Important News

 

Please note that for the walk at Grootbos, nobody may take their own refreshments. Grootbos will provide complimentary tea and coffee for all participants.  This is good news, indeed!

Please remember that Mike Ford will be talking on his birding experiences in Ethiopia on 19 July.  His ‘not to be missed‘ talk is entitled “Birding with the Big Cats

Coming Events

 

Outing to Grootbos

On Thursday 6 July there will be a walk at Grootbos which will be led by a well-qualified member of the Grootbos staff.  It will take in both fynbos and forest habitats and should be a worthwhile birding experience.  Please meet at the parking area between the main road and the cliff path at Kraal Rock at 07:30am to consolidate transport.

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An ancient Milkwood at Grootbos

July Meeting

Mike Ford will talk on his experiences and work undertaken during his trip to Ethiopia. Don’t miss this talk which is bound to be one of the highlights of the year, and which will provide an insight into a fascinating country and the interesting birds that Mike was able to see and ring.

 

Keir Lynch – June Speaker

 

This month we will be privileged to have Keir Lynch addressing us at our monthly meeting on 21 June. His talk will be titled “Birds and Biodiversity –  Threatened Species in a Threatened Landscape.” and should be of interest to all members.

In his own words, “I have two decades of experience within nature conservation and have been privileged to work in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, Phinda Private Nature Reserve, Shamwari Game Reserve and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.  In 2012 I joined the CapeNature Biodiversity Stewardship Programme and was responsible for landscape conservation and protected area expansion in the Overberg region.  I left CapeNature to head into the frontlines of conserving threatened ecosystems by heading up a Watercourse Restoration Project for the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust, a project funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.  I am also the Chairperson of the Overberg Crane Group and an avid naturalist.  When not looking at birds I can be found searching for snakes underneath rocks or wading through wetlands in search of frogs.”

We look forward to a full turn out at this interesting meeting.

BLSA Affiliation

 

At the Special General Meeting held on the 19th April 2017, with over 50 members in attendance, it was unanimously agreed that Hermanus Bird Club should become an affiliate member of BLSA. The details of the Affiliation agreement and the revised BLSA Constitution were circulated to all members on March 11th 2017, as was the wording for the change to the Hermanus Bird Club’s required addition to the constitution. This wording –“The HBC supports the aims and objectives of BLSA and agrees to abide by the revised BLSA Constitution adopted on 21 March 2015” will be included in the updated HBC Constitution, which will be sent to all members.

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April Meeting – ‘Western Cape Estuaries’

Members are reminded that Giselle Murison, Project Manager for the Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Project, will be addressing us on the 19th.  The meeting will start at 18h00 so as to allow extra time to discuss possible affiliation with BirdLife SA.

Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Project

South Africa’s estuaries are one of the country’s most productive habitats. Known for their biodiversity and the important functions they perform, such as providing nursery areas for fish, and feeding and staging areas for significant populations of migratory birds, estuaries constitute one of the country’s most valuable, but vulnerable ecosystems. Many are at risk from multiple threats, including unsustainable land use and unsound land management practices, in part due to their lack of formal protection.Photo 1. Riviera mudflat Berg River Estuary Velddrif

BirdLife South Africa’s Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Project looks to address this gap by seeking formal protection and sustained conservation action for this under-protected ecosystem. Funded by WWF South Africa’s Elizabeth Harding Bequest, the project is focused on the expansion and proclamation of protected areas at three high priority estuaries, identified as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in the Western Cape, and on working with landowners to improve conservation action within these estuaries and their catchment areas to further enable their maintenance and management.

The sites, the Berg River Estuary IBA at Velddrif on the West Coast, and the Klein River and Bot-Kleinmond River Estuaries near Hermanus, which form part of the Cape Whale Coast IBA, are some of the most important estuaries in South Africa for conserving birds and biodiversity. Havens for several internationally and nationally important bird species populations, including African Black Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini, Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis, Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Caspian Tern Sterna caspia and Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, as well as significant populations of congregatory waterbirds, such as Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata, these estuaries are some of the most valuable in the country for nature conservation, particularly with respect to their bird and fish fauna.

All three estuaries are IBAs; places of international significance for the conservation of birds and other biodiversity. The estuaries’ rich birdlife offers substantial tourism and recreational potential, as do their natural settings, if managed appropriately. They are vital as a nursery for juvenile fish, many species of which form the basis of employment for the local communities, as well as being fundamental to supplying the wider commercial fishing industry.

Under threat from encroaching development, and increasing human disturbance and exploitation, as well as the reduction and pollution of their freshwater inflows, amongst other pressures, these estuaries are highly vulnerable to further degradation and an accompanying loss of biodiversity.

