Betty’s Bay on Thursday

Persons attending the walk on Thursday should be aware that they will need R25 for entry to Stony Point and R25 for entry to Harold Porter, although the latter will accept National Botanical Society membership for free entry. Meet at the OTP at 7:30 am. Have a good day! We will be driving to Kruger Park.

Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcount (CAR) Expedition

Bird Counting is a census of birds performed annually by volunteer birdwatchers. The purpose is to provide population data for use in science, especially conservation biology, by determining findings about our natural habitats and the birds that use them. If repeated at regular intervals, the counts allow us to track changes in bird population. Each individual count is performed by small parties of birders who follow assigned routes counting every bird (of specified species) that they see.

The people at CAR administer bird roadcounts in Southern Africa which are performed twice a year: in midsummer (the last Saturday in January) and midwinter (the last Saturday in July).

They are based at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town.

This Saturday 29 January, two Barbaras and one Lee set off at 8:00 to do our route along the Swartrivier and Afdaksrivier/Karwyderskraal Roads. Lee has been performing this duty for many years and inspired us to join in. The species that we usually concentrate on are: Blue Cranes, Spur-winged Geese, Black-headed Herons, Jackal Buzzards, Black Harriers, Denham’s Bustards, Cape Crows, Pied Crows and White-necked Ravens.

Saturday was hot and dry, and the birds not that abundant. But it was, as always, a very pleasant outing with the obligatory stop along the road for refreshments. And who knew one could get that excited about spotting a Pied Crow, normally not on my list of desirable birds.

We did not see any Jackal Buzzards (many Common Buzzards, though), neither Black Harriers, nor Bustards. But we did count about 41 Blue Cranes, 3 Black-headed Herons, a dozen or so Spur-winged Geese, and a few Crows and Ravens.

Thanks, Lee, for kindly “donating” your car for the CAR every time. And especially for your, and Barbara P’s continued inspiration to the rest of us.

(Barbara Swart)


Our first outing for 2022, and what a treat!

Ten birders left Fernkloof just after 7:30 and drove to Stanford for a stroll along the Klein River. We were entertained by three beautiful African Hoopoes, a Giant Kingfisher and a small squadron of Pied Kingfishers. Thereafter we stopped at Appel se Dam and, despite Ronnie’s misgivings, did see a couple of water birds: Yellow-billed and White-faced Ducks, as well as a Purple Swamphen spotted by bright-eyed Renée.

Then off to Danger Point. Our highlights along the rocky coast included Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstones, White-fronted Plover, Swift, Sandwich and Common Terns. But the best sight of all was an undulating banner of thousands of Cape Cormorants flying over the sea (perhaps from Dyer Island?) towards the Point. We had our coffee and rusks and shortbread while watching this incredible visual.

At the Uilenkraalsmond bridge we spotted a Little Egret and a Grey Plover. Thereafter we turned inland and drove along the Papiesvlei road. This is a lovely road with some beautiful fynbos, trees and pools of water. We noted Cape Batis, Dusky Flycatchers, Black Crake, Red-billed Teal, Pin-tailed Whydah, Large-billed Lark, Cape Grassbird and Paradise Flycatchers identified by their calls …

Those of you who couldn’t join us  − eat your hearts out! See you at the next outing.

(Barbara Swart) 

We saw a total of 87 species. RH

Below the High Water Mark Challenge

Just to clear up some rules for this competition which you have hopefully started already, please note. Birds can be included if seen below and/or beyond the high water mark, but not around lagoons. Thus a bird seen flying over a bay, for instance, can be included even if it is not a pelagic species. Birds on offshore rocks can also be included, however, these must be within 50 km of the SA coastline.


Please note that, because of the fire in the Kleinmond area, the walk to Harold Porter will not take place on Thursday 13 Jan. We will, instead, be meeting at Fernkloof parking area at 7:30 am, whence we will proceed to Stanford for a walk along the river. This will be followed by a visit to the coastline between Klein Baai and the Danger Point lighthouse, where we should see some interesting sea birds. If time permits we will then look for waders at the Uilenskraal Bridge, before returning via the Papiesvlei road to Stanford and Hermanus.

Please bring your snacks for tea. We hope to be back by 1:00 pm.

January Meeting

At our monthly meeting on Wednesday 19 January, Pinkie Ngewu will be talking to us about the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. The meeting will be held in the Fernkloof Hall at 7:00 pm. Please remember that only vaccinated members may attend and that you will be asked to sign the register and have your temperature taken on arrival. Please wear your masks throughout the meeting.

We will be serving wine before the meeting (at 6:30, with a R10 per glass donation) but you will have to bring your own glasses please.

Outing to Harold Porter and Stony Point

On Thursday 13 January, Ronnie will lead an outing to the Harold Porter Reserve and the Penguin colony at Stony Point. This will provide a good opportunity to members wishing to add some species to their ‘Beyond the High Water Mark’ challenge, as well as a chance see some of the Fynbos species that occur in the Harold Porter Gardens.

We will meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 7:30 am, thereby allowing time to reach Stony Point by 8:00 am, when they open. Please remember to bring some money as both venues charge an entrance fee. Bring your morning tea and snacks for a stop in the gardens.