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.

 

Beaumont Bird Walk

No less than 27 keen birders attended the walk at Beaumont Farm this morning.  We were ably led by Margie and Barbara, who had a pleasant three kilometre stroll arranged around some orchards and along the stream.  This enabled us to see 42 bird species on the farm, before enjoying our tea on the lawns.

Then some of us returned via the Swartrivier road to Hermanus. The list was augmented by a further 15 birds along this productive road, including sightings of 4 Denham’s Bustards, an unidentified Falcon and a couple of African Black Ducks, bringing the total for the trip to 57.

Beaumont Farm on Thursday 1 June

Please don’t forget that the monthly outing on June 1 will be at Beaumont Farm (Bot River) and will be led by Margie and Barbara.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 07h55, so that we can be away by 08h00.  Remember to bring refreshments, which can be enjoyed on the lawn, before returning via the Swartrivier road (for those so inclined).

Challengers will view this as an opportunity to augment their lists, which, by now, must be looking good!

June Walk

The walk for June 1st will  be to the Beaumont Wine Estate. A walk around the lake and the estate will be led by Margie Ogston & Barbara Swart, after which we will drive back along the Swartriver Road.

We meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 7.30 am, so as to be at the wine estate at about 8.00 – 8.15 am

Stanford Outing on 4 May

John Saunders writes as follows:

“Irene and I did a recce today of the Stanford Wandelpad and glad that we did. We found that one part of the footpath is underwater due to the high water of the river which will be that way until or unless the Grotto Beach access to the sea is breached. Hence we had to divert to other roads and join the path further along.

We also met an extremely nice chap…who is also a keen member of the Stanford Bird club… Royd Frith… and he pointed out an excellent side track with superb views of the river. He also knows Peter Hochfelden and suggested we ask him to be our guide on the 4th May.

On our return home I phoned Peter Hochfelden and he has willingly agreed to be our tour guide for the visit. I have discussed this with Mike Brian and he is very happy with this idea.

Hence…for the blog…  we still meet and Fernkloof at 0800 and once we have consolidated cars we drive to Stanford to meet Peter at the Information Shop along Queen Victoria road.

For any members who wish to meet us there I suggest that they park along Longmarket (3rd turning on the left after turning off the R43 ) next to the Village Green where there is plenty of space for parking.

The walk is about 2 kilometres, so please bring liquid refreshment to keep you cool en route.

Cheers.    John”

Birding, but alas not twitching, at Rooi Els rocks

Story Craig Holmes, images Charles Naudé

Last Thursday was a perfect day for birding at Rooi Els. But not for twitching.

The 25 Hermanus Bird Club members and guests, with Mike Ford in command, arrived at Rooi Els on the most windless day that most of them had ever experienced there.

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Female Ground Woodpecker (Grondspeg)

The target was to see the specials that could often be found perched on the rocks seemingly strewn on the southern slope of the Klein Hangklip Mountain, such as the Cape Rockjumper (Kaapse Berglyster), Sentinel Rock-Thrush (Langtoon-kliplyster), and Ground Woodpecker (Grondspeg)

Lo and behold, Mike led the group of birders straight to the Rockjumper, which gave a wonderful display. We then marched on and what did we find? A group of Ground Woodpeckers, also performing and showing off beautifully.

A good variety of other birds were sighted, including Orange-breasted Sunbirds.

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Birders, turned into twitchers, turned into waders

Then the group of birders turned into twitchers, heading off to the Rooi Els River mouth to find the Elegant Tern (Elegante Sterretjie) which had been reported there.

Despite Mike’s telescope, and more than 20 pairs of binoculars,  no Elegant Tern was to be found. Only the usual Common (Gewone), Sandwich (Groot-) and Swift Terns (Geelbek-sterretjies in their hundreds.

The group took a shortcut back to the parked vehicles, and unexpectedly had to take off their shoes to wade through shallow water next to the river bank.

About two hours after departing for the last stop – Harold Porter Botanical Garden in Betty’s Bay, the Elegant Tern was reported to be back at the river mouth.

At Harold Porter the sight of a variety of sunbirds (suikerbekkies) and Swee Waxbills (Suidelike Swie) was enjoyed.

The morning’s visit ended with a total of 54 species seen or heard.

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Trying in vain to spot the Elegant Tern (Elegante Sterretjie)

 

It’s time to search for those rock birds

 

The target birds for the Club monthly walk in March will be that trio of elusive rock birds – the Cape Rockjumper (Kaapse Berglyster),  Sentinel Rock-Thrush (Langtoon-kliplyster), and the Ground Woodpecker (Grondspeg), which is also more often seen on a rock than on the ground.

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Sentinel Rock-thrush. Image taken at Rooi Els, published on the website Per’s Birding Pages

The walk, at Rooi Els and Harold Porter Botanical Garden in nearby Betty’s Bay on Thursday 2 March, will be led by the elusive Mike Ford, who happens to be back in Hermanus from his frequent international bird-ringing travels.

Those three rock birds have been spotted in Rooi Els, together with less elusive birds like the Cape Rock-Thrush (Kaapse Kliplyster), Orange-breasted Sunbird (Oranjebors-suikerbekkie), and Cape Grassbird (Grasvoël).

On the way back, the group of birders will stop at Harold Porter, with it’s beautiful garden, and a walkway and access to the waterfall, restored after the destructive flooding two years ago. Two special birds to be seen there, are the Blue-mantled Crested-flycatcher (Bloukuif-vlieëvanger) and African Paradise-flycatcher (Paradys-vlieëvanger).

The group will depart from the parking area of the Onrus Trading Post at the turn-off to Vermont at 07:00. Bring your own refreshments for a picnic at Harold Porter, where the entrance fee is R22 for adults under 60 and R12 for adults over 60.

Walk in Fernkloof on Thursday at 07:00

 

The last Club monthly morning walk of the year will be at the Fernkloof Nature Reserve on Thursday 1 December. It will be led by Ronnie Hazell, along a route of 5 km.

The walk will begin at the parking area opposite the Fernkloof Hall at 07:00. Bring snacks and drinks for a picnic afterwards.