Greyton Outing

 

Lester writes,

“We could not have asked for better weather. 17 club members arrived in Greyton with the temperature a chilly 5 degrees but it warmed up quickly to 18 degrees with clear skies and it remained almost windless for most of the day.

However, the birds were hiding and there was a distinct lack of birds calling. In the two areas that we birded we only managed a small list (I recorded 34 species). Probably the best birds included a covey of Grey-winged Francolin that were calling loudly, but remained out of sight, a calling Long billed Pipit and a few Cape Clapper Larks seen by a few.

The walk along the trail in the Greyton Nature Reserve was particularly scenic with Proteas in flower throughout the area and attendant Cape Sugar Birds and Orange-breasted Sunbirds.  A very enjoyable walk but again not many species seen!”

Photos – Ronnie

Outing to Greyton

 

Hermanus Bird Club will be visiting the Greyton area on Thursday 4th July 2019. We will meet at the OK Minimark (Onrus) to consolidate transport and to communicate the meeting place in Greyton. (Departure time from the OK is 07:30 am). Travel time to Greyton should be approximately 1 Hour (75 Km).

The plan is to bird a drainage line / rocky hill side on the South Eastern side of Greyton (approximately 1 to 2 Km relatively easy walking) and then move over to the Greyton Nature reserve to bird the fynbos area within the reserve (we will walk a short trail here of around 1.5 Km). Please bring your own picnic Lunch and refreshments.

 Contact no’ 078 593 8977 (Lester)

Outing to Jessie Walton’s Farm

 

This morning’s outing to Jessie’s was attended by 12 members of the club, led by Lester.  Jessie joined us for our visit to the dams and her wonderful new hide.  The weather started off cold and wet, but the rain fell whilst we were in the shelter of the hide and then it cleared up, so we had a fine morning, proceeding to her garden and then on to the log cabin area.

The birds were shy, perhaps because of the cold, but we saw 50 species, with the best sightings being the garden birds, dominated by magnificent displays of Swee Waxbills. Regrettably, we did not see the Little Bittern, and we were once again confused by the hybrid Buzzard that frequents the area.

Walk at Jessie Walton’s Farm

 

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African Darter with catch at Jessie’s dam

Thursday 6th June we will be visiting Jessie Walton’s farm in the Elgin valley. We will visit a series of ponds on the farm (one with a large Bird Hide) and the surrounding paths. After this we will make our way to the plant nursery area that has a nice range of Garden birds, and then finish at their lodge which overlooks a dam, where we can have our coffee and ‘sandwiches’ on the veranda.

Specials in the area include Little Bittern in the ponds, White-faced and White-backed Duck, and a variety of other water birds. There is also a good chance of seeing the ‘Mystery Buzzard ’ which could still turn out to be a new species. A Squacco Heron has been hanging around the dam below the lodge – uncommon in the Western Cape.

We will meet and depart from the Onrus Trading Post on Thursday 6th June at 07:30am., where we can consolidate transport and travel together to the farm. Please bring you own refreshments / picnic lunch.

Regards

Lester

Vrolijkheid Reserve

 

Our monthly walk was at Vrolijkheid Reserve near to McGregor, yesterday morning.  As we drove from Hermanus, we were worried about the weather as there was a gale blowing when we approached Villiersdorp, but by the time we arrived at Vrolijkheid, we had a perfect warm clear day.

We were all thrilled by the variety of Karoo birds, starting off with Fairy Flycatchers as we set out from the picnic site.  The walk to the dams was productive with Chestnut-vented Tit-Babblers, Red-faced Mousebirds, Acacia Pied Barbets and many more. A real coup was hearing and seeing Namaqua Warblers.  Then, on the way back we saw Agulhas Long-billed Lark, a useful addition to our Challenge lists.

There were 17 members present, a good turn out considering we had to drive a total of over 300 kms. Some did, however, make more than a day of the outing and spent the preceding night in McGregor, thereby relieving themselves of the early morning start.

We recorded 92 species in and around the Reserve – a good total, achieved before the afternoon wind picked up and rather ruined the rest of the day as far as birding was concerned.

