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.

April Monthly Walk – Stanford


The Bird Club walk on Thursday 5th April to Stanford will be led by Barbara Palmer

It will include walking along the footpath by the river, a visit to the hide and walking around the village.

Those wishing to join this enjoyable and interesting trip should meet at Fernkloof at 7. 00 a.m.

The walk should take between two and three hours.

A calm morning (1)



Somerset West Bird Club planned to spend a morning at Rooisand on Saturday, the 17th. Sonja Peacey, who was leading the outing, thought it would be a good idea to ask someone from our Club to join them, and show them around, as it’s on our home territory. John Saunders, our ‘walks and talks man’, was asked, but he was going to be away stargazing.  So we were invited to do the honours. We asked Mike Mac Naught to join us.

On the morning, it was blowing a gale in Vermont, but surprisingly, when we arrived at Rooisand, there was hardly any wind. We were joined by Sonja and 13 other members of their Club. The water level at the hide was even lower than when our Club visited Rooisand in early February. But birds were steadily picked up by the sharp eyed participants. Most of the ‘usual suspects’ were seen. On the way back from the hide we walked along the shore of the vlei, and steadily added new birds to the list, although the wind had now picked up. Unfortunately we couldn’t find the Cape Longclaws. However, the highlight of the morning was early in the walk, when we were fascinated by an interesting interaction between a Western Osprey and a Caspian Tern which was harassing it repeatedly, for whatever reason, right over our heads. We all enjoyed stunning views of this interaction.

We were also able to add a couple of new birds to our Challenge list.

So a good morning was enjoyed by all, several of the visitors not having been to Rooisand before. And our role in the outing was appreciated. A great example of cooperation between Bird Clubs in our region.


John and Sheelagh Bowman

Haygrove Farm Outing


There must have been something in the air this morning, when no less than 45 birders turned up to join the outing to Haygrove Farm!  This necessitated dividing the group into two, so that Mike led one half and I, the other.  We were accompanied by a visitor or two and everyone enjoyed the outing which yielded 52 species.  Surprisingly, we saw no ducks, but this may have been because the dams were all very low.  A deck in the forest near a dam provided the ideal site for a post-walk picnic.

These are what we saw:  Cape Batis; Southern Red Bishop; Yellow Bishop; Southern Boubou; Cape Bulbul; Common Buzzard; Brimstone Canary; Cape Canary; Grey-backed Cisticola; Levaillant’s Cisticola; Red-knobbed Coot; Reed Cormorant; Blue Crane; Cape Crow; Cape Turtle Dove; Red-eyed Dove; Tambourine Dove; Fork-tailed Drongo; Common Fiscal; African Dusky Flycatcher; African Paradise Flycatcher; Fiscal Flycatcher; Egyptian Goose; Cape Grassbird; Little Grebe; Helmeted Guineafowl; Hamerkop; Grey Heron; African Hoopoe; Hadeda Ibis; Rock Martin; Speckled Mousebird; Speckled Pigeon; Cape Robin-Chat; Black Saw-wing; Streaky-headed Seedeater; Cape Siskin; Cape Sparrow; Southern Grey-headed Sparrow; Cape Spurfowl; Red-winged Starling; African Stonechat; Cape Sugarbird; Amethyst Sunbird; Malachite Sunbird; Southern Double-collared Sunbird; Barn Swallow; Greater Striped Swallow; Olive Thrush; Cape Wagtail; Cape Weaver; Cape White-eye.



Outing to Haygrove Berry Farm


After recovering from an excellent AGM, we move on.

The walk on the 1st March to the Hay Grove Berry Farm to be led by Mike Ford

We will meet on the grass parking area at the Hemel en Aarde village at 07.00 to consolidate transport.

The walk is anticipated to last between two and three hours. Bring your own drinks and snacks if you wish.

I have been asked to remind everyone that the Berry Farm is a working farm and as such there is machinery and tractors etc. moving round all the time so please take care where you walk.

They do not sell any products to the general public.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Club Meeting and AGM


Members are reminded that the AGM will be held on Wednesday 21 February.  This will follow immediately on a our regular meeting at which Duncan Butchart will speak on Garden Birds and present his book on this subject. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the reduced price of R200.

The meeting will commence at 6:30 pm, and will be followed by an opportunity to socialise over snacks and drinks.

The next monthly outing will be held on Thursday 1 March and will be to Haygrove Berry Farm, under the guidance of Mike Ford.  Participants should meet in the gravel parking area at Hemel’n’Aarde Village at 7:00 am

Rooisand Outing


No less than thirty keen birders braved the strong wind this morning to go birding at Rooisand Reserve.  As expected the water levels were very low and, with the windy conditions, birds were few and far between, however, we managed to see 47 species, so it wasn’t too bad after all.  There was no sign of the White Wagtail, which created such stir a few weeks ago, nor did we see the much anticipated Osprey or Fish Eagle, but there were a couple of Cape Longclaws, and four Great Crested Grebes were spotted on the water.

The list included Bar-throated Apalis, Bokmakerie, Cape Bulbul, Common Buzzard, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Canary, Cape Cormorant, White-breasted Cormorant, Namaqua Dove, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Common Fiscal, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Common Greenshank, Hartlaub’s Gull, Kelp Gull, Black-headed Heron, Grey Heron, Sacred Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Hadeda Ibis, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kite, Cape Longclaw, Brown-throated Martin, Common Ringed Plover, Kittlitz’s Plover, Three-banded Plover, White-fronted Plover, Karoo Prinia, Cape Robin-Chat, African Spoonbill, Cape Spurfowl, Common Starling, Red-winged Starling, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Barn Swallow, Alpine Swift, White-rumped Swift, Cape Teal, Caspian Tern, Cape Turtle-Dove, Cape Wagtail and Common Whimbrel.

A few of the participants then stopped at the Hawston sewage ponds on the way home and added Marsh Harrier, Spotted Thick-Knee, Yellow-billed Duck, Intermediate Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Purple Heron, Little Grebe, Common Moorhen, Levaillant’s Cisticola and Lesser Swamp Warbler.  A great effort, bringing the total to 57 species!

Outing to Rooisand Reserve


Burchell’s Coucal at Rooisand

John Saunders will be leading this walk on Thursday 1 February.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 7:00 am to consolidate transport.

Rooisand has turned up a good number of birds this summer including some very rare vagrants, so be sure you don’t miss this outing.  Unfortunately, a lot of the water that was attracting the birds has dried up, but there should still be many species available.