Gavin Turner


It was with great sadness that we learned of Gavin’s passing this morning.  He was doing what he loved most, walking in the mountains in order to do some bird photography, when he fell to his death in Vogelgat.  Our deepest sympathy is extended to Cynthia and her family at this most painful time.

Gavin was a keen member of the Hermanus Bird Club and enjoyed participating in our various activities, where he generally excelled.  He was not just a bystander either, having served on the committee for a number of years.  He also often entertained us with his talks on his various birding exploits, allowing us to share his wonderful photographs.  He will be sorely missed here and in many other spheres where he made his mark.  Always attentive and polite, he was ever at hand to assist wherever possible, whether in identifying a bird, pulling somebody out of the mud, or constructing a hide, Gavin was always willing and did everything with a gracious smile.

He will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues in and around Hermanus.

Rest in peace, dear friend!


A Note from Mike Ford


Hi Ronnie,

Firstly thanks for sharing your Masai Mara experiences. Very interesting. Only wish I could afford such a trip!

Just had an odd experience which might be of interest to members:-

Two weeks ago I started venturing out again on my weekly ringing trips around the Overberg. Yesterday I visited the recently-drained Bot River site on Ampie Albertyn’s farm along the Kaarwyderskraal road. Although really marshy and requiring “wellies” the riverine woodland site was once again accessible and I caught and ringed a lovely selection of birds, including Lesser Honeyguides, Malachite Kingfishers, Grassbirds, Long-billed Crombecs, plus warblers, cisticolas and many other nice species.

Whilst returning to the vehicle after a net inspection I witnessed a pair of Jackal Buzzards quite low above me, inter-acting and screaming at each other. Then a pair of Yellow-billed Ducks flushed from the marsh and tried to move away from the raptors, but the one buzzard was too quick and dived down on one of the ducks, literally bashing it out of the air. The poor duck spiralled down and landed with a splash about 50 metres from where I was walking, so I made my way across and picked up the limp body – wondering whether to leave it for the buzzards or not.

As I was almost back at the car, the “dead duck” suddenly came back to consciousness and thrust itself out of my arms and onto the ground. It then tried to run/fly away but only managed to stagger a few paces like a drunken sailor, then stood immobile – obviously trying to recover its senses.

I left the duck standing there and ringed and released the three birds I had brought back from the nets. I then wandered over to the “patient” – which was by this time sitting on the ground – to see if there was anything I could do to help it, but as a got within 5 metres, it rose to its feet, ran and flapped for 10 metres and took off as if nothing had happened! From “dead” to fully functional in a matter of minutes – ain’t nature wonderful!