Bar-throated Apalis;  Acacia Pied Barbet;  Yellow Bishop;  Bokmakerie;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Bulbul;  Cape Bunting;  Denham’s Bustard;   Jackal Buzzard;  Cape Canary;  White-throated Canary;  Yellow Canary;  Ant-eating Chat;  Familiar Chat;  Karoo Chat;  Sickle-winged Chat;  Grey-backed Cisticola;  Levaillant’s Cisticola;  Red-knobbed Coot;  Reed Cormorant;  White-breasted Cormorant;  Blue Crane;  Long-billed Crombec;  Cape Crow;  Pied Crow;  African Darter;  Cape Turtle Dove;  Laughing Dove;   Namaqua Dove;  Red-eyed Dove;  African Black Duck;  Yellow-billed Duck;  African Fish Eagle;  Western Cattle Egret;  Common Fiscal;  Fairy Flycatcher;  Fiscal Flycatcher;  Egyptian Goose;  Spur-winged Goose;  Pale Chanting Goshawk;  Little Grebe;  Sombre Greenbul;  Helmeted Guineafowl;  Hamerkop;  African Hoopoe;  Black-headed Heron;  African Sacred Ibis;   Hadeda Ibis;  Rock Kestrel;  Black-shouldered Kite;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Crowned Lapwing;  Agulhas Long-billed Lark;  Large-billed Lark;  Banded Martin;  Brown-throated Martin;  Rock Martin;  Common Moorhen;  Red-faced Mousebird;  Speckled Mousebird;  White-backed Mousebird;  Long-billed Pipit;  Common Ringed Plover;  Three-banded Plover;   Karoo Prinia;  White-necked Raven;  Karoo Scrub Robin;  Cape Robin-Chat;  South African Shellduck;  Cape Sparrow;  House Sparrow;  Southern Grey-headed Sparrow;  Cape Spurfowl;  Common Starling;  Pied Starling;  Red-winged Starling;  Black-winged Stilt;  African Stonechat;  Malachite Sunbird;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Southern Tchagra;  Red-billed Teal;  Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler;  Layard’s Tit-Babbler;  Cape Wagtail;  Lesser Swamp Warbler;  Little Rush Warbler;  Namaqua Warbler;  Common Waxbill;  Cape Weaver;  Southern Masked Weaver.

Outing to Vrolijkheid Reserve

 

There will be a full day outing to Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve on 2nd May 2019.

Meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 06:30 (we need to get away early as it is about a 2 hour drive).

We will spend 3 to 4 hours birding the Reserve. There is a lovely picnic site near the entrance so bring whatever you need to enhance your experience!!

Birds: The special birds to look out for: Fairy Flycatcher, Grey Tit, Layards Tit-babler, Rufous-eared Warbler, Namaqua Warbler, Aghulas Long-billed Lark, Karoo Korhaan, Long-billed Crombec and many others!

There are two options to return to Hermanus (Each party to decide for themselves):

Go back via Robertson, Worcester, Villiersdorp (ie returning the way we arrived)

Take the back (dirt) roads to the R317 and on to Stormsvlei, and Riviersonderend.

Both options have potentially good birding opportunities along the way.

Directions from Hermanus: (Probably a good idea to check out the route on google maps!)

Take the R43 to Bot River, then N2 towards Caledon for a few Km, then turn left off the N2 onto the R43 towards Villiersdorp, Turn right at the ‘T’ and continue through Villiersdorp on the R43 to Worcester and before reaching Worcester turn right onto the Road sign posted to Robertson and the R60, and then turn right onto the R60 towards Robertson. Once in Robertson take the turn off towards Mcgregor and the Reserve will be on the left hand side. Overall distance is about 160 Km.

Contact: Lester van Groeningen 078 593 8977

Outing to Meerensee

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Lester and Ian Glenn led a very enjoyable outing to Meerensee and the surrounding estates this morning.  There were no less than 30 members present and the parking lot reflected this, with 11 vehicles taking up all the space!

We walked around the western edges of the Bot river lagoon and adjacent gardens and managed to record no less than 66 species, despite the cool, windy and sometimes rainy weather.  Perhaps our most interesting sighting was of an immature Cape Cormorant attempting to devour what looked like a snake, but could have been an eel.  It really struggled to swallow the c. 60 cm reptile and even regurgitated it at least once, before making off into the deeper water with its catch.  We never did see how the episode ended.

