River Rat


The last of the evening cruises was not that successful!  We had a lovely group who enthusiastically boarded the River Rat at 17h00. However, the wind gods decided that we should have strong winds inflicted upon us and going down stream was very rapid and the return slow with strong winds in our face. Nonetheless we did manage to get 31 species including wonderful Purple Swamphen sightings, Purple Heron, and four species of Kingfisher. Despite the wind, however, we all thoroughly enjoyed the outing – it’s always lovely to be on the water at Stanford.


HBC Sundowner Cruise on the ‘River Rat’


Despite the threatening clouds on Wednesday 24th January, a congenial group of 12 club members and a few friends enjoyed a wonderful sunset cruise on the Kleinriver Lagoon.  Some 45 bird species were seen, although we were unable to match the numbers seen by the morning cruise!  Water birds abounded, but some of the highlights were the good sightings of Purple Swamphen, Malachite and Giant Kingfisher and 5 raptor species, including an African Marsh Harrier. Sadly, the Martial Eagle did not oblige again, but well done to Ronnie for his photo of the Martial  and his excellent photos of the birds seen on the early morning cruise.


The World’s Oldest Wild Bird


“There was huge excitement last week at the Midway Atoll Bird Refuge in the South Pacific, when 67 year old Laysan Albatross, named Wisdom, appeared once again and commenced breeding with her long-term partner.

Wisdom was first ringed on Midway as a 5 year old in 1956 by seabird ornithologist Chandler Robbins and has been returning regularly ever since, raising a chick most years. She is thus the world’s oldest known wild bird.

Midway Atoll is the largest albatross breeding colony in the world and is home to more than 70% of the world’s Laysan Albatrosses.

Considering the hazards posed by long-line fishing boats and plastic ingestion Wisdom appears to be extremely fortunate to have survived for so long and to still be producing viable offspring.

Long may she continue!”

Mike Ford


On the Klein River with the Lady Stanford


The Stanford Bird Club very kindly invited a representative of HBC to join them on their inaugural cruise down the Klein River in the newly launched ‘Lady Stanford’ and Renee and I were the lucky participants.  We set off at 7:30 am this morning along with around 20 local birders and spent three and a half hours enjoying the wonderful birding along the river.

The Lady Stanford is a purpose built river boat and it provided a wonderful platform from which to enjoy the abundant birdlife that the region has to offer.  We saw no less than 70 species.  There were many Giant Kingfishers, abundant African Darters, all the Grebes, three Herons, Falmingos galore and much more.  The juvenile African Harrier-Hawk was a highlight as it pecked at its branch, and we saw two Osprey, as well a s a number of Fish Eagles.

At one point, a Bontebok on the bank with a large piece of vegetation attached to its horns kept us entertained.  Above it, a beautiful Common Buzzard looked down and wondered what all the fuss was about!

Thank you to Peter Hochfelden and the Stanford Club for an enthralling morning!!




The fynbos gamebirds have enjoyed good conditions this season, producing large clutches of healthy chicks.   Our concern, however, is that the attrition rate is very high and the question is why? One proud Guineafowl mother arrived out of the Fernkloof fynbos in Voelklip with 12 gorgeous, fluffy little chicks. Next day there was only one left and the following day she came alone!

Cape Spur fowl seem to be a bit more successful at rearing their chicks. Early in the season we had five families with an average of six babies on arrival here and they have raised on average, three to juvenile stage. In January two new families arrived in our garden, possibly second breedings for the season?   This week we witnessed a very dramatic exchange with a traumatised, frantic Spur fowl mother and a Slender mongoose, who had nipped in and grabbed one of her chicks.  Enraged and quite fearless she attacked the mongoose, chased it off, but not without losing her baby.  She then tried to call off the mongoose, from going for her other chicks who had hidden themselves away, with alarm calls and a ‘wounded bird act’. A very brave and an interesting incident of nature and bird behaviour!

Ground birds like Guineafowl and Spurfowl are vulnerable to mongoose and genets, which have also been seen in the Voelklip fynbos area.  Other predators which are active and a threat to birds are the African Goshawk and Sparrowhawk, which favour doves , but will also prey on young  gamebirds, given the right opportunity.  With all the threats, our gamebirds are lucky if they can raise even half their chicks!

Ed Meyer.

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



A Letter to members of the Hermanus Botanical Society:

Dear Members,

A number of our HBS members have spoken and written to us asking for their letters of horror and strong opposition to the above “shebeen” to be circulated to you, and for you also to object.  See examples below from a member of our committee and a letter from one of our Honorary Life Members.

For those of you who didn’t attend the Ward 3 Public Meeting on 15th November 2017, where the issue was discussed, the Municipality has awarded a tender for the operation of a “shebeen” in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve at the entrance to Kammabaai beach over the holiday period. It began operating yesterday (see photos below) and apparently, the “shebeen” has been split between the entrance to Kammabaai beach and the lawn at the bottom of 6th Avenue, Voelklip.

HBS believes that in introducing this commercial venture, the Municipality is breaking several laws and contravening some its own Bylaws and Policies, for example; FAB wasn’t consulted, no public consultation; drinking in public; an activity not permitted in a proclaimed Nature Reserve; noise pollution over a wide area, etc.

If you are able to, please put your objection in writing by email, asking the Municipality to immediately remove this “shebeen” addressed to:

·       The Municipal Manager (cgroenewald@overstrand.gov.za)

With copies (cc) to

·       Don Kearney, Area Manager (dkearney@overstrand.gov.za)

·       Kari Brice, Ward 3 Councillor (karibrice@hermanus.co.za)

·       Rudolph Smith, Executive Mayor (rsmith@overstrand.gov.za)

·       Dudley Coetzee, Deputy Mayor (dcoetzee@overstrand.gov.za)

·       Roderick Williams, Director Community Services (dircomservices@overstrand.gov.za)

Kind regards,

Hermanus Botanical Society


Subject: Pop Up drinks and food lounge Voelklip /Kammabaai. 1/12/2017.

Dear Kari, Coenie, Don, Liezl and Penelope, 

Regarding the installation of a Pop Up bar and food outlet adjacent to Kammabaai family beach in Voelklip.

I wish to add my name to the growing number of concerned people who have and are still objecting to this unacceptable project by the municipality. 

The fact that the public, property owners and ratepayers have not been adequately consulted about this ill conceived plan, is totally unacceptable. 

A pop up bar and food outlet in this beautiful area close to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve is simply madness and will certainly cause social and other problems in the area. 

There are municipal signs there that state that drinking is not allowed, so how is this going to be controlled and or compromised?  

Can I have an assurance please that the structures are not on the Fernkloof Nature Reserve? 

I am sure that if this structure was planned and constructed in your neighbourhood, it would not happen!  This kind of activity is anathema and I hope this will be stopped immediately. This is certainly a disaster waiting to happen there.

Kari I request please that you as my Ward 3 Councillour object most strongly to this antisocial and unwelcome project.

Thanking you, 

Linda Griffiths 

Hermanus Botanical Society & FAB


Dear Mr Groenewald,

I wish to draw your attention to the UNACCEPTABLE SITUATION at Kammabaai. This is a matter which needs your urgent attention.

My letter to the Ward 3 Councillor Kari Brice explains my deep concern. The rates that we pay certainly do NOT warrant this sort of activity ever.

I would appreciate an explanation from you as the Town Manager. 

Kind regards

Margaret de Villiers