Spring is here

 

Birdwatchers will be happy with the return of our migrant birds.  This weekend I heard Red-chested and Klaas’ Cuckoo and also saw Diederick’s Cuckoo, Greater Striped Swallow, Yellow-billed Kite and White Stork.  On a trip to the Breede River, we saw 73 species in the Potberg area.

Now, if only the weather would warm up a bit, we might actually believe that what the birds are telling us about the seasons is true!

Ronnie

HBC Stand at the Fernkloof Flower Festival

 

This is our stand which is wonderful. We have nests of all sizes and Mike Ford has been there helping to identify which nest belongs to which species.

A huge thanks to Pat and Guy Redford who have designed the stand, made and decorated the stand and erected it. A thanks too to Vuyo who helps Guy.

Please be sure to visit the Festival and visit our stand – you will be proud to be a member of the HBC. Again BIG thanks to the Redfords and to all who contributed nests and pictures!

Craig

Beach Breeding Birds

 

A request from Anton Odendal:

Dear all,

Hope this finds you all well.

We have just launched our first project resulting from the BirdLife Overberg workshop presented earlier this month. It will be appreciated if all of you who find African Black Oystercatchers and White-fronted Plovers that are breeding or raising chicks along the Overstrand beaches report it with an email to birding@overberg.co.za Kindly also provide the GPS coordinates of the nest sites and ensure that the birds are not disturbed – do not go within 30 yards from the nests and keep dogs on leashes.

Also consider forwarding this to all like-minded people or organisations that might be in a position to assist with this.

We have posted an article with illustrations on what we are trying to achieve with this project at the link below. Kindly read this and assist us as far as you can.

http://www.westerncapebirding.co.za/overberg/news/2370/kindly_assist_by_locating_beach_breeding_birds

Kind regards.

Anton

2018 Outing – Redstone Hills and Die Hel

 

We have arranged for a special trip away and this is notice long in advance. This is due to the difficulty in getting accommodation and stringent reservation protocols by Cape Nature.

Brush

The itinerary is as follows:

May 7th  Make our way to Calitzdorp and on to Redstone Hills where we will spend the next two nights. We will explore the farm and the area around the farm looking for the many species in the area. On our last visits we have managed to see over 70 species

May 9th  We will leave Redstone Hills and make our way up the Swartberg Pass – at the top we will turn left and head off for Die Hel – a two hour drive part of which is a very steep and winding road down to Die Hel and our accommodation in the Cape Nature restored cottages.

We will spend the next two days exploring this amazing place – birding is difficult but I am sure we will have some good sightings.

As usual we will share accommodation and we will make sure that we have braais ready to cook on each evening.  We will have catering teams to ensure that the evening meals have salads etc each evening. You would need to bring your own breakfast and lunches and of course drinks and meat for the braais.

The road down to Die Hel is a gravel road and it is recommended that vehicles with high clearances only use the pass. Having said that I have seen VW Golf’s in the valley but higher ground clearance would be clever.

The price of this trip is R1025.00 pp – or R256.25 per night – a bargain say I – BUT I do need a 50% deposit upon confirmation as I have to make payment to Cape Nature and Redstone Hills. If you are under 60 I am afraid the price will change as this is senior citizens rate. I will also need valid Wildcard numbers with the bookings please – no Wildcard means that there is a Conservation fee to be paid.

Bookings are on a first come first served basis.  Contact Craig at pcsholmes@telkomsa.net

Bumper October Meeting and Wader Course

 

Our 18 October meeting will kick off with an early start at 6:15 pm, so as to give us time to honour the founder members of the club – those who were present when it was formed in October 1997 – and they will be presented with Certificates marking their twenty year commitment to the club.

Faansie Peacock will be our guest speaker at the meeting which is at 7:00 pm.  He will be presenting a comedic look at what makes a birder tick (no pun intended!).

Then on the following day (Thursday 19 October) he will present his course on Waders – see the flyers below.  This will be limited to 40 persons and will start at 9:30 for 10:00 am. There will be 2 modules in the morning followed by a lunch break (attendees are asked to bring their own lunch and drinks) and then an afternoon session.  The cost will be R110 per person and those interested must please sign up with Craig asap at pcsholmes@telkomsa.net

The course should be completed by 3:00 pm

Little Ringed Plover – a mega-rarity!

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Vermont Pan has a habit of every so often producing an interesting rarity. Today (Monday) it was a Little Ringed Plover. I was playing golf this afternoon when Sheelagh phoned me to say she’d seen an email from Trevor Hardaker (Rare Birds News) alerting birders to the presence of a Little Ringed Plover at Vermont Pan. She had already seen it and was going back with her camera. So as soon as I’d finished my game, I shot off home to collect Sheelagh, my camera, and binos – no time for the 19th hole!

Fortunately the bird was still there when we got to the Pan. On the South side in the rocks in the shallows, mixing with Three Banded Plovers-but quite distinctive, with a yellow eye ring and pinkish legs. A dozen or so birders in attendance, including Trevor and others from Cape Town.

What makes this rarity interesting is that it is only the third sighting in Southern Africa, and the first in the Western Cape! It is normally resident in North Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Often when we, in the Overstrand, hear of rarities, they are a long way off. But here we have one at Vermont Pan, right on our doorstep. No knowing how long it will stay, but certainly worth looking for. It was on the south side of the Pan, slightly west of that parking area.

Article and image by       John Bowman

Last Appeal for Nests

 

Please remember that we want lots of nests (but only abandoned ones) for our stand at the Fernkloof Flower Festival.  Pat Redford will be constructing our stand and asks that you please bring them to the meeting on Wednesday evening (13 Sept at 5:30 pm).  There is a good chance that the recent high winds will have caused some to be blown down, so it is an ideal time to see what you can find.