Your Committee – or Lack Thereof


Not for the first time, we are calling for volunteers to serve on the HBC Committee.  From the previous lack of response, one gets the impression that there are too many members who just want to be entertained, but who aren’t prepared to assist with the running of the club.  We really are in need of a treasurer (Keith has done this job for years and is only helping out in the absence of somebody new) as well as someone to run the ‘Walks and Talks’ portfolio.  This is not arduous work, but something that is needed in order to keep the club afloat.  Without committed members, we will simply fold.  There can be no doubting the fact that members enjoy our monthly walks and talks, but someone has to arrange them.  We cannot just expect John to take on everything!  The same goes for the finances!

Come on, people, let’s see some enthusiasm and commitment!

New Committee


Following the AGM held on Wednesday evening, HBC is pleased to announce the new committee for 2019.  The members are:

Chairman; John Saunders,  Deputy Chairman and Blog; Ronnie Hazell,   Treasurer; Keith Brooke-Sumner,   Secretary; Monika von Oppell,   Projects; Guy Redford,   Social Co-ordinator: Sue Franck, and   Walks and Talks: Lester van Groeningen.

We say farewell to departing Committee Members, Craig Holmes, Mike Bryan, Daphne Hutton and Shelagh Peterson, and thank them for all the hard work they have put into keeping the club running smoothly during their tenure in office.

Important Notice


Please note that the AGM will commence on Wednesday 20 Feb at 7:00 pm.  This will be followed by a short presentation on Bird Photography, after which snacks and wine will be served.  

Four committee members are stepping down, leaving the club with a shortfall.  We need a social co-ordinator and a treasurer, so please consider putting your name in the hat, or asking somebody you know to do so.  This is an urgent request!  The club is the responsibility of it’s members and we need volunteers, or we will cease to exist.  Not only that, but we need younger people on the committee.


Call For Nominations


HBC will lose a couple of committee members at our AGM next year and we are calling for nominations for new members, or volunteers to step up and become part of this dedicated team that keeps the wheels turning.  It is an enjoyable experience and we are looking for new blood to ensure that the club continues to grow and provide a stimulating hub for Hermanus birders.


Potential committee members?

Without people who are willing to give a little of their time to the club, it will not be able to function, so please give this matter your urgent attention!

Please send your nominations to Craig at

Time for Change


For the past several years the away outings, not to be confused with the Walks and Talks which are looked after by John Saunders, has been in my portfolio.

It is time for a change and for someone with fresh and bright ideas to take on this role and to join the committee.

The role includes the following functions:

  • Identifying good birding venues and establishing if they have enough suitable accommodation and entertainment venues.
  • Communicating with the venue, establishing if it meets the criteria for the outing, negotiating prices, dates when deposits and full payments are to be made.
  • Putting together of the skeleton itinerary to be communicated whilst costing the per head cost. Confirming with the Treasurer that the calculations are correct and that the venture would not lose any money for the club.
  • Arranging with the Blog administrator that the offer be communicated with all members via the blog
  • Fielding all enquiries and managing the list of participants till the group is full – then creating a wait list.
  • Confirm back to the participants whether they are confirmed or waitlisted.
  • Collect either the deposit or full payment – dependent upon the establishment requirements and once the payments are received communicate with the Treasurer and agree. Thereafter the Treasurer will arrange payment.
  • If a deposit only is received then you will need to collect the balance closer to the date and follow the step above.
  • Based on the original skeleton itinerary, a full and final itinerary needs to be created and sent to all participants.
  • Advise the establishment of the names of the participants together with a full rooming list of who will be sharing with whom.
  • Create catering teams with Captains to arrange that starters, salads and starches and desserts are prepared for each evening
  • As we braai each evening the organiser must purchase firelighters, wood and charcoal for each evenings braais
  • Upon arrival at the destination reconfirm with the establishment the rooming arrangement and the venue for the evening braai, ensuring that sufficient tables and chairs are provided and if possible cutlery and crockery so that the participants don’t have to bring these items to the braai area.
  • If there is inclement weather be able to make immediate arrangements to make the best of the situation.
  • Each evening arrange for the fires to be set up and started so that the participants are able to braai at a reasonable hour.
  • On the last night be sure that a comprehensive list of species seen is agreed by all members
  • Before leaving the establishment be sure that there are no outstanding amounts owing by the HBC and if there such amounts, settle them and claim back from the Treasurer.
  • Where necessary reconcile the accounts for the Treasurer.