The key objectives of the project are:

• To facilitate formal protected area expansion at these unprotected estuaries through biodiversity stewardship agreements, or similar management models focused on the environment.
• To improve conservation action within the estuaries and their catchment areas, to help landowners tackle the environmental issues they’re facing. By working closely with all relevant stakeholders, including conservation agencies such as Cape Nature, local, provincial and national government bodies, as well as existing forums, such as the Estuary Management Forums, any and all actions aimed at furthering or securing the conservation and protective status of these sites will be identified and progressed with the full cooperation of all parties.

Photo 2. Klein River Estuary Hermanus

It is hoped that future designations will provide benefits for the private landowners involved, while helping to safeguard the areas’ biodiversity and ecosystem services for a more productive and sustainable landscape in the future.

The project will run for three years, from July 2015 until July 2018.

For more information on the project, please contact Giselle Murison at giselle.murison@birdlife.org.za

All you wanted to know about Important Bird Areas

Why should certain sites in South Africa be declared Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)? Where are these areas, and how are they identified and managed?

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Dale Wright. Image by BirdLife SA.

Dale Wright, who will be the speaker at the Club meeting on Wednesday, could be called Mr IBA of the Western and Eastern Cape.

He focuses on the IBA Programme of BirdLife South Africa. More specifically, his job is to complete IBA Assessments of sites in these two provinces, and these are used to prioritise areas for conservation action.

According to BirdLife SA, the broader work programme requires his involvement in fundraising activities, building partnerships with other organisations, universities or members of the public, and commenting on development applications. He also sits on a number of steering committees and forums to ensure the needs of birds are accounted for in the management of various sites.

Dale will explain all you wanted to know about IBAs in his presentation on Wednesday 15 March in the Fernkloof Reserve Hall. The meeting begins a 19:00. Liquid refreshments will be available from 18:30. A voluntary donation of R10 per glass will be accepted.

Remember the AGM tonight

 

There are four attractions to look forward to at tonight’s monthly meeting of the Club.

Firstly, and most important but not necessarily most attractive, is the annual general meeting, where the new Committee for the year ahead will be elected. Some excitement may be created by the new faces that will replace quite a few old faces on the Committee.

The next two items should attract more attention – Ronnie Hazell’s presentation on the Bird Challenge, and Mike Ford’s on “The life of birds”.

The fourth and last item should be the social highlight of the evening – snacks and drinks.

The meeting, in the Fernkloof Reserve Hall, will begin at 19:00. No liquid refreshments will be available before the very last item. Clear minds will be needed for the important decisions.

A work of art for those wanting more

 

Faansie Peacock will have about an hour, perhaps a little more, to present “The weird and wondrous world of waders” to the audience at the Club’s first monthly meeting of the year tomorrow.

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The latest book.

But there is a lot more to the subject, as is demonstrated by the book on waders that he has just published.

“More than two years of full-time writing and painting went into the production of ‘Chamberlain’s Waders’,” he says on his website.

The book “thoroughly covers the 80 species of waders found in Southern Africa – these include the usual suspects, as well as sheathbills, buttonquails, coursers and pratincoles,” he says.

“In addition, the book features 21 species of potential vagrants that are likely to be seen in Southern Africa in future (if you see one, please call me!). This total of 101 species represents more than 40% of the world’s wader species.

“‘Chamberlain’s Waders’ has a very strong visual component, subscribing to the principle that a picture is worth a thousand words. The book includes more than 600 new colour paintings.

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The juvenile male is Christian Regulus Peacock, accompanying his dad on a birding trip. Image from Faansie Peacock’s website.

“The colour plates form the main component of the book, and each wader, is lavishly illustrated, with 5-10 images per species.

“Illustration would typically take me about 3-5 hours per image, and involve a gradual build of some 30-40 layers. Colours are matched to hundreds of reference photos.

“Perhaps because they require so much more time and effort, I viewed the paintings as the main component, and the accompanying text only as supportive.

“Both are attempts at capturing birds’ lives and characters, and I hope that my excitement for waders shines through.”

Faansie says more than two years of full-time writing and painting went into the production of ‘Chamberlain’s Waders’. “The book follows the formula of my previous book, ‘Chamberlain’s LBJs’.”

Faansie will bring both books for interested members of the audience to buy for cash or by card.

The meeting, in the Fernkloof Reserve Hall, will begin at 19:00 tomorrow (Wednesday 18 January). Liquid refreshments will be available, as usual, from 18:30.