Outing to Vrolijkheid Reserve


There will be a full day outing to Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve on 2nd May 2019.

Meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 06:30 (we need to get away early as it is about a 2 hour drive).

We will spend 3 to 4 hours birding the Reserve. There is a lovely picnic site near the entrance so bring whatever you need to enhance your experience!!

Birds: The special birds to look out for: Fairy Flycatcher, Grey Tit, Layards Tit-babler, Rufous-eared Warbler, Namaqua Warbler, Aghulas Long-billed Lark, Karoo Korhaan, Long-billed Crombec and many others!

There are two options to return to Hermanus (Each party to decide for themselves):

Go back via Robertson, Worcester, Villiersdorp (ie returning the way we arrived)

Take the back (dirt) roads to the R317 and on to Stormsvlei, and Riviersonderend.

Both options have potentially good birding opportunities along the way.

Directions from Hermanus: (Probably a good idea to check out the route on google maps!)

Take the R43 to Bot River, then N2 towards Caledon for a few Km, then turn left off the N2 onto the R43 towards Villiersdorp, Turn right at the ‘T’ and continue through Villiersdorp on the R43 to Worcester and before reaching Worcester turn right onto the Road sign posted to Robertson and the R60, and then turn right onto the R60 towards Robertson. Once in Robertson take the turn off towards Mcgregor and the Reserve will be on the left hand side. Overall distance is about 160 Km.

Contact: Lester van Groeningen 078 593 8977

Pelagic Birding from Hermanus


Four couples, the Maphams, Meyers, Planes and the Turners set off from the New Harbour at 03h30 on Friday 30th January for the pelagic fishing grounds 50kms off Cape Point. Our small unique tailor made trip arranged by Walter Mapham on the “Majestic” was an unforgetable birding experience.

Once the fishing trawlers were located we were able to get up close to view  these beautiful pelagic seabirds.  Gavin and Cynthia were able to capture the most amazing photographs, which we hope he will soon be able to share with our HBC club members.  A few of us were privileged to have a preview presentation after our fish braai at the Boat Club on Thursday 7th.

Gavin was able to identify, aided by his photos 4 species of Albatross,  two Giant Petrels , four other Petrels including two small Storm Petrels, three species of Shearwaters and the Subantartic Skua.  A few more familiar seabirds like the Cape Gannet, Cape Cormarant, Cape Gull and Artic Tern were also seen.

We eventually returned safely to Hermanus after 20h00, after a magical sunset at sea, a very tired, but happy bunch with some memorable birding experiences. Our thanks to Walter for selecting a perfect day and doing all the planning for our full day at sea.

Ed Meyer.

Cruising down the river – Again



The demand for a river cruise on the Lady Stanford is such that Craig has arranged a second outing which will take place at 7:00 am on Friday 1 February.  There are still six places available at the reduced rate of R125 per head.  This is an opportunity to see some of the region’s best birds under ideal conditions – before the south-easter picks up – so contact Craig – pcsholmes@telkomsa.net – asap if you want to be included.  First come, first served!

Outing to Gifberg


A three night outing to the Gifberg Holiday Farm gave 19 keen birders an opportunity to see a good selection of birds and enjoy a beautiful part of the Western Cape.  Arriving on Monday afternoon, we ventured out for a hike up the Gifberg river, unaware that the trail was soon to become quite rugged.  John managed to get his foot stuck in a crevice and it was only good fortune that allowed him to escape with nothing more than some cuts and bruises.  The outing did, however, give us a good chance to appreciate the beauty of the rock pools and potholes that abound in the area.

On Tuesday an outing across the highlands eastwards and down to the Waterval Resort, provided another fine birding opportunity with a good number of species being identified.  Sadly, the waterfall had all but stopped flowing, but it was a good trip and the drive to Vanrhynsdorp impressed with the burgeoning viticultural development of the area.


