August activities

Birding in the Elgin area, some wine tasting and a talk on the next Bird of the Year have been organised for August.

The monthly morning outing will be to Jessie Walton’s farm near Elgin on Thursday 7th August. We depart from Onrust Trading Post at 08:00. The outing will include a visit to Iona, where we will help them create a bird list and taste their wine (optional). Bring some mid-morning refreshments.

The highlight of our monthly evening meeting on Wednesday 20th August will be a talk by Wicus Leeuwner on the Blue Crane, Birdlife South Africa’s Bird of the Year for 2015. The meeting starts at 19:00 and will end with tea, coffee and biscuits. 

Birds have a pecking order for fruits

Birds seem to favour red and black fruits according to an investigation published in Scientific Reports. These are the most common colours of fruits that are chiefly dispersed by birds; thus, the observations suggest that fruit colours have evolved, to some extent, to attract birds.

Rui-Chang Quan and colleagues evaluated the preferences of four species of fruit-eating birds from southern China for artificial and natural ripe fruit of five different colours. Artificial fruits were made from a mixture of apple, pear, banana, wheat and corn flour, and were dyed black, red, yellow, green or blue, matching the colours of the natural ripe fruits used. They found that both wild-caught and hand-reared birds had a consistent and strong preference for black and/or red colours, which are most common in the region, and avoid the uncommon colours, such as artificially and naturally green fruits.

Original article

Please help with fynbos birds

 

Club members have been asked to help with research on fynbos birds which may contribute to conserving these precious birds.

Anina Heystek of the University of Stellenbosch appealed to members at the monthly meeting on Wednesday 16 July to supply information on the birds, plants and bird feeders they have in their gardens, by completing a questionnaire that would take about 20 minutes. 

The questionnaire can be found at http://academic.sun.ac.za/botzoo/heystek/Sunbirds-questionnaire.htm and should be completed before 31 October 2014. For more information, contact Anina at gardensunbirds@gmail.com

 

Duinepos Itinerary

 

Duinepos  – here we come again!!

We have arranged another outing to Duinepos – one of the HBC’s favourite spots in the West Coast National Park.

The dates of the outing are from the 12th to the 15th October BUT if you wish to stay until the 17th – an extra 2 nights – there will be no charge! So you can stay for 5 nights for the cost of

The accommodation is as usual in a two bedroom unit with bathroom and a lounge/dining room/kitchen. The accommodation is very comfortable.

The cost is R795.00 per person – so if you stay for the 5 nights its R159.00 per person per night!!

As usual the HBC will arrange the daily activities for the first three days and we will set up the braai each of the first three evenings.  The additional evenings will be played by ear by those staying longer.

We will be creating teams for the evening meals and the teams will create a starter, salad/potatoes and a dessert for the first three evenings. The teams will be advised later. We will all  have to bring our own meat to braai in the evenings as well as we will each do our own breakfast and make our lown lunches. Naturally you will have to bruing along your own refreshments!!

You will need Wild Cards to get into the reserve free – if you don’t have one the usual fees will be applied on entry to the Park 

Space is available on a first come first served basis.

Upon confirmation we would require a 50% deposit and the balance by 15 September. If you book and cancel we will do what we can to get someone to fill your space – if we can’t and cancellation  fees apply we will do what we can to arrange a refund but we cannot guarantee that we will succeed.

Want to come along – contact Craig on pcsholmes@telkomsa.net right away.

 

Duinepos Outing

Our next outing is to be from Oct 12 to 15 with free extra two nights available. Full details are being mailed today. The cost is R795 pp and is on a first come first served basis.

Sunny birding at Stanford

In the face of predicted gale-force winds, heavy rains and even snow, a group of 18 club members experienced a lovely, sunny Thursday morning birding in Stanford.

A walk on the bank of the Klein River and a visit to the hide at the local dam produced a count of 45 birds, including a Giant Kingfisher, Purple Heron, African Goshawk, African Swamphen and Black Crake.

African Swamphen at Stanford dam.

African Swamphen at Stanford dam.

Dead birds on beach

The breaching of the Klein River lagoon last weekend apparently caused the death of a number of Red-knobbed Coots.

At least eight dead coots and a cormorant were spotted on Grotto beach this week after the lagoon had breached last Friday late afternoon. They seem to have been washed out onto the beach with reeds and other debris from the lagoon.

Club expert Mike Ford said a large number of coots were swept out to sea by the force of the water when the lagoon breached on a previous occasion. Some were rescued but about a hundred drowned then.

 

Drowned Red-knobbed Coot on Grotto beach.

Drowned Red-knobbed Coot on Grotto beach.