Outing to Platbos Forest


Twenty two keen birders met at Fernkloof at 07.00 this morning the 7th January and were treated an absolutely beautiful walk led by Lester van Groeningen.

The bird numbers weren’t high but several walkers expressed their opinion by saying that they would love to return to Platbos again just to walk and enjoy the forest.

Platbos is unusual gem of an ancient indigenous forest situated at the foot of Africa. Described by botanist and author, Professor Eugene Moll, as a “unique South African forest jewel”, this is a forest that enchants and inspires all who come to visit.

Birds seen at or near Platbos         Jackal Buzzard   Olive pigeon   Cape Turtle Dove  Common (Steppe) Buzzard   Barn Swallow   Cape Weaver   Southern (Common) Fiscal  Karoo Prinia   Cape Bulbul Brimstone Canary   Grassbird   Greater Striped Swallow   Red Wing Starling   Common (Eurasian) Starling   Sombre Greenbul   Cape Robin Chat  Guinea Fowl   Bar Throated Apalis   Cape White Eye   Southern Double Collared Sunbird  Cape Batis Dusky Flycatcher   Tambourine Dove (call only)   Fork Tailed Drongo  Paradise Flycatcher (female)   Alpine Swift   Hadeda Ibis   Western Cattle Egret   White Rumped Swift   Yellow Billed Kite       Total 29.

Seen at Adam’s Dam, Stanford        Yellow   Billed Duck   Red Knobbed Coot  White faced Whistling Duck   Reed Cormorant   African Darter   Common Moorhen       Total 6.

Submitted by John Saunders with photos by Mike Kokot

Platbos Outing


There will be an outing to Platbos Forest on Thursday 7th Feb, led by Lester van Groeningen.  They require an entrance fee of R30 per head, so please come prepared.  Please meet at Fernkloof at 7:00 am in order to consolidate transport.

Evening Cruise on the Lady Stanford


Upon checking the forecast I was worried that last evening’s cruise on the Lady Stanford was going to be a wind blown disaster. The members on the trip all arrived early and boarding was done very efficiently.  We had people requiring assistance and Peter Hochfelden – the Captain and ex Chair of the Stanford Bird Club – moved the boat to allow easy access. His helper, a very strong young man, physically carried one of our members on to the boat- he was amazing. Peter is an excellent birder and was very keen to spot and identify.

We set off on our cruise in the most ideal conditions – no wind – just utterly beautiful!

Everyone had a cruise on the river to be remembered. The Lady goes much further down the river than we have gone before and birding was brilliant. When we turned around we were close to a flock of hundreds of Flamingos.

We managed 50 species and the list below was compiled by John and Shelagh and the  pictures are courtesy of John Bowman.

This was a memorable and lovely trip for all or us from brilliant to social birders on a very fine vessel.

Craig Holmes

Roberts English Name
824 Red Bishop
149 Steppe Buzzard
228 Red-knobbed Coot
58   Reed Cormorant
55   White-breasted Cormorant
208 Blue Crane
60   African Darter
354 Cape Turtle Dove
541 Fork-tailed Drongo
104 Yellow-billed Duck
71  Cattle Egret
67  Little Egret
68  Yellow-billed Egret
96   Greater Flamingo
102 Egyptian Goose
116 Spur-Winged Goose
6    Great Crested Grebe
8    Little Grebe
270 Greenshank
203 Helmeted Guineafowl
316 Hartlaub’s Gull
312 Kelp Gull
165 African Marsh Harrier
63  Black-headed Heron
65  Purple Heron
91  Sacred Ibis
94  Hadeda  Ibis
429 Giant Kingfisher
431 Malachite Kingfisher
428 Pied Kingfisher
258 Blacksmith Plover
226 Common Moorhen
349 Rock Pigeon
112 Cape Shoveller
158 Black Sparrowhawk
95   African Spoonbill
757 Eurasian Starling
295 Blackwinged Stilt
518 Eurasian Swallow
520 White-throated Swallow
223 Purple Swamp Hen
106 Cape Teal
108 Red-billed Teal
322 Caspian Tern
327 Common Tern
326 Sandwich Tern
713 Cape Wagtail
635 Cape Reed Warbler
813 Cape Weaver
814 Masked Waver

Walk at De Mond


At De Mond

Chris Cheetham, assisted by Ronnie Hazell, will lead an outing to De Mond on Thursday 6 December.  Participants should meet at Fernkloof at 7:00 am and will only return at about 3:30 pm, so make sure that you take enough food and drink for the day.

Chris says, “..if there is time, the group may come back through the Agulhas National Park to chase the Chestnut Banded Plover and Augulhas Long billed Lark ..plus others”

De Bos Wetland Trail


Yesterday’s walk along the De Bos Wetland Trail with Frank Woodvine was thoroughly enjoyed by a total of 31 HBC members.

Frank, as always was an excellent guide pointing out a number of interesting features as we moved along.