Our route on Tuesday

The following day there was an outing to Nieuwoudtville.  The drive across the Knersvlaklte and up the pass onto the escarpment displayed the different biomes that exist within a short distance of each other.  First we went to the waterfall on the road to Loeriesfontein.  It too, was virtually dry, but there were many birds around.  From there we visited the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve.  By the time we arrived it was midday and pretty warm, so most people abandoned the idea of a rugged 5 km walk and returned to Gifberg.  The change of habitat did allow us to see many species that were not found around Gifberg, so it was a worthwhile outing. We saw our first waterbirds and some waders.


Wednesday Route

Evenings were taken up with the usual communal braais and the ladies excelled themselves with a fine spread of delicious food.  We had made new friendships and were sad to have to return home this morning, but well pleased with our tally of 107 species for the trip!  Thank you John, for arranging this fine excursion!

Trip List:  Acacia Pied Barbet;  European Bee-Eater;  Southern Red Bishop;  Yellow Bishop;  Bokmakerie;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Bulbul;  Cape Bunting;  Lark-like Bunting;  Ludwig’s Bustard;  Jackal Bustard;  Brimstone Canary;  Cape Canary;  White-throated Canary;  Yellow Canary;  Ant-eating Chat;  Familiar Chat;  Karoo Chat;  Grey-backed Cisticola;  Levaillant’s Cisticola;  Zitting Cisticola;  Red-knobbed Coot;  Blue Crane;  Cape Crow;  Pied Crow;  Cape Turtle Dove;  Laughing Dove;  Namaqua Dove;  Red-eyed Dove;  Yellow-billed Duck;  African Fish Eagle;  Booted Eagle;  Verreaux’s Eagle;  Common Fiscal;  Fiscal Flycatcher;  Grey-winged Francolin;  Egyptian Goose;  Spur-winged Goose;  Pale Chanting Goshawk;  Little Grebe;  Common Greenshank;  Black Harrier;  African Harrier Hawk;  Grey Heron;  African Sacred Ibis;  Hadeda Ibis;  Greater Kestrel;  Rock Kestrel;  Black-shouldered Kite;  Yellow-billed Kite;  Karoo Korhaan;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Cape Clapper Lark;  Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark;  Karoo Lark;  Long-billed Karoo Lark;  Large-billed Lark;  Red-capped Lark;  Banded Martin;  Rock Martin;  Speckled Mousebird;  White-backed Mousebird;  Speckled Pigeon;  African Pipit;  Long-billed Pipit; Plain-backed Pipit;  Three-banded Plover;  Karoo Prinia;  White-necked Raven;  Karoo Scrub Robin;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Namaqua Sandgrouse;  Marsh Sandpiper;  Streaky-headed Seedeater;  Cape Shoveller;  Red-backed Shrike;  Cape Sparrow;  House Sparrow;  Southern Grey-headed Sparrow;  African Spoonbill;  Pied Starling;  Red-winged Starling;  African Stonechat;  Cape Sugarbird;  Malachite Sunbird;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Barn Swallow;  Greater Striped Swallow;  White-throated Swallow;  African Black Swift;  Alpine Swift;  White-rumped Swift;  Cape Rock Thrush;  Karoo Thrush;  Olive Thrush;  Grey Tit;  Cape Wagtail;  Rufous-eared Warbler;  Common Waxbill;  Cape Weaver;  Southern Masked Weaver;  Capped Wheatear;  Mountain Wheatear;  Cape White-eye;  Cardinal Woodpecker.



Outing to De Hoop

DeHoopRon 271

We have arranged another outing to one of our favourites – De Hoop. Dates 18-20 February 2019. As usual we will be sharing cottages – 4 to a cottage – and of course will have our catering teams to look after the starters, salads and potatoes and desserts each evening. Need of course to bring own meat for the braais each night and you own breakfast and lunch food. And of course your own beverages, but if you forget they do have supplies at De Hoop.

The price per person  is R935.00.

The group size is limited to 16 and is on first come first served basis.

The rough itinerary of the short stay is as follows:

18 Feb.  Leave Hermanus and plan to get to De Hoop by 14h00 when we can check in to the accommodation.

At 15h30 meet outside the cottages and consolidate transport and drive down to De Mond in the hope of finding some interesting birds. Upon returning to Opstal, we can meander around the edge of the vlei which is often very rewarding.

