening meeting on the 21st at 19:00 at Fernkloof – Dale Wright, Western Cape Regional Conservation Manager of Birdlife South Africa, on “Soaring to new heights”.

Albatross deaths down by 99% in local trawl fishery

A great achievement for BirdLife South Africa’s efforts in reducing seabird deaths in the SA trawl fishery. In 2008 it was estimated that 18 000 birds were dying in this fishery each year. In April 2014, BirdLife South Africa released a paper that reports on how that figure has changed. It’s pretty dramatic – for all seabirds the reduction is of the order of 90%, but for albatrosses its more like 99% fewer mortalities. This is thanks to the Albatross Task Force team’s efforts, and a very cooperative fishery that worked with the ATF to ensure the risks were addressed. The fishery has Marine Stewardship Council certification, and that was an important factor in ensuring this fantastic outcome.  Read more icon Trawl seabird figures 2014 (119.39 kB)