After three months of the Challenge, a clear winner is emerging! Peter Dagg appears to be forging ahead inexorably. The rest of us will certainly have to pull finger and get to work if we want to catch up or pass him.
Current leading scores are:
Peter; 205 species worth 303 points
Lester; 198 species worth 295 points
Ronnie; 184 species worth 245 points, and
Barbara; 167 species worth 207 points
One might think that, in one’s third month into our Annual Challenge, there would still be plenty of species to record, but this is not proving to be an easy task. Today is the 28th January and I have so far only added 4 birds to my list. I wonder whether I will get any in February!! Out in the Overberg around Caledon there were plenty of Blue Cranes, many common raptors and hundreds of geese – Egyptian and Spur-winged. We saw 54 species, but in the end I was even photographing sheep in my frustration!
Black Saw Wing
The final results are in and I can confirm that (sounds like Strictly Come Dancing!) we scored 155 species and came 77th out of 304 teams. There were four teams that scored over 300 birds, all from Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, with the winner achieving 323 – a really magnificent number for a 24 hour period! Our local competition, team Rockjumper, achieved 122 species. All the results can be viewed at
and individual team maps can be accessed by clicking on the team names. These maps show the locations of every bird recorded and zooming in on them adds detail. Clicking on the symbols on the map will show the name of the bird seen at that point.
Giant Kingfisher with prey
The Walker Bay Warblers, Ronnie, Renee, Barbara and Mike had a great day of birding yesterday, notching up no less than 155 species in a fifteen and a half hour spell of intensive birding! This is 20 species better than our team achieved last year, probably due to the inclusion of Mike, who was, as usual, in top form. It was a wonderful team effort and everybody contributed hugely. Preliminary results suggest that we came joint 75th out of 304 teams – a great achievement, considering that most teams have far more species at their disposal.
Our best bird was probably a Buff-spotted Flufftail, heard in Fernkloof Gardens. Needless to say a good number of common species were not sighted, much to the frustration of the entire team, but that is the way it goes in these competitions – we see some rare birds and miss some very easy ones!
This evening I had the privilege of spending a couple of hours with 14 of our wonderful members who had spent the day – most kicking off at 05h30 – in a howling gale to participate in the Mini Big Birding Day. They were all exhausted but truly satisfied that it had been a day well spent. Most were club stalwarts – please join in next time!!
In these terrible conditions – the wind did not abate all day – the team with the most species sighted on the day got 125 species. A great achievement in the conditions considering the best ever score for one of these days is 136!!
To all who participated – thank you for putting in this great effort. To ALL the members of our club please consider joining in on these days when next we have one. This is a great opportunity to learn about the birds and their habitats – this is a really fun day where you will learn a lot and make great friends in the wonderful Hermanus Bird Club community.
A Displaying Denham’s Bustard
This year we will again hold our annual Photographic Competition at the same time as the Christmas Party. Members may submit up to three images in the following categories; Best Bird Picture, Best Title, and Most Amusing Picture.
Images should be no greater than A4 size and, if smaller, should be mounted on an A4 mount. Larger images will not be allowed. All images must display titles and have the photographer’s name out of sight on the back of the image. Voting will be by members present and each member will have one vote per category. All images must be handed in at the Fernkloof Hall by 5:30 pm on 12 December, so as to allow time for hanging.
We look forward to a good turn-out and a stunning display of great photographs!
In case you are not aware, BirdLife SA’s Birding Big Day event takes place on Saturday 24 November. Teams from all around South Africa will be taking part in this exciting event. For details of how it works and registration, please see http://www.birdlife.org.za/events/birding-big-day
Participants who take part in our own MBBD will have a head start as they will have sussed out the best birding spots and should know where to spend their time.
HBC will support any teams made up of our members by paying the registration fee of R300 per team. Let’s put HBC on the map this year by doing well!
This year’s MBBD will take place over 12 hours (5:30 am to 5:30 pm) on Sunday 4 November, within a 40 km radius of Central Hermanus. Teams will comprise 4 members and the usual rules will apply; at least three members of each team must confirm each species identified and identification can be by sight or call. You can only use bird calls if you have the relevant bird on your life list, i.e. you cannot use a bird call for something you have never seen.
Please submit your team name and members to me at email@example.com by the end of October.
All participants (who by now will be thoroughly exhausted!) should meet at Fernkloof at 5:30 pm to compare notes and celebrate the winning team. Bring along a drink or two as you are likely to be thirsty!
MBBD 2018 Competition Area
WEST COAST NP WADER BASH 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
WHERE?? GEELBEK STABLES WCNP
COST?? Only R950 per person for a fun-filled Birding Weekend
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO BOOK YOUR PLACE CONTACT
Beverley Moll (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone/sms/Whatsapp 084 505 8967
What a battle to get members to participate and educate themselves!
Graham and I went out this afternoon and thought maybe the following short account of our birding might enthuse one or two more members.
Day 1 of the HBC Challenge
Graham and I decided to kick off the 2018/19 Challenge with an afternoon’s birding on day 1.
Our first stop was the Vermont Salt Pan, which has quite a lot of water in at present.
Apart from all the usual species, we ticked off Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Flamingo, Moorhen, Little, as well as Great Crested Grebe.
We then spent a leisurely 2.5hours along the Swart Rivier Road where specials identified included Burchell’s Coucal, Namaqua Dove and White-faced Duck.
Our total came to a respectable 54 species identified.
We are not participating in the Challenge to win, but to keep our eyes and ears tuned to the birds in our area, to enjoy the beautiful Overberg in its green and gold splendour and to support a club initiative.
The committee arranges these activities to help members to learn about our feathered friends.
Why don’t you challenge yourself and at the same time improve your birding knowledge?