At 18h30 meet at a location to be advised, where we will have a braai going and where we will have seating provided as well as cutlery and crockery.

19 Feb.  This morning we will drive to Koppie Alleen – the birding is always good along the way. We can meander down to the water’s edge and see what we can find along the shoreline. On our way back let’s try our luck at De Mond again.

We will be back by noon and have a little time to relax and catch our breath.

In the afternoon let’s explore other parts of the reserve.

Back to Opstal where we will meet again at 18h30  – venue to be confirmed –  tables, crockery and cutlery all set up for us. We will also do the formal bird count before dinner.

20 Feb. At leisure – we need to be out of the cottages by 10h00 but you are welcome to spend time in the reserve and leave at your leisure. Don’t forget we have the club’s AGM this evening!

Don’t forget your Wild Cards – if you don’t have one, you will be charged a Conservation Fee of R40.00 per person per day at the gate.


A cruise is available on each evening – take your own drinks and snacks and the cost is R295.00 pp –again subject to 10 persons wanting to go.


Bookings or enquiries to Craig at pcsholmes@telkomsa.net


Cruising Down The River ….



The Lady Stanford

We have negotiated with the Lady Stanford to do a cruise on 25th January 2019. Departing at  17h00 or 17h30 (time to be confirmed)  we will spend a couple of hours cruising on this beautiful recently built vessel. Glasses and ice is provided so all our member need to bring is the beverages and snacks. The cruise will sail to the end of the channel and park at the site of the proposed bird sanctuary. The Lady Stanford also has a chemical loo! From a birding perspective we all know that this stretch of water is rich in birdlife and its always a joy.

The price is R125.00 per head and is based on us filling the boat with 26 members. If we can’t get the full 26 and can only get 20 the price would increase to R160 ph. The going rate is around R225.00

First come first served – please advise me on pcsholmes@telkomsa.net

Tierhoek Outing


Sixteen HBC members enjoyed a great three day outing to the Robertson area in early October, an ideal time of the year with the fresh green in the vineyards and fruit orchards and the birds chirping happily with the joys of spring.  This also meant that most of the males were in their most colourful breeding plumage.  We were based at Tierhoek Cottages on an organic fruit farm, surrounded by majestic  mountains and with great views down the beautiful Tierhoek Valley.   Our birding around the cottages and on the farm yielded some 35 or more species on the first day.  Birding specials were the Verreaux’s Eagle, Jackal Buzzard and Pale Chanting Goshawk, White-backed Mousebird, and the sunbirds and more common flycatchers and Robin Chats.

On Day 2 we moved down to a privately owned wine and fruit farm on the banks of the Breede River.   We enjoyed the privacy of a lovely grassed picnic site  and were able to bird in the vineyards, where we were lucky to see the fairly rare Cinnamon- breasted Bunting, African Stonechats, White -browed Robin chats,  sunbirds and other Karoo species.  On the Breede river banks  there were a variety of waterbirds, Swee and Common Waxbills and a Lesser Honeyguide.   Many colourful birds were enjoyed, but without doubt the most colourful and unusual sighting we had was of a swimming ‘Puffadder’, which swam across the wide river and came ashore at our picnic site!   By the end of the second day our bird count had increased to 76 and it was a contented bunch of birders who enjoyed their sundowners and braai in a great and tranquil setting at Fig Tree Cottage.

Day 3 we left the comfortable Tierhoek cottages a bit reluctantly to get down to the Cape Nature Reserve ‘Vrolijkheid’ near Mc Gregor to do some birding in the Karoo and Renosterveld habitat, which was very colourful and supported a number of different bird species.   We walked along the ‘Agama trail’ to the two bird hides and two separate dams, seeing many challenging LBJ species, which taxed our identification skills!  Specials that we saw here were displaying Clapper Larks, Fairy Flycatcher, Grey- backed Cisticola and the spectacular Red Bishops and Weavers at the dams.  Most of us returned to Hermanus via Stormsvlei where the count cut-off.  We ended the three day outing with a fairly respectable count of 99!  Thanks to Anne Philip for keeping the record.

