A New Challenge – and about time, I hear you say!


Tomorrow I will be publishing the results of the Lockdown Challenge, but there will be some who want to continue.  With that in mind, I suggest we have a Level 4 Challenge, which will require you to identify as many birds as possible whilst on foot.  Thus, if you drive to the supermarket and see a House Sparrow, you will not be able to count it.  This is a challenge to get you moving!  You can walk the cliff path, or your suburb, or the golf course, or whatever, but you must be on foot.  Otherwise the usual rules of sight and sound will apply.  Good luck.  It will continue until further notice.

Just for your info, I walked 360 kms around my house and garden in April.  Renee did around 300kms.  This enabled us to see many birds, as just being out of doors gives one such a much better chance.  In the process, I also had some sponsorship from our walking group, so have managed to raise quite a bit of money for the hungry.

Keep birding!!


More on “Bits and Pieces”


It starts on Friday, 1st May, not Thursday.

Once you have submitted an answer on day 1 for a 2 point score, and if you then realize on day 2 that it was wrong, you may not then enter another answer for 1 point. In other words you only have one shot at an answer, either for 2 points on day 1, or 1 point on day 2.

Cheers,  Mike

Next Quiz – “Bits and Pieces”


As the last quiz was well received by those who participated I’ve put together another one with a slight twist for interest and variety. I’ve called it “Bits and Pieces” as it involves showing only part of the bird initially. This is how it works:-

Starting on Thursday May 1st, the quiz will run every day for 18 days.

On day 1 Ronnie will send out 2 pics with southern African birds, but only a part of the bird shown. If you can identify one of them or both based on that bit then send your answer or answers to me at hermanusmike@gmail.com on that day and if you are correct you will be awarded two points per species identified.

The following day Ronnie will send out pics of the same birds but showing the whole or most of the birds. If you can identify one or both of them at that stage send your answer(s) to me on day 2 and each correct answer on the second day will be worth one point. No ID submitted or incorrect ID will of course give no points.

On day 3 two new birds will be shown in part, and on day 4 in entirety and so on.

This sequence will be repeated every day for 6 days, after which answers and results will be published, just like the previous quiz, and then on to the second set of 6 and ultimately the 3rd and final 6, making 18 species in total.

The sets will not be split into passerines, near/non passerines etc, but will be mixed throughout. All birds will be found in the current edition of Roberts. It is my intention to start off reasonably easily and gradually introduce harder ID’s.

Ronnie will get each day’s birds out on the blog by 9 a.m. after which you will have that day to submit for 2 points per bird or the next day to submit for 1 point per bird. No submission equals no points!

As before you may enter as singles or couples.

I hope the above is slightly clearer than mud, but if you have any queries just email me and I’ll try to clarify.

NOW: If you wish to enter this quiz, please email me –  also on hermanusmike@gmail.com – and say “I’m in Bits and Pieces” and I’ll add you to the list.

First birds will be on the blog by 9am on the 1st. Good luck!


Lockdown Challenge


Many of you keep me updated with your Challenge lists.  The event ends on Thursday 30 April, so please let me have your final additions soon thereafter, if there are any.  Please only send the additions and not the whole list, or I have a job going through them to determine what is new.  Good luck for the next few days!!

Bird ID Quiz – Final Winner


Well done to Coerie Badenhorst, who achieved 3/5 for the very difficult final play-off of the quiz, in which he defeated Sue Franck.  We now know who to ask to lead us on a bird walk, if we cannot get Mike.  Coerie is your man as he obviously knows his birds, and you could also do a lot worse than having Sue in charge.  Congratulations to both of you, and once again, huge thanks to Mike for putting it all together and keeping many of us stimulated.

The Chairman has his say!


Thanks Ed Meyer for all that you have said about our enjoyable stimulation during lockdown.

I too, would like to thank Mike Ford and Ronnie Hazell for the very enjoyable daily quizzes we have had, endeavouring to identify all the photos Mike has sent us during his time ringing over many years.

The Garden Bird Challenge has been equally enjoyable.  Irene and I sit in our garden every afternoon, binoculars at the ready and looking out for yet another species to add to our list.

Well done to all the participants and let’s hope that it won’t be too long before the Hermanus Bird Club will be back in business.

Cheers. John Saunders



Ed Meyer submitted the following article:

‘Lockdown’ has become a frustrating reality for those of us birders , who usually love to get out regularly with our binoculars to our favourite birding spots in and around our lovely town.   We have to thank most sincerely our proactive Bird Club, in particular  Ronnie Hazell and Mike Ford for keeping us so stimulated birding wise,  in this time of our restricted freedom and mobility.

Firstly, our LOCKDOWN CHALLENGE of birding in our own gardens has produced the most amazing results in terms of total number of species  (116) at the last count.  It  has made us all so much more aware of the sightings and bird calls in our own environment!   A variety of bird orientated Quiz challenges followed to keep us thinking ‘Birds’,  but the latest  “ Bird in the Hand” Quiz,  which has run for the last three weeks has been really fantastic for the 20 or so members who participated.   It is a great pity that more of our members did not join in, because it has been an amazing learning experience in bird identification.

Credit must go to Mike Ford for conceptualising the  Bird ID Quiz and supplying the excellent bird photos from his bird ringing experiences over many years.   I had the privilege a few years ago when we farmed in Mpumalanga to host Mike and Val in our farm cottage for a week , while Mike ringed a variety of species on our bird- rich farm, with its abundant aloe habitat.    He is a very passionate and dedicated,  rising each day well before dawn to set up his mist nets in the birding areas to capture the sleepy, unsuspecting birds on their first flights.   Then came the meticulous procedure of measuring and recording all the birds vital statistics, before the numbered ‘ Safring ‘ is attached and the bird is photographed ’in the hand’ and released.

The current Quiz has introduced us to photos taken by Mike during his ringing experiences, when he has been able to photograph the ‘Bird in the Hand’.  We were sent two photos a day to identify and there were  3 sets of bird categories with 10 photos in each group of Passerines, Near-Passerines and Non-Passerines.   Key diagnostic features  were often needed  to identify the bird (or part of the bird) in the photo,  so many of us were dusting off our seldom used Bird Guide Books to see different cryptic aspects of the bird to help get to the correct answer.    The whole exercise was very challenging and a great learning experience in bird identification on bird morphology and not just on the ”GISS” or bird call.  A big thank you to Mike for his clever selection of the photos we were sent  and for setting up the Quiz to extend our bird identification skills.   I personally hope there will be more of this type of quiz in the future as it seems we will be in Lockdown for a while to come.

Ed Meyer.

Final Bird ID Quiz Results

Now that the final results have come in, I can publish the scores.  Well done to all those who achieved 10/10 for the last set.  The overall leaders are Coerie Badenhorst and Sue Francks, with 26/30 points each, a very commendable result!!

Final ID Quiz Results

As there is a tie, we will now have a sudden death play-off.  Only the two leaders need to submit their results, but we hope that you will all try to identify the birds, anyway.  Here they are.  Coerie and Sue, please let Mike have your answers by tomorrow.