The sun came out and we enjoyed a lovely walk, albeit a wee bit vigorous up the steep hill to the edge of the reservoir.

A total of 39 species wereseen. Lester van Groenigen’s bird list is given below.

  1. Cape Crow, 2018-11-01 08:50
  2. Cape Weaver, 2018-11-01 08:51
  3. Cape Canary, 2018-11-01 08:51
  4. Karoo Prinia, 2018-11-01 08:51
  5. Cape Turtle Dove, 2018-11-01 08:52
  6. Cape Robin-Chat, 2018-11-01 08:52
  7. Cape White-eye, 2018-11-01 08:53
  8. Olive Thrush, 2018-11-01 08:53
  9. Fork-tailed Drongo, 2018-11-01 08:53
  10. Cape Spurfowl, 2018-11-01 08:53
  11. Yellow Bishop, 2018-11-01 08:54
  12. Little Rush Warbler, 2018-11-01 08:56
  13. Egyptian Goose, 2018-11-01 08:56
  14. Southern Boubou, 2018-11-01 08:56
  15. Speckled Mousebird, 2018-11-01 08:57
  16. Cape Bulbul, 2018-11-01 08:57
  17. Malachite Sunbird, 2018-11-01 09:02
  18. Cape Grassbird, 2018-11-01 09:03
  19. Familiar Chat, 2018-11-01 09:03
  20. Levaillant’s Cisticola, 2018-11-01 09:04
  21. Bar-throated Apalis, 2018-11-01 09:05
  22. Common Waxbill, 2018-11-01 09:06
  23. Red-eyed Dove, 2018-11-01 09:07
  24. Jackal Buzzard, 2018-11-01 09:10
  25. Hadeda Ibis, 2018-11-01 09:18
  26. Southern Fiscal, 2018-11-01 09:21
  27. Yellow-billed Kite, 2018-11-01 09:24
  28. Blue Crane, 2018-11-01 09:53
  29. Bokmakierie, 2018-11-01 09:56
  30. Diederik Cuckoo, 2018-11-01 09:58
  31. Red-chested Cuckoo, 2018-11-01 10:06
  32. Burchell’s Coucal, 2018-11-01 10:14
  33. African Olive Pigeon, 2018-11-01 10:18
  34. Helmeted Guineafowl, 2018-11-01 10:24
  35. Common Starling, 2018-11-01 10:24
  36. Sombre Greenbul, 2018-11-01 10:24
  37. Greater Striped Swallow, 2018-11-01 10:25
  38. Black Saw-wing, 2018-11-01 10:25
  39. African Dusky Flycatcher, 2018-11-01 10:40

Cheers. John

Outing to Gabrielskloof


Around thirty birders attended our monthly walk at Gabrielskloof.  We were met by Barry Anderson, who took us to the farm and introduced us to the area, after which we were free to move around as we pleased.  This gave us the opportunity to explore a couple of habitats, before returning to our starting point for tea and a final update of our checklist.  We were pleased to note that we had observed or heard no less than 53 species.

These were;  Bar-throated Apalis;  Southern Red Bishop;  Yellow Bishop;  Bokmakerie;  Cape Bulbul;  Cape Bunting;  Denham’s Bustard;  Jackal Buzzard;  Brimstone Canary;  Cape Canary;  Familiar Chat; Grey-backed Cisticola; White-breasted Cormorant; Blue Crane;  Cape Crow;  Pied Crow;  Klaas’s Cuckoo; Cape Turtle Dove;  Red-eyed Dove;  Fork-tailed Drongo;  Yellow-billed Duck;  Common Fiscal;  Egyptian Goose;  Spur-winged Goose;  Little Grebe;  Helmeted Guineafowl;  Black-headed Heron;  Hadeda Ibis;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Large-billed Lark;  Speckled Mousebird;  Speckled Pigeon;  African Pipit;  Karoo Prinia;  White-necked Raven;  Karoo Scrub Robin;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Cape Shoveller;  Cape Sparrow;  Southern Grey-headed Sparrow;  Cape Spurfowl;  African Stonechat;  Malachite Sunbird; Orange-breasted Sunbird;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Greater Striped Swallow;  White-rumped Swift;  Spotted Thick-knee;  Cape Wagtail;  Cape Weaver;  Cape White-eye;  Pin-tailed Whydah.

The return journey along the Swartrivier road was undertaken individually and the species for this section were not included in the Gabrielskloof count, but there will have been many additional species along this well-known birding route.  Challenge participants will no doubt have added considerably to their lists for October.

We all owe Gabrielskloof and Barry a sincere ‘thank you’ for allowing us to spend an excellent morning on this great property.


Walk at Gabrielskloof


Our monthly walk takes place at Gabrielskloof next Thursday, the 4th October.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post (OTP) at 7:30 am to consolidate transport.  Barry Anderson of Gabrielskloof will be our guide and the journey to and from the venue should also provide good birding.