Vanessa Ovenstone

We were saddened to hear of the passing of one of our long term and founder members, Vanessa Ovenstone. I am sure many of us remember her as a regular attendant at our monthly meetings and on various trips. She will be missed by many and our very sincere condolences go out to her family and friends.


After a few days of real Cape winter weather, cold and plenty of rain, on Wednesday Sheelagh and I decided to do some birding along the Swart Rivier Road; and very interesting it proved to be. Talk about water, water everywhere! In 20 years of birding in that area, we have never seen so much water lying around, which changed the whole character of the place. The little bridge across the stream, half way along the road was totally submerged – see photo. We could probably have continued in our 4×4 but decided to turn around and  rather explore some of the side roads, and the views  from these roads of the snow capped mountains in the distance were quite something. So the birding part of the drive became secondary to the environmental aspects. We did see a nice sprinkling of bush birds, but surprisingly , with all that water around, water birds were not very much in evidence. We did pick up a couple of African Fish Eagles overhead, and  towards the end of the road, on a fence next to an ‘informal dam’, lovely close up views of a Malachite Kingfisher, with the wind ruffling his ‘hair’- see photo. Appropriately, the Afrikaans name for the bird is ’Kuifkopvisvanger’!

On a nice sunny  winter’s day, it’s well worth the drive.

John Bowman

17 July 2021

Duncan Butchart

The Hermanus Bird Club offers its sincere and unreserved apologies for the error regarding Duncan. He was not a victim of Covid, but of Cancer. The Club regrets the error and hopes that it has not caused any more grief than was already being experienced by family and friends. We extend our very sincere condolences.

A Bonus on the Contour Path


Yesterday, whilst walking on the Contour Path above Hermanus Heights, we were thrilled to come across a Cape Grassbird perched in the fynbos right next to the path. It did not seem to be afraid of us and was quite happy to pose for a couple of photographs (taken with my phone!) before flying off. We hear these pretty birds all the time, but seldom get very close to them, so this was a real bonus!

We enjoyed a good 12 km walk in perfect weather, and it was good to see that many outdoor enthusiasts were on the mountain. The car park at the Visitors’ Centre was packed.

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Duncan Butchart

We have just heard the very sad news of Duncan Butchart’s passing

Duncan was a local birder, he came to the club several times over the years and his presentations were always of very high standard and very popular.

His book Garden Birds in Southern Africa was a MUST and we treasure our copy with superb photographs and lots of information such as;

Feeding habits, Breeding information and also about the plants names etc. for the whole country that he recommended in order to attract birds to your garden.

I am sure Duncan will be will be sorely missed with many of you.

John Saunders…/obituary%3A…