Mike was born in KZN and grew up in the village of Kloof Near Durban. Following his marriage to Kathy, they lived there for another 20 years before moving to Cape Town where they settled for 15 years. They moved to Hermanus in 2004.
Mike spent his entire career in various capacities in the textile industry. His interest in birding was sparked some 30 years ago, when he and his young family holidayed in the Kruger Park. His three children and their families now reside in Surrey, UK, so he and Kathy get to travel there quite frequently. They have been members of the club for 13 years. Mike is taking on the important role of Treasurer
During his working career as an exploration geologist, Ronnie traveled to many parts of the world and had excellent opportunities to see all manner of exotic birds. Regrettably, he did not utilise these openings and only dabbled with birding in a very superficial way.
He only got really interested after retirement, when an ex-colleague took him and Renee to Namibia on a birding trip around 16 years ago. This was an eye-opener and the start of an ongoing love of birding. Whilst he has done some birding on other continents, his main area of interest is the Southern African birding area where, with a lot of hard work in the future, he hopes to progress his list to over 800 species. Whilst group birding trips can be informative, Ronnie and Renee prefer birding on their own, as this affords a better opportunity to come to grips with identification.
He says, “Taking over responsibility for the HBC blog will be a pleasure, as I first put Barbara on to the idea of a blog and helped her to set it up 5 years ago. I already have my own blog, started in 2010, and also publish the ‘HERBS’ blog on behalf of the Botanical Society. I will try to keep abreast of the club’s activities so that I can report on them, but will obviously be relying on members to submit their own stories and reports on club outings and achievements.”
John has recently returned to SA from the UK – as you will recall he was a member of the Committee prior to going to the UK. John was born in Twickenham and spent 40 years at Heathrow. He became interested in birds at age 8 when his mother gave him the Observers Book of British Birds and has not lost his passion for our friends, the birds. Apart from birds, John has a great interest in astronomy. He and his wife Irene first came to Hermanus in 2005 and have happily returned after their short time back in the UK. John will be looking after the Walks and Talks portfolio.
Monika von Oppell
Baroness Dr Monika von Oppell was born in Pretoria and is an esteemed academic. She developed a thinking skills curriculum into an Australian Private School before reporting the outcomes on the world stage. More recently she has been assisting in getting education reforms in Abu Dhabi where she researched the implementation, challenges and teachers belief. This has been written up in PhD research. She “retired” to Hermanus 2 years ago and loves the people, the environment and of course our wonderful birds. Monika joins the committee as Secretary.
Mariette was also born in Pretoria but was schooled and lived in Johannesburg till Matric. She spent 10 years in Holland before returning to SA to get married. She has lived in Cape Town for 35 years where she enjoyed hiking, gardening and visiting nature reserves all over SA – this is where she learnt to love birds. She is very actively involved in searching for and recording rock art in the Eastern Cedarberg with other likeminded people. Mariette is new to Hermanus and only arrived here in 2016 to be with her two children who have lived here for 10 years. She will be taking on the Public Relations and Events with Daphne Hutton.
Daphne is from Limpopo originally being a farm girl which is where her interest in the outdoors, wildlife and birds started. Moving on she lived in Mpumalanga and KZN before moving to the UK where she spent 10 years – however the draw of the bush and the sun called her back and she chose to settle in Hermanus – which she says is so rich in flora and fauna, birds and of course a wonderful lifestyle where wondering on the mountains and beaches makes for a relaxed and fulfilling life. She joins the committee with Mariette looking after PR and Events.