April Monthly Walk – Stanford


The Bird Club walk on Thursday 5th April to Stanford will be led by Barbara Palmer

It will include walking along the footpath by the river, a visit to the hide and walking around the village.

Those wishing to join this enjoyable and interesting trip should meet at Fernkloof at 7. 00 a.m.

The walk should take between two and three hours.

A calm morning (1)



Following the confusion that appears to dog our members regarding the starting times for meetings, Craig, last night, made a decision to simplify the matter.  All monthly meetings will in future comply with the following times, irrespective of seasons:

6:00 pm.  Arrive at the Fernkloof Hall for a pre-meeting get-together with a glass of wine, if so desired.

6:30 pm.  The meeting will commence and will aim to finish at 7:30 pm, thereby giving members a chance to have supper, or whatever!  More time will be allowed for the AGM, annual quiz and other special events.




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.

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.




Somerset West Bird Club planned to spend a morning at Rooisand on Saturday, the 17th. Sonja Peacey, who was leading the outing, thought it would be a good idea to ask someone from our Club to join them, and show them around, as it’s on our home territory. John Saunders, our ‘walks and talks man’, was asked, but he was going to be away stargazing.  So we were invited to do the honours. We asked Mike Mac Naught to join us.

On the morning, it was blowing a gale in Vermont, but surprisingly, when we arrived at Rooisand, there was hardly any wind. We were joined by Sonja and 13 other members of their Club. The water level at the hide was even lower than when our Club visited Rooisand in early February. But birds were steadily picked up by the sharp eyed participants. Most of the ‘usual suspects’ were seen. On the way back from the hide we walked along the shore of the vlei, and steadily added new birds to the list, although the wind had now picked up. Unfortunately we couldn’t find the Cape Longclaws. However, the highlight of the morning was early in the walk, when we were fascinated by an interesting interaction between a Western Osprey and a Caspian Tern which was harassing it repeatedly, for whatever reason, right over our heads. We all enjoyed stunning views of this interaction.

We were also able to add a couple of new birds to our Challenge list.

So a good morning was enjoyed by all, several of the visitors not having been to Rooisand before. And our role in the outing was appreciated. A great example of cooperation between Bird Clubs in our region.


John and Sheelagh Bowman

Time for Change


For the past several years the away outings, not to be confused with the Walks and Talks which are looked after by John Saunders, has been in my portfolio.

It is time for a change and for someone with fresh and bright ideas to take on this role and to join the committee.

The role includes the following functions:

  • Identifying good birding venues and establishing if they have enough suitable accommodation and entertainment venues.
  • Communicating with the venue, establishing if it meets the criteria for the outing, negotiating prices, dates when deposits and full payments are to be made.
  • Putting together of the skeleton itinerary to be communicated whilst costing the per head cost. Confirming with the Treasurer that the calculations are correct and that the venture would not lose any money for the club.
  • Arranging with the Blog administrator that the offer be communicated with all members via the blog
  • Fielding all enquiries and managing the list of participants till the group is full – then creating a wait list.
  • Confirm back to the participants whether they are confirmed or waitlisted.
  • Collect either the deposit or full payment – dependent upon the establishment requirements and once the payments are received communicate with the Treasurer and agree. Thereafter the Treasurer will arrange payment.
  • If a deposit only is received then you will need to collect the balance closer to the date and follow the step above.
  • Based on the original skeleton itinerary, a full and final itinerary needs to be created and sent to all participants.
  • Advise the establishment of the names of the participants together with a full rooming list of who will be sharing with whom.
  • Create catering teams with Captains to arrange that starters, salads and starches and desserts are prepared for each evening
  • As we braai each evening the organiser must purchase firelighters, wood and charcoal for each evenings braais
  • Upon arrival at the destination reconfirm with the establishment the rooming arrangement and the venue for the evening braai, ensuring that sufficient tables and chairs are provided and if possible cutlery and crockery so that the participants don’t have to bring these items to the braai area.
  • If there is inclement weather be able to make immediate arrangements to make the best of the situation.
  • Each evening arrange for the fires to be set up and started so that the participants are able to braai at a reasonable hour.
  • On the last night be sure that a comprehensive list of species seen is agreed by all members
  • Before leaving the establishment be sure that there are no outstanding amounts owing by the HBC and if there such amounts, settle them and claim back from the Treasurer.
  • Where necessary reconcile the accounts for the Treasurer.



With more than 200 members, I am sure that there will be several volunteers for this important job!  Ed.

The Challenge goes from a Gallop to a Canter


It was easy to accumulate birds for the Challenge in months one and two, however, the strain is starting to tell and it is getting more and more difficult, if the numbers are anything to go by.  Good news is that we have a new leader, the Lester and Cheryl van Groeningen team, who have 613 species worth 785 points, closely followed by Ronnie Hazell with 626 species worth 772 points.  Then comes Ed Meyer with 411 birds worth 482 points, so there is some scope for catching up.  Lets hope that the final two months see a rush for the finishing line!

Outing to De Hoop


The weather, though overcast, did not result in those who went to De Hoop being downcast.  Spotting waders at De Hoop was part of the fun had by 16 of us.  In total 111 species were counted.

Anne Philip