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.

Programme 2018


Herewith the 2018 programme of events.  Please note that this schedule is flexible, so look out for possible amendments throughout the year.


15th – Committee Meeting.          17th – Club Meeting at 18h30.   Our guest speaker will be Gerhard Vosloo and he will speak on Birds of the Kgalagadi.        Month 2 of the Challenge.


1st – Monthly walk at Rooisand Reserve led by John Saunders.           19th – Committee Meeting.          21st – AGM at 18h30.  Our guest speaker will be Duncan Butchart and he will speak about his book on garden birds in Southern Africa.      Month 3 of the Challenge.


1st – Monthly walk at Haygrove Berry Farm led by Mike Ford.       19th – Committee Meeting.              21st – Club Meeting at 18h30.  Guest speaker will be Christine Hagen and she will speak about Penguins or Coastal Birds.           Month 4 of the Challenge.   Outing to De Hoop.


5th – Monthly walk at Stanford, led by Barbara Palmer.          16th – Committee Meeting.                    18th – Club Meeting at 18h00.  Guest speaker will be Ross Wanless, who will talk about Saving Seabirds from Extinction.      Last month of the Challenge!     Outing to Honeywood Farm.


5th – Monthly walk Benguela Cove led by John Saunders.        14th – Committee Meeting.                    16th – Club Meeting at 18h00.  Guest speaker will be John Bowman and he will speak on Thailand.     Outing to Redstone Hills and Die Hel.


7th – Monthly walk in the Caledon Gardens led by Ronnie Hazell.        18th – Committee Meeting.           20th – Club Meeting at 18h00.   Guest speaker will be Erika Brink and she will talk about the Nuwejaars Wetlands


5th – Monthly walk at Grootbos an Stanford Platform, led by John Saunders.        16th – Committee Meeting.             18th – Club Meeting at 18h00.  Guest speaker will be Vernon Head and he will talk about ?


2nd – Monthly walk on the Onrus and Vermont Coastal path led by John and Sheelagh Bowman.            13th – Committee Meeting.         15th – Club Meeting at 18h00.    Quiz evening


6th – Monthly walk in Fernkloof led by ?.           10th – Committee Meeting.           12th – Club Meeting at 18h00.  Guest speaker will be Wicus Leewner and he will talk on ?.


4th – Monthly walk at Gabrielskloof led by John Saunders.           15th – Committee Meeting.            17th – Club Meeting at 18h30.  Guest speaker will be Gavin Turner and he will speak about Zambia


1st – Monthly walk at De Mond led by Mike Ford and Chris Cheetham.           19th – Committee Meeting.           21st – Club Meeting at 18h30.  Guest speaker will be Andrea Angel and she will talk about the work of the Albatross Task Force.


6th – Monthly walk at Jesse Walton’s farm led by Mike Ford.            10th – Committee Meeting.           12th – Club Meeting at 18hoo.  Christmas Party

Fernkloof Walk


Nine members of the Club participated in an enjoyable walk, in perfect birding conditions, in Fernkloof  this morning. Having endured several days of hectic South Easters, we were very pleased that the wind had disappeared, and, as we walked early, it didn’t get too hot.

Fernkloof was looking at its best and not only did we enjoy the birds, but the ‘flower people’ in our group equally enjoyed the plant life. The bird list (35 species seen or heard) was not enormous but included a number of interesting sightings. The best was probably the fleeting view of a Rufous Chested Sparrowhawk, along with most of the usual fynbos specials. On the other hand, there were a few notable absentees, e.g. not a single Orange-breasted Sunbird!

Several of those on the walk are participating in the Club’s Challenge, so this provided a great opportunity to add to their totals, and in convivial company. This is another reason why its a good idea to join in these Club activities. A bit of excitement was a close encounter with a troop of pretty belligerent baboons, who were very reluctant to give way to us. Especially exciting for an Austrian couple, Wolfgang and Gertrud, who have just joined the Club! A bit of African wildlife, along with the birds on their first Club outing!

Say Aah

Say “Aah”

The Bird List is as follows:

Bar-throated Apalis;  Cape Batis;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Canary;  Klaas’ Cuckoo;  Laughing Dove;  Red-eyed Dove;  Common Fiscal;  African Dusky Flycatcher;  Fiscal Flycatcher;  Cape Grassbird;  Sombre Greenbul;  Hadeda Ibis;  Speckled Mousebird;  African Paradise-Flycatcher;  Karoo Prinia;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Black saw-wing;  Cape Sparrow;  Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk;  Common Starling;  Red-winged Starling;  Cape Sugarbird;  Malachite Sunbird;  Barn Swallow;  Greater Striped Swallow;  African Black Swift;  Alpine Swift;  White-rumped Swift;  Olive Thrush;  Cape Turtle Dove;  Cape Wagtail;  Cape Weaver;  Cape White-eye;  Pin-tailed Wydah

John and Sheelagh Bowman

De Mond Sightings

Apalis Bar-throated Flamingo Greater Owl Barn Teal Cape x
Avocet Pied Flamingo Lesser Oystercatcher African Black x Tern Caspian x
Barbet Acacia Pied Flycatcher African Dusky Painted-snipe Greater Tern Common x
Batis Cape Flycatcher Fiscal x Paradise-Flycatcher African Tern Sandwhich
Bee-eater European Flycatcher Spotted Pelican Great White Tern Swift x
Bishop Southern Red x Francolin Grey-winged Penguin African Tern Whiskered
Bishop Yellow x Gannet Cape Pigeon Speckled x Tern White-winged
Bittern Little Godwit Bar-tailed Pipit African x Thick-knee Water x
Bokmakierie x Goose Egyptian x Pipit Long-billed Thick-knee Spotted
Boubou Southern x Goose Spur-winged x Pipit Plain-backed Thrush Olive
Bulbul Cape x Goshawk African Plover Grey x Tit Grey
Bunting Cape Goshawk Pale Chanting Plover Kittlitz’s x Turnstone Ruddy x
Bustard Denham’s x Grassbird Cape Plover Ringed x Turtle-dove Cape x
Buzzard Forest Grebe Black-necked Plover Three-banded Vulture Cape
Buzzard Jackal x Grebe Great Crested Plover White-fronted x Wagtail Cape
Buzzard Steppe x Grebe