Our list, which includes birds seen at the Hawston Settling Ponds on the way home, comprised;

African Oystercatcher; African Pipit; African Sacred Ibis;  Bar-throated Apalis;  Bokmakerie;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Bulbul;  Brimstone Canary;  Cape Cormorant;  White-breasted Cormorant;  Long-billed Crombec;  Laughing Dove;  Fork-tailed Drongo;  Little Egret;  Peregrine Falcon;  Southern Fiscal;  Greater Flamingo;  Fiscal Flycather;  Cape Gannet;  Sombre Greenbul;  Common Greenshank;  Helmeted Guineafowl;  Hartlaub’s Gull;  Kelp Gull;  Black-headed Heron;  Grey Heron;  Hadeda Ibis;  Sacred Ibis;  Rock Kestrel;  Pied Kingfisher;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Brown-throated Martin;  Red-faced Mousebird;  Speckled Mousebird;  Speckled Pigeon;  Common Ringed Plover;  Three Banded Plover;  Kittlitz’s Plover;  White-fronted Plover;  Karoo Prinia;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Cape Sparrow;  Grey-headed Sparrow;  Common Starling;  Black-winged Stilt;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Malachite Sunbird;  Barn Swallow;  Greater Striped Swallow;  Little Swift;  White-rumped Swift;  Olive Thrush;  Cape Wagtail;  Common Waxbill;  Cape Weaver;  Cape White-eye;  African Spoonbill;  Cape Spurfowl;  Cape Teal;  Caspian Tern;  Sandwich Tern;  Swift Tern;  Purple Swamphen;  Common Moorhen;  Yellow-billed Duck;  Cape Shoveller.

The outing provided a good opportunity for Challengers to add a few birds to their lists.

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April Walk

The walk on Thursday 4 April will be at Meerensee and Flamingo Bay, and will be led by Ian Glenn.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 7:00 am in order to consolidate transport, after which we will drive to Flamingo Bay to meet with Ian.  Challengers, this could be an opportunity to tick some good waders!

Outing to De Mond

 

The weather forecast kept changing, but this morning everything suggested that we would be able to get in a good few hours of birding before the rain set in.  We were wrong!  On arrival everything looked good, so we walked along the lagoon edge towards the flocks of waders that could be sen in the distance, only to have a strong wind come up and then along came the rain!  We hurried back to shelter and had our coffee and snacks (Lester stayed out, which explains why he gets more birds than the rest of us!) and compiled our bird list.  It wasn’t bad, given the circumstances and we achieved a total of 76 species!  Our drive back across the Agulhas plains was unproductive, but certainly contributed to dirtying our cars more than might have been wished for!

Bar-throated Apalis;  Southern Red Bishop;  Yellow Bishop;  Bokmakerie;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Bulbul;  Cape Bunting;  Denham’s Bustard;  Common Buzzard;  Jackal Buzzard;  Brimstone Canary;  Yellow Canary;   Grey-backed Cisticola;  Levaillant’s Cisticola;   Red-knobbed Coot;  Reed Cormorant;  White-breasted Cormorant;  Black Crake;  Blue Crane;   Cape Crow;  Pied Crow;  Cape Turtle Dove;  Laughing Dove;   Red-eyed Dove;  Fork-tailed Drongo;  White-backed Duck;  Yellow-billed Duck;   Little Egret; Western Cattle Egret;  Common Fiscal;   African Paradise Flycatcher;  Fiscal Flycatcher;   Egyptian Goose;  Spur-winged Goose;    Sombre Greenbul;  Common Greenshank;  Helmeted Guineafowl;  Hartlaub’s Gull;  Kelp Gull;  Black-headed Heron;  Grey Heron;  African Sacred Ibis;   Hadeda Ibis;  Black-shouldered Kite;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Crowned Lapwing;  Red-capped Lark;  Common Moorhen;  Speckled Mousebird;  Common Moorhen;  Speckled Pigeon;  African Pipit;  Common Ringed Plover;  Grey Plover;  White-fronted Plover;  Karoo Prinia;  White-necked Raven;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Terek Sandpiper;  House Sparrow;  African Spoonbill;  Cape Spurfowl;  Common Starling;  Pied Starling;  Red-winged Starling; Little Stint;  African Stonechat;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Barn Swallow;  Greater Striped Swallow;   African Swamphen;  Caspian Tern;  Spotted Thick-Knee;  Cape Wagtail;  Cape Weaver;  Capped Wheatear;  Whimbrel;  Cardinal Woodpecker.

Photos – Ronnie and Lester (who is confusing De Mond with De Hoop)