The day Number One led the Club walk


It was a lovely morning in the Elgin Valley – mild sunshine with little wind. Spring was clearly approaching. The birds were chirping, and the birders were chirpy.

Zuma Ford (2)

Number One in the Waltons’ house during the birding walk.

Then something strange happened. Out of the blue a man looking exactly like the South African President appeared among the twenty Hermanus Bird Club members enjoying the walk on Jessie and Ian Walton’s farm.

Mike Ford, who led the walk with Jessie, was nowhere to be seen, and the newcomer seemed to have taken over the leadership. Then he disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. And there was Mike back again, smiling. Someone noticed a discarded ANC T-shirt on a chair.

The walk was a great success. The group identified 58 bird species, which is quite respectable for late winter.

Jakkalsvoël, rooibors (Buzzard, jackal) 160804 Elginvallei 672A0324-2

The breeding pair of Jackal Buzzards (Rooibors-jakkalsvoëls) on their nest. Image by Charles Naudé

One of the highlights was the sight of the breeding pair of Jackal Buzzards (Rooibors-jakkalsvoëls), leaving and returning to their nest in the trees next to the upper dam on the farm.

Their previous nest, on a branch near the water’s edge, had been occupied by squatters, in the form of Egyptian Geese (Kolganse), so they built a new nest higher up, with a better view.

Then there were some Little Bitterns (Kleinrietreiers) at one of the lower dams. And in the sky was a melanistic (all black) Black Sparrowhawk (Swartsperwer), and what is known as a Cape, Elgin or Mystery Buzzard (Kaapse Jakkalsvoël).

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