FERNKLOOF GAMEBIRD BREEDING SEASON – 2017/2018

 

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.

January

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.

February

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.

March

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.

April

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.

May

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.

June

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

July

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 ?

August

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

September

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 ?.

October

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

November

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.

December

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

MUNICIPALITY AWARDS TENDER FOR “SHEBEEN” IN FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE AT KAMMABAAI

 

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

Cherry Mills

 

One of our founder members, Cherry Mills, passed away last weekend. She had been an active committee member and hers was the voice on our club DVD.

Her funeral will take place on Thursday 23rd at 11 at the United Church.  She will be greatly missed!

Subscriptions

 

When paying your subscriptions PLEASE remember to put your name on the payment for reconciliation purposes. We have received some payments without names but have managed to sort those out, but would appreciate it if you could assist with your name.

Thanks

Craig

FNR Objections

 

Please feel free to copy and paste my letter should you so wish.  Just replace my name with yours and send it in, so that it can be lodged as another objection.

Please Prevent Fernkloof being turned into a Theme Park

Many readers are no doubt aware of the current proposals for the so-called upgrades to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve (FNR).  These can be viewed at the following website:  https://www.overstrand.gov.za/en/documents/strategic-documents/management-plans/4727-integrated-management-plan-for-the-fernkloof-nature-reserve-hermanus

The public is urged to lodge objections, as this development is likely to cause huge damage to the FNR.  These can be sent to ldevilliers@overstrand.gov.za

My own response (which has been registered) was;

As a member of the Hermanus Botanical Society and a keen walker, amateur botanist, photographer and birder, I wish to state my strong objection to the plans presented for the further development of Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

This reserve is world-renowned for its dedication to preserving the integrity of our natural heritage and serves as a window into the fascinating flora and fauna of the region.  All it requires in terms of future development is the retention and upkeep of its wonderful network of paths, which allow the public to wander freely and enjoy and discover nature at its best.  Trying to convert it to some form of theme park is abhorrent to all nature lovers and the idea of cableways and cafes reflects a mindset which is completely at odds with the original Fernkloof ideals.

I cannot stress strongly enough the antipathy which your proposals generate within the community of Hermanus nature lovers, be they birders, botanists, zoologists or whatever, and I urge you and your colleagues who are responsible for this new plan to think again and withdraw your proposals, in favour of retaining the present state of FNR, but with better attention to the maintenance of the paths so that more people are able to enjoy our wonderful heritage in safety and comfort.

K R Hazell

U3A: OVERBERG: OPEN MEETING

Birders may be interested in attending this potentially interesting talk at U3A.

 Thursday 12 October in the Municipal Auditorium at 17.30

 Why scientists and politicians disagree about manmade global warning

 Very recently the US Government caused a furore when the country was withdrawn from the Paris Accord on climate change. U.S. Government spokespersons cited the cost of measures proposed and that likely benefits did not warrant such expenditure. The controversy revealed deep differences of opinion about the science that lies behind this crucial issue. U3A is privileged to host the distinguished South African physicist Dr Don Mingay whose presentation will focus on the theory of manmade global warming.

Dr Mingay has worked at the UK Atomic Energy Authority Research Establishment at Harwell, The International Atomic Energy Authority in Vienna and here in South Africa at Pelindaba.  He has published more than 100 scientific papers in recognised scientific journals. For the last 15 years he has taken a very active interest in energy production and its relationship with the ongoing debate on climate change and the environment.

For some years politicians and the media have accepted that the earth will experience catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) unless the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) arising from the use of fossil fuels is drastically reduced. Dr Mingay will review the scientific evidence for the CAGW hypothesis. He will discuss atmospheric CO2, sea level changes, ocean acidification, extreme weather events, how polar bears are faring, the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps and other related topics.

This will be a rare opportunity to hear a clear exposition of what the Paris Accord is all about.  And why many distinguished scientists, like Dr Mingay, are so concerned that attempts to question the CAGW hypothesis are met with the response that ‘the science is settled’.

Come along and judge for yourself.