Outing to Duinepos

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Marshes at Geelbek

A trip to the West Coast National Park – Duinepos has been arranged for Sunday through Wednesday 06 – 09 October (3 nights) for 20 Bird Club members.

We will stay at the ECO Cottages – Duinepos and braai there each evening.

The cost is R1290.00 per person for the trip. Once your name has been included for the trip a 50% deposit of R645.00 is required and the remainder to be paid by the 30th August 2019.

Also available for an extra two nights away at no extra cost to any HBC member who may wish to take advantage of this and stay Wednesday and Thursday nights. If you wish to do this please mention in your reply.

We haven’t been to Duinepos for several years and it will be nice to return.

It is a superb birding area with several bird hides along the lagoon.

For reference see -www.sanparks.org/parks/west_coast

If you wish to join the trip contact John Saunders via email antares@hermanus.co.za

Leeuwenboschfontein

 

John may not be able to pronounce the name of this delightful Karoo farm, but he was there, along with eighteen other HBC members enjoying a day and a half of excellent birding, despite the recent drought and our expectation of relatively few birds.  We arrived on Monday afternoon and birded on the farm, around the gardens and camp site, and on to the nearby dam.  We saw very little on the day, but the presence of a Goliath Heron on the dam in front of our accommodation more than made up for this!

Well, after a good dinner and a comfortable night (the new owners have expanded considerably and there was plenty of accommodation, with more on the way, judging by the amount of building in progress) we set out on Tuesday to drive the Bloutoring route.  Graham advised that this should take around four hours, but we took no less than eight!  Birding along this route was excellent with literally hundreds of birds at most locations.  Perhaps there were fewer species than usual, but the sheer numbers of some species, such as Black-headed and Yellow Canaries was exceptional!  Of course, we also recorded some good Karoo birds, enhancing our combined list and no doubt pushing up the numbers for the Challengers who were present!

Barbara regaled us with stories of past achievements at this location and we once again enjoyed good food and company before settling in for our last night.  A slow puncture saw yours truly departing early today, avoiding the possibility of having to change a wheel and also getting home to vote.

By the close of play on Wednesday evening our combined list totaled 77 species:

Bar-throated Apalis;  Acacia Pied Barbet;  Southern Red Bishop;  Yellow Bishop;  Bokmakerie;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Bulbul;  Cape Bunting;  Black-headed Canary;  Brimstone Canary;  Cape Canary;  White-throated Canary;  Yellow Canary;  Ant-eating Chat;  Familiar Chat;  Karoo Chat;  Grey-backed Cisticola;  Levaillant’s Cisticola;  Blue Crane;  Long-billed Crombec;  Cape Crow;  Pied Crow;  Cape Turtle Dove;  Red-eyed Dove;  Yellow-billed Duck;  Karoo Eremomela;  Common Fiscal;  Fairy Flycatcher;  Egytian Goose;  Spur-wingd Goose;  Pale Chanting Goshawk;  Black-headed Heron;  Goliath Heron;  Hadeda Ibis;  Rock Kestrel;  Black-shouldered Kite;  Karoo Korhaan;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Cape Clapper Lark;  Karoo Lark;  Karoo Long-billed Lark;  Large-billed Lark;  Red-capped Lark;  Spike-heeled Lark;  Mallard;  Rock Martin;  White-backed Mousebird;  Speckled Pigeon;  Three-banded Plover;  Karoo Prinia;  White-necked Raven;  Karoo Scrub Robin;  Cape Robin-Chat;  South African Shellduck;  Cape Sparrow;  House Sparrow;  Southern Grey-headed Sparrow;  African Spoonbill;  Common Starling;  Pale-winged Starling;  Pied Starling;  African Stonechat;  White Stork;  Malachite Sunbird;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Barn Swallow;  White-rumped Swift;  Cape Penduline Tit;  Layard’s Tit-Babbler;  Cape Wagtial;  Rufous-eared Warbler;  Common Waxbill;  Cape Weaver;  Southern Masked Weaver;  Capped Wheatear;  Mountain Wheatear;  Cape White-eye.

Leeuwenboschfontein Opportunity

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We have had a last minute cancellation for our outing to Leeuwenboschfontein in the Little Karoo.

The outing is from Monday 6th to Wednesday 8th May (2 nights) at a cost of R699 per person.

Accommodation will be in a cottage a little distance away from the main group and you will have to take own linen and towels.

This is your chance to add species like Karoo & Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Penduline Tit, Rufous-eared Warbler, Karoo Korhaan, Pririt Batis, Fairy Flycatcher, etc. to your lifelist or challenge list.

Please contact Barbara on barbaravoelklip@gmail.com or 028 314 1167 / 083 659 3303 if you would like to join us on this outing.

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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ronnie

 

Outing to De Hoop

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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.

OPTIONAL CRUISE

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.

PLEASE ADVISE AT THE TIME OF BOOKING IF YOU WANT TO GO ON THE  CRUISE.

Bookings or enquiries to Craig at pcsholmes@telkomsa.net

Craig

Cruising Down The River ….

 

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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