Happy 2022

Your committee wishes you all the very best for 2022 and remember, you are a birder, so good luck with your hobby in the new year. May you find many birds and may many of them be lifers!! Remember the January Challenge (Birds beyond the high water line) starts tomorrow. We are hoping to get many entrants.

Stay well and healthy!!

HERMANUS BIRD CLUB CHRISTMAS PARTY 2021

A merry band of birders gathered around at the Country Market to celebrate … just being. Being together, being alive, being at peace.

The Bird Club banner was flying proudly, and Barbara P and Graham had decorated the tables with golden and silver pine cones, and swatches of pine needles. Bottles of wine and other bubbly drinks were opened, and the food hampers unpacked. Cold meats, olives, salads and sushi soon covered the famous paper bird club tablecloths.

We all had a lovely time chatting and sharing stories. Thank you to the committee members who organised the end of year gathering! We are looking forward to an action-packed 2022.

Submitted by Barbara Swart

January Challenge

Our Challenge for the month of January will be “Birds Below the High Water Line”

This will entail identifying as many birds as possible on the seaward side of the high water line, but within a 50 km range from the coast. i.e. pelagic birds are definitely included. The birds can be in the sea or flying above it, or merely walking on the beach below the high water line. The latter can be easily identified as the highest point to which sea debris is spread by wave action.

The challenge will run from 1 to 31 January and you have the entire South African coastline to work with.

Please make your own lists and I will compile the results sheet on the basis of what is submitted to me at corylus@hermanus.co.za

Let’s see if we can get more participants than in the Migrant Birds challenge!

2022 Membership

Please remember to renew your membership for 2022. Subscription fees remain unchanged at R250 per couple and R150 per single member. Payment can be made to;

Hermanus Bird Club,  First National Bank,  Hermanus,  Branch Code  200 412,  Ac No. 6210 7045 892,  using your name as reference.

Please also let Barbara know if you are a BLSA member.

Many members left the club, or failed to renew their subs this year, probably because the club was in virtual lockdown for most of the time. Since this is now changing, please consider coming back on board. We will endeavour to make 2022 a more interesting and inclusive year!

Outing to Swellendam – March 2022

The club has reserved 4 cottages at Aloe Ridge, (aloeridgebreede.co.za) on the Breede River near Swellendam for the nights of 29, 30 and 31 March 2022. Each cottage sleeps four persons in two en suite double bedrooms, and comes equipped with everything you need, including a pool, and overlooks the river. From Aloe Ridge we will be able to access the birding sites around Swellendam, such as Bontebok Park and Grootvadesbos, so there will be plenty to keep us occupied.

Please let me know (at corylus@hermanus.co.za) asap whether you intend committing to this outing so that we can confirm our booking within 4 days. The cost will be R1553 per person for the three nights.

First come, first served, so get moving if you want to secure a place on this exciting trip!

Results of the Migrant Birds Challenge

November has come and gone and with it your chance to participate in the challenging task of trying to identify some of our local migrant species. Ronnie and Renee topped the list with 28 species. Sadly, only five individuals or teams participated – not a very good reflection on the enthusiasm of our members for birding!! It was a really interesting opportunity to learn something about our birds and their habits. Each migrant bird is, after all, very special and has incredible built-in navigational and endurance capabilities that are hard to imagine. Seeing one and realising what it has done to get here is a cause for celebration!

The results are appended below;

Birding on the West Coast

Helen and I have just returned after spending a week staying in a cottage at Dwarskersbos. The small coastal village is twelve km north of the Berg River mouth and is ideally situated for birding on that section of the coast.

The salt marshes upstream of Velddrif were alive with migrant waders on their annual feeding spree during our summer – also plenty of resident species as well. There were literally thousands of flamingos –  both Greater and Lesser as well as hundreds of Black-necked Grebes.

Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Common Greenshanks aplenty. Also a solitary hungry Pelican hopefully patrolling in front of the Bokkom fishery further upstream.

Of interest is the boardwalk and picnic area at Velddrif which has finally been repaired. 

We spent one day in the hides at Geelbek on the Langebaan Lagoon. One has to time the tides well to ensure that the little waders move close to you.

Between the Berg River and Geelbek we saw large numbers of the smaller waders. Three-banded, Kitlitz’s, White Fronted and Common Ringed Plovers, Curlew and Marsh Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Little Stints and Grey Plovers. And a real surprise! A number of Ruddy Turnstones. No idea what they were doing there because there were certainly no stones on the sand banks.

Amongst the larger birds seen were Whimbrel, Black Harrier and great views of a Black Korhaan.  

There was the usual selection of Raptors – Jackal Buzzard, Fish Eagle, Common Buzzard, Yellow-Billed Kite, Black-Shouldered Kite and Rock Kestrel.

Also a nice sighting on a farm dam were a number of Whiskered Terns.

One day we drove northwards to Verlorenvlei. On the way we passed Rocherpan but it was totally dry. The Vlei had very little water and not many birds. We crossed to the northern side of the river and traveled inland a bit. There was quite a bit of water inland but no birds!  

Nevertheless, it was a really enjoyable and productive week and a nice break from home. Our Bird Count was 91 species.

A few pics attached.

Mike and Helen Mac Naught