A Non-Event


….and there was not a lady present!!

This morning there were only five people in Fernkloof for our monthly walk.  Admittedly the weather was not too good, and it actually deteriorated as we set out and started raining, so we abandoned the walk after having seen about six bird species.  It was not our greatest outing!!

September Walk


The monthly walk in September will take place in Fernkloof Nature Reserve.  Please meet in the parking area at 8:00 am.  Ronnie Hazell will lead the walk which should cover a couple of kilometres.

August Walk at Vermont


Twelve members of the Hermanus Bird Club participated in a most enjoyable and productive morning walk, along the Vermont Coastal Path, led by John and Sheelagh Bowman. The late winter weather was perfect for birding, starting off crisp and clear, but soon warming up. Not a breath of wind. The birding got off to a great start, with a Subantarctic Skua spotted out to sea, from our meeting point. The walk along the Coastal Path to Brekvis Bay produced an interesting collection of bush and coastal birds. At the Bay, we saw both a Common Greenshank, and an African Darter. Mike Ford, who has been birding in the area for some nineteen years, had never previously seen these species along this bit of coast!

We continued the walk to Aas Baai, where more species were added to our list. These included a male Giant Kingfisher, several African Black Oystercatchers, and Swift Terns. On the way back we were rewarded with a magnificent close up view of a Southern Tchagra. Also, early returning migrants in the form of Little and White-rumped Swifts. And, as a bit of variety, offshore a Hump Backed Whale. Also good to see evidence of Cape Clawless otters living in the area.

From the parking area we drove up to Vermont Salt Pan, where with water in the Pan again, we added usefully to our bird list. Good to see a couple of Pied Avocets back. Altogether, a lovely morning. Thanks to all the hawk-eyed members who were able to help us find the birds: 55 in total!  And to Ronnie Hazell for taking the great photos.

The list of birds seen or heard was as follows:

Subantarctic Skua, Bar-throated Apalis, Bokmakierie, Pied Avocet, Southern Boubou, Cape Bulbul, Cape Canary, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Cape, Reed, and White-breasted Cormorants, African Darter, Red-eyed Dove, Yellow-billed Duck, Cattle and Little Egrets, Common Fiscal, Fiscal Flycatcher, Egyptian Goose, Harlaub’s and Kelp Gulls, Black-headed and Grey Herons, African Sacred and Hadeda Ibises, Giant Kingfisher, Blacksmith Lapwing, Rock Martin, Common Moorhen, Speckled Mousebird, African Black Oystercatcher, Speckled Pigeon, Three-banded and White-fronted Plovers, Karoo Prinia, White-necked Raven, Cape Robin-chat, Cape Sparrow, Cape Spurfowl, Common Starling, Black-winged Stilt, Southern Double Collared Sunbird, Little and White-rumped Swifts, Southern Tchagra, Cape Teal, Swift Tern, Olive Thrush, Cape Wagtail, Common Waxbill, Cape Weaver, Common Whimbrel, Cape White-eye.

John and Sheelagh Bowman

Monthly walk at Vermont



John and Sheelagh Bowman will lead our August walk along the Vermont Coastal path on Thursday 2 August.  Participants are asked to meet at the parking lot adjacent to the Jan Rabie Tidal Pool at 8:00 am.  After the coastal walk there will be a visit to the Vermont Pan, which, once again, has water in it, so there should be some good birds.  See previous notice for directions.

Outing to Grootbos

The HBC was well represented at the Grootbos Outing yesterday, with no less than 28 members present.  We were met at the lodge by our host and guide, Mike Fabricius, who led us on an enchanting trail through the milkwood forest and a very colourful section of fynbos in the area surrounding the “Growing The Future” project.

Birding in the forest was difficult as the birds were hard to see in the dense vegetation, however, we did hear a number of forest species.  What was really fascinating, though, was the wonderful shapes assumed by the milkwood trees and to see how they ‘walk’ by growing branches close to the ground that then re-root and become new trees.  We were also thrilled to see the plentiful fresh leopard tracks and the evidence of their scratching on the tree stems.  Mike did a great job as guide and was able to point out these and many other interesting features.

Our walk ended at the “Growing The Future” farm where we were shown around by the local manager, Pontsho.  This is a project which aims to train local farmers and also supplies the lodge with all its fresh produce.  Greenhouses and shade tunnels had every kind of fruit and vegetable and there were even sections for hydroponic cultivation and micro-herbs (which are so loved by modern chefs)  There is also a chicken section for fresh eggs and a piggery, and the whole complex is aimed at sustainable farming, using organic fertilisers and minimal local water.

