Outing to De Mond


The outing to De Mond will take place on Thursday 9 November.  Please meet at Fernkloof at 07h00 and remember to bring food and drinks for the longish day, bearing in mind that it will take around two hours just to get there.  The walk (2-3 hours?) will be led by Chris Cheetham and Mike Ford in two separate parties.  Recent participants in the Waders course presented by Faansie Peacock will be able to hone their ‘wader skills’ on this outing!



At De Mond

Waders with Faansie Peacock


Around 40 birders attended the course on Waders presented by Faansie Peacock at the Fernkloof hall today.  He used illustrations from his book as well as many excellent photographs to highlight the diagnostic features which distinguish these often cryptic birds.  By the end of the day everyone present was no doubt full of new knowledge and could not wait to get into the field and put their new skills to the test.

Faansie is an outstanding birder, author, artist and teacher and it was a privilege to be able to spend time with him.  Those who did not attend have missed a wonderful opportunity to expand their birding knowledge.

HBC – Twenty Years Young!


Tonight we celebrated our twentieth birthday.  Founder members were presented with certificates commemorating their loyalty to the club and there were many members present to enjoy the party and have a glass of wine with these elder citizens!

Then Faansie Peacock gave us a presentation quite unlike any we have ever had before, when he regaled us with his version of what makes birders tick. I was a hilarious account of what we do and why we do it and it certainly had a real ring of truth throughout!  There were many of us who recognised exactly who he was talking about!


Lee Kathy and Vanessa


The recipients with Craig and Mike




Challenge area 2

Challenge Areas

Here are the rules for 2017/8 Challenge. Enjoy the challenge to yourself to see what you can see and identify in the five months from the 1st December 2107 to 30th April 2018


The Challenge is to be run within the boundaries set out in the map.

All five areas are active from December to April and participants must see or hear as many birds in each area.

There are five spreadsheets – one for each area.

The maps are considered sufficient for participants to be able to identify the area boundaries without any further description.

The club outings will be in the area so it’s in your interest to participate if you can

As many species of wild birds as possible must be positively identified by sight or sound by individual members.

Species have been given different values to encourage members to look for the more elusive species. Where a sighting is a vagrant or out of range bird please try to photograph when possible and submit these with your monthly lists. Any ID problems should be referred to Mike for verification.

Birds seen from the shore are eligible – no offshore or pelagic boat trip sightings are eligible.

Each month end you need to submit your lists to Graham Palmer at grahampalmer@telkomsa.net who will complete the score sheets.

There will be an overall winner announced at the end but there are no prizes, just the “brag factor”.

FNR Objections


Please feel free to copy and paste my letter should you so wish.  Just replace my name with yours and send it in, so that it can be lodged as another objection.

Please Prevent Fernkloof being turned into a Theme Park

Many readers are no doubt aware of the current proposals for the so-called upgrades to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve (FNR).  These can be viewed at the following website:  https://www.overstrand.gov.za/en/documents/strategic-documents/management-plans/4727-integrated-management-plan-for-the-fernkloof-nature-reserve-hermanus

The public is urged to lodge objections, as this development is likely to cause huge damage to the FNR.  These can be sent to ldevilliers@overstrand.gov.za

My own response (which has been registered) was;

As a member of the Hermanus Botanical Society and a keen walker, amateur botanist, photographer and birder, I wish to state my strong objection to the plans presented for the further development of Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

This reserve is world-renowned for its dedication to preserving the integrity of our natural heritage and serves as a window into the fascinating flora and fauna of the region.  All it requires in terms of future development is the retention and upkeep of its wonderful network of paths, which allow the public to wander freely and enjoy and discover nature at its best.  Trying to convert it to some form of theme park is abhorrent to all nature lovers and the idea of cableways and cafes reflects a mindset which is completely at odds with the original Fernkloof ideals.

I cannot stress strongly enough the antipathy which your proposals generate within the community of Hermanus nature lovers, be they birders, botanists, zoologists or whatever, and I urge you and your colleagues who are responsible for this new plan to think again and withdraw your proposals, in favour of retaining the present state of FNR, but with better attention to the maintenance of the paths so that more people are able to enjoy our wonderful heritage in safety and comfort.

K R Hazell


Birders may be interested in attending this potentially interesting talk at U3A.

 Thursday 12 October in the Municipal Auditorium at 17.30

 Why scientists and politicians disagree about manmade global warning

 Very recently the US Government caused a furore when the country was withdrawn from the Paris Accord on climate change. U.S. Government spokespersons cited the cost of measures proposed and that likely benefits did not warrant such expenditure. The controversy revealed deep differences of opinion about the science that lies behind this crucial issue. U3A is privileged to host the distinguished South African physicist Dr Don Mingay whose presentation will focus on the theory of manmade global warming.

Dr Mingay has worked at the UK Atomic Energy Authority Research Establishment at Harwell, The International Atomic Energy Authority in Vienna and here in South Africa at Pelindaba.  He has published more than 100 scientific papers in recognised scientific journals. For the last 15 years he has taken a very active interest in energy production and its relationship with the ongoing debate on climate change and the environment.

For some years politicians and the media have accepted that the earth will experience catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) unless the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) arising from the use of fossil fuels is drastically reduced. Dr Mingay will review the scientific evidence for the CAGW hypothesis. He will discuss atmospheric CO2, sea level changes, ocean acidification, extreme weather events, how polar bears are faring, the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps and other related topics.

This will be a rare opportunity to hear a clear exposition of what the Paris Accord is all about.  And why many distinguished scientists, like Dr Mingay, are so concerned that attempts to question the CAGW hypothesis are met with the response that ‘the science is settled’.

Come along and judge for yourself.