Outing to Rooisand Reserve

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Burchell’s Coucal at Rooisand

John Saunders will be leading this walk on Thursday 1 February.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 7:00 am to consolidate transport.

Rooisand has turned up a good number of birds this summer including some very rare vagrants, so be sure you don’t miss this outing.  Unfortunately, a lot of the water that was attracting the birds has dried up, but there should still be many species available.

River Rat

 

The last of the evening cruises was not that successful!  We had a lovely group who enthusiastically boarded the River Rat at 17h00. However, the wind gods decided that we should have strong winds inflicted upon us and going down stream was very rapid and the return slow with strong winds in our face. Nonetheless we did manage to get 31 species including wonderful Purple Swamphen sightings, Purple Heron, and four species of Kingfisher. Despite the wind, however, we all thoroughly enjoyed the outing – it’s always lovely to be on the water at Stanford.

Craig

HBC Sundowner Cruise on the ‘River Rat’

 

Despite the threatening clouds on Wednesday 24th January, a congenial group of 12 club members and a few friends enjoyed a wonderful sunset cruise on the Kleinriver Lagoon.  Some 45 bird species were seen, although we were unable to match the numbers seen by the morning cruise!  Water birds abounded, but some of the highlights were the good sightings of Purple Swamphen, Malachite and Giant Kingfisher and 5 raptor species, including an African Marsh Harrier. Sadly, the Martial Eagle did not oblige again, but well done to Ronnie for his photo of the Martial  and his excellent photos of the birds seen on the early morning cruise.

Ed.

South Africa’s Penguins

 

If we don’t act now, South Africa’s penguins may become extinct. There are only two major penguin colonies in the country, on the West and East coasts of South Africa, with 600 kilometres separating them. Without anywhere else to go, a threat to either area could do serious damage to the population. In an attempt to bridge the gap between the locations and spread their breeding areas, Christina Hagen is working to establish artificial colonies on the South Coast…………..

To see the full story go to  https://www.beautifulnews.co.za/stories/christina-hagen

 

The World’s Oldest Wild Bird

 

“There was huge excitement last week at the Midway Atoll Bird Refuge in the South Pacific, when 67 year old Laysan Albatross, named Wisdom, appeared once again and commenced breeding with her long-term partner.

Wisdom was first ringed on Midway as a 5 year old in 1956 by seabird ornithologist Chandler Robbins and has been returning regularly ever since, raising a chick most years. She is thus the world’s oldest known wild bird.

Midway Atoll is the largest albatross breeding colony in the world and is home to more than 70% of the world’s Laysan Albatrosses.

Considering the hazards posed by long-line fishing boats and plastic ingestion Wisdom appears to be extremely fortunate to have survived for so long and to still be producing viable offspring.

Long may she continue!”

Mike Ford

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On the Klein River with the Lady Stanford

 

The Stanford Bird Club very kindly invited a representative of HBC to join them on their inaugural cruise down the Klein River in the newly launched ‘Lady Stanford’ and Renee and I were the lucky participants.  We set off at 7:30 am this morning along with around 20 local birders and spent three and a half hours enjoying the wonderful birding along the river.

The Lady Stanford is a purpose built river boat and it provided a wonderful platform from which to enjoy the abundant birdlife that the region has to offer.  We saw no less than 70 species.  There were many Giant Kingfishers, abundant African Darters, all the Grebes, three Herons, Falmingos galore and much more.  The juvenile African Harrier-Hawk was a highlight as it pecked at its branch, and we saw two Osprey, as well a s a number of Fish Eagles.

At one point, a Bontebok on the bank with a large piece of vegetation attached to its horns kept us entertained.  Above it, a beautiful Common Buzzard looked down and wondered what all the fuss was about!

Thank you to Peter Hochfelden and the Stanford Club for an enthralling morning!!

Ronnie

Any Interest in a Pelagic Trip?

 

John Saunders has made some inquiries into the possibility of a pelagic trip for club members.  It appears that the costs are around R2000 per person for a one day outing from the Simonstown harbour.  Participants would need to board at 7:00 am, so a very early start from Hermanus or an overnight stay in CT also form part of the equation.  There is also the possibility that the trip may have to be held over for a day or so depending on the weather.

Would members wishing to pursue this option, which needs a minimum of 6 people, please let Craig know asap.