Many thanks also to all the ladies for their contributions to the evening meals, to the men who braaied and to our two main photographers John Bowman and Jill Eckstein, whose excellent images accompany this report.

Ed Meyer


Happening from the 15th February 2019 to 17th February 2019


The SANParks Honorary Rangers West Coast Region in conjunction with the West Coast National Park (WCNP) invites you to participate in the WADER BASH 2019.

The SanParks Honorary Rangers are a group of passionate unpaid volunteers who give freely of their time and skills to support conservation in South African National Parks. This event serves to promote the WCNP and also improve knowledge of birding and conservation in general.

Here is your chance to experience birdlife in the WCNP which includes the Langebaan lagoon, a RamsarSite – a birding hotspot for migrant waders of international importance. All levels of birding experiences are catered for and your team of 4 accompanied by a bird expert will try to identify as many birds in a 24 hour period as possible. This fun-filled weekend offers you excellent birding, camaraderie, closer access to the Lagoon and a gentle competition in a beautiful setting.

The Wader Bash starts with a briefing and meeting your fellow participants on Friday afternoon at 17h00, followed by the 24 hour period from 17h30 on Friday afternoon until 17h30 on Saturday afternoon. You will then be a guest at the special prize-giving dinner at Geelbek on Saturday evening, and at Sunday morning’s entertaining talks by two prominent ornithologists.
All proceeds from this fun-filled weekend are used directly for SanParks Projects.

WHEN?? 15, 16 & 17 FEBRUARY 2019


COST?? Only R950 per person for a fun-filled Birding Weekend

Beverley Moll (waderbash2019.wcnp@gmail.com) or phone/sms/Whatsapp 084 505 8967


Outing to Gifberg in November


At Gifberg Farm

A trip has been arranged to Gifberg, near Vanrhynsdorp by John  Saunders who will lead the outing.

12 – 15 November 2018

We will stay at Gifberg Holiday Farm.

Previous visits have proved that this is a very popular venue. Surrounded by mountains just over the Gifberg pass, this is a beautiful setting and we should have some excellent birding.

The accommodation that has been reserved consists of two four bedroom cottages (two bathrooms in each cottage) plus one two bedroom cottage (one bathroom)

The planned itinerary is as follows:-

Day 1 – Monday, 12th November.

We travel up the N7 towards Vanrhynsdorp (approx 4 hours drive) and then 3 km before you reach Vanrhynsdorp turn right following the Gifberg Farm signs (a further 30 – 45 minutes drive)

Meet at 15.30 and do the Pot Hole 2 km walk, with a few ups and downs.

Day 2 – Tuesday, 13th November

We have three options.

1.The Gifberg Trail – 9 km    (This trail is more strenuous, taking 4 hours to complete. It takes you through some spectacular rock formations about midway. It is suggested that you wear long trousers as the bush scratches your legs severely.)

2. The Hamerkop Trail – 4 km   (This is an easy trail and takes about two hours to complete. This trail is ideal for the less experienced hiker. A natural pool, in which you can take a cooling swim, forms part of the trail).

3. The 4 x 4 trail   (The 11 km long route will take you to the Doring river. The same route will get you back, but the scenery and magnificent view will give you a whole new perspective of the area.)

Day 3 – Wednesday, 14th November

Meet at 0800. Drive to Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve (R30 entrance fee per person)  – 10 kilometres outside of the little town of Nieuwoudtville, situated between Van Rhynsdorp and Calvinia.

Day 4 – Thursday, 15th November

After breakfast drive home after a very exhilarating and enjoyable trip.

Prices per person will be R875.00 per person. R1750.00 two people sharing ( Double or Twin beds). Bookings will be on a ‘first come first served’ basis.  A  50% deposit is required for us to secure this unique, quality accommodation, so if you are keen to join this Hermanus Bird Club outing please confirm your booking as soon as possible. The required deposit can be paid into the HBC bank account once your place has been secured.

This is a self-catering trip as usual with evening braais together.

Please book with Craig at pcsholmes@telkomsa.net