Our bird list was not much to write home about, but the lack of birds was more than made up for by all the other interesting sights and stories.  Lester, our serious birder, who would not be distracted by all the peripheral goings on, kept the list and even photographed a most unusual Bulbul, which he termed a Snowy Bulbul!

We were treated to a fine tea at the end of our tour.  Well done Grootbos for a most enjoyable morning!

Bird List:  Bar-throated Apalis;  Cape Batis;  Yellow Bishop;  Bokmakerie;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Bulbul;  Cape Turtle Dove;  Red-eyed Dove;  Fork-tailed Drongo;  Common Fiscal;  Fiscal Flycatcher;  Sombre Greenbul;  Hadeda Ibis;  Red-faced Mousebird;  Speckled Mousebird;  Karoo Prinia;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Cape Sparrow;  House Sparrow;  Cape Spurfowl;  Cape Sugarbird;  Orange-breasted Sunbird;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Common Waxbill;  Cape Weaver;  Cape White-eye.



August Walk


Directions to Jan Rabie Tidal Pool

John and Sheelagh Bowman will lead our August walk along the Vermont Coastal path on Thursday 2 August.  Participants are asked to meet at the parking lot adjacent to the Jan Rabie Tidal Pool at 8:00 am.  After the coastal walk there will be a visit to the Vermont Pan, which, once again, has water in it, so there should be some good birds.

Walk at Grootbos on 5 July


In the Grootbos forest

Our next week’s walk will be at Grootbos which is a stunning place.  We will meet at Fernkloof at 07.30 to be at Grootbos at about 08.00 and will be led by John Saunders, and Mike Fabricius, from Grootbos, will be our host at the venue.

The walk is approximately a two hours and is for members only please.

Walk at Harold Porter Reserve


The June monthly walk will take place on Thursday 7 June at Harold Porter Reserve, and will be led by Ronnie Hazell.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 7:30 am to consolidate transport.  We will also visit the Penguin colony at Rocky Point.  Entrance fees are payable at both venues, however, members of the National Botanical Society can visit HP using their membership cards.

May Walk at Arabella Estate


Meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 07h40 on Thursday 3 May to consolidate transport to Arabella Estate where Carin Malan will be your guide.  This promises to be a good and interesting outing with a knowledgeable guide.  It should last around 2-3 hours. Don’t miss it!

Stanford Outing


Twenty two birders enjoyed a perfect morning at Stanford today.  The weather was glorious and there were plenty of interesting birds to see.  Barbara and Graham presented us with a good walk around the village, which included the path along the river, then via Vlei road to Appel se Dam.  We saw a total of 70 species, including such rarities as the beautiful Hottentot Teal and a Black Harrier.

The full list comprised:    Bar-throated Apalis; Southern Red Bishop; Cape Bulbul; Jackal Buzzard; Cape Canary; Le Vaillant’s Cisticola; Red-Knobbed Coot; Reed Cormorant; White-breasted Cormorant; Black Crake; African Darter; Laughing Dove; Red-eyed Dove; Fork-tailed Drongo; White-backed Duck; White-faced Duck; Yellow-billed Duck; Cattle Egret; Common Fiscal; Greater Flamingo; African Dusky Flycatcher; Fiscal Flycatcher; Egyptian Goose; Spur-winged Goose; African Goshawk; Little Grebe; Sombre Greenbul; Helmeted Guineafowl; Black Harrier; African Harrier-Hawk; Black-headed Heron; Grey Heron; Purple Heron; African Hoopoe; Hadeda Ibis; Sacred Ibis; Giant Kingfisher; Malachite Kingfisher; Pied Kingfisher; Blacksmith Lapwing; Common Moorhen; Red-faced Mousebird; Speckled Mousebird; Speckled Pigeon; Three-banded Plover; Karoo Prinia; White-necked Raven; Cape Robin-Chat; Little Rush Warbler; Black Sawwing; Streaky-headed Seedeater; House Sparrow; Common Starling; Red-winged Starling; Malachite Sunbird; Southern Double-collared Sunbird; Barn Swallow; Purple Swamphen; Lesser Swamp Warbler; White-rumped Swift; Hottentot Teal; Olive Thrush; Cape Turtle Dove; Cape Wagtail; Common Waxbill; Cape Weaver; Cape White-Eye; Pin-tailed Whydah; Knysna Woodpecker.