With more than 200 members, I am sure that there will be several volunteers for this important job!  Ed.

Thank You, Thank You!!


A number of very kind committee members and wives of committee members went to a lot of trouble last evening to prepare and present snacks and wine for those who attended the AGM.  Please accept the very sincere thanks of the club and committee for what you did.  There can be no doubt that our AGM was more about eating and drinking than formalities.  Thanks also to those who helped tidy up afterwards.

The club extends it’s best wishes to Peter and hopes that he will soon recover from the effects of his fall.  It was a most unfortunate way to end the evening!

The committee welcomes Shelagh Peterson, who has replaced Mariette Pitlo.  Otherwise you have the same old faces as before.  We look forward to a good 2018 with lots of interesting birding!

A Change in your Committee


Please note that Mariette Pitlo is standing down after having served a year on our committee.  Craig will have nomination forms available at the meeting tomorrow evening should anyone wish to make a nomination to replace her.

I just know that there are many people lining up to take this position, so be quick when you arrive at the Fernkloof Hall!

Programme 2018


Herewith the 2018 programme of events.  Please note that this schedule is flexible, so look out for possible amendments throughout the year.


15th – Committee Meeting.          17th – Club Meeting at 18h30.   Our guest speaker will be Gerhard Vosloo and he will speak on Birds of the Kgalagadi.        Month 2 of the Challenge.


1st – Monthly walk at Rooisand Reserve led by John Saunders.           19th – Committee Meeting.          21st – AGM at 18h30.  Our guest speaker will be Duncan Butchart and he will speak about his book on garden birds in Southern Africa.      Month 3 of the Challenge.


1st – Monthly walk at Haygrove Berry Farm led by Mike Ford.       19th – Committee Meeting.              21st – Club Meeting at 18h30.  Guest speaker will be Christine Hagen and she will speak about Penguins or Coastal Birds.           Month 4 of the Challenge.   Outing to De Hoop.


5th – Monthly walk at Stanford, led by Barbara Palmer.          16th – Committee Meeting.                    18th – Club Meeting at 18h00.  Guest speaker will be Ross Wanless, who will talk about Saving Seabirds from Extinction.      Last month of the Challenge!     Outing to Honeywood Farm.


5th – Monthly walk Benguela Cove led by John Saunders.        14th – Committee Meeting.                    16th – Club Meeting at 18h00.  Guest speaker will be John Bowman and he will speak on Thailand.     Outing to Redstone Hills and Die Hel.


7th – Monthly walk in the Caledon Gardens led by Ronnie Hazell.        18th – Committee Meeting.           20th – Club Meeting at 18h00.   Guest speaker will be Erika Brink and she will talk about the Nuwejaars Wetlands


5th – Monthly walk at Grootbos an Stanford Platform, led by John Saunders.        16th – Committee Meeting.             18th – Club Meeting at 18h00.  Guest speaker will be Vernon Head and he will talk about ?


2nd – Monthly walk on the Onrus and Vermont Coastal path led by John and Sheelagh Bowman.            13th – Committee Meeting.         15th – Club Meeting at 18h00.    Quiz evening


6th – Monthly walk in Fernkloof led by ?.           10th – Committee Meeting.           12th – Club Meeting at 18h00.  Guest speaker will be Wicus Leewner and he will talk on ?.


4th – Monthly walk at Gabrielskloof led by John Saunders.           15th – Committee Meeting.            17th – Club Meeting at 18h30.  Guest speaker will be Gavin Turner and he will speak about Zambia


1st – Monthly walk at De Mond led by Mike Ford and Chris Cheetham.           19th – Committee Meeting.           21st – Club Meeting at 18h30.  Guest speaker will be Andrea Angel and she will talk about the work of the Albatross Task Force.


6th – Monthly walk at Jesse Walton’s farm led by Mike Ford.            10th – Committee Meeting.           12th – Club Meeting at 18hoo.  Christmas Party

New Committee Members


Mike Bryan

Mike was born in KZN and grew up in the village of Kloof Near Durban.  Following his marriage to Kathy, they lived there for another 20 years before moving to Cape Town where they settled for 15 years. They moved to Hermanus in 2004.

Mike spent his entire career in various capacities in the textile industry.  His interest in birding was sparked some 30 years ago, when he and his young family holidayed in the Kruger Park.  His three children and their families now reside in Surrey, UK, so he and Kathy get to travel there quite frequently.  They have been members of the club for 13 years.  Mike is taking on the important role of Treasurer

Ronnie Hazell

During his working career as an exploration geologist, Ronnie traveled to many parts of the world and had excellent opportunities to see all manner of exotic birds.  Regrettably, he did not utilise these openings and only dabbled with birding in a very superficial way.

 He only got really interested after retirement, when an ex-colleague took him and Renee to Namibia on a birding trip around 16 years ago.  This was an eye-opener and the start of an ongoing love of birding.  Whilst he has done some birding on other continents, his main area of interest is the Southern African birding area where, with a lot of hard work in the future, he hopes to progress his list to over 800 species.  Whilst group birding trips can be informative, Ronnie and Renee prefer birding on their own, as this affords a better opportunity to come to grips with identification.

 He says, “Taking over responsibility for the HBC blog will be a pleasure, as I first put Barbara on to the idea of a blog and helped her to set it up 5 years ago.  I already have my own blog, started in 2010, and also publish the ‘HERBS’ blog on behalf of the Botanical Society.  I will try to keep abreast of the club’s activities so that I can report on them, but will obviously be relying on members to submit their own stories and reports on club outings and achievements.”

 John Saunders

 John has recently returned to SA from the UK – as you will recall he was a member of the Committee prior to going to the UK. John was born in Twickenham and spent 40 years at Heathrow. He became interested in birds at age 8 when his mother gave him the Observers Book of British Birds and has not lost his passion for our friends, the birds.  Apart from birds, John has a great interest in astronomy. He and his wife Irene first came to Hermanus in 2005 and have happily returned after their short time back in the UK.  John will be looking after the Walks and Talks portfolio.

 Monika von Oppell

 Baroness Dr Monika von Oppell was born in Pretoria and is an esteemed academic. She developed a thinking skills curriculum into an Australian Private School before reporting the outcomes on the world stage. More recently she has been assisting in getting education reforms in Abu Dhabi where she researched the implementation, challenges and teachers belief. This has been written up in PhD research. She “retired” to Hermanus 2 years ago and loves the people, the environment and of course our wonderful birds.  Monika joins the committee as Secretary.

 Mariette Pitlo

 Mariette was also born in Pretoria but was schooled and lived in Johannesburg till Matric. She spent 10 years in Holland before returning to SA to get married. She has lived in Cape Town for 35 years where she enjoyed hiking, gardening and visiting nature reserves all over SA – this is where she learnt to love birds. She is very actively involved in searching for and recording rock art in the Eastern Cedarberg with other likeminded  people. Mariette is new to Hermanus and only arrived here in 2016 to be with her two children who have lived here for 10 years. She will be taking on the Public Relations and Events with Daphne Hutton.

 Daphne Hutton

 Daphne is from Limpopo originally being a farm girl which is where her interest in the outdoors, wildlife and birds started. Moving on she lived in Mpumalanga and KZN before moving to the UK where she spent 10 years – however the draw of the bush and the sun called her back and she chose to settle in Hermanus – which she says is so rich in flora and fauna, birds and of course a wonderful lifestyle where wondering on the mountains and beaches makes for a relaxed and fulfilling life. She joins the committee with Mariette looking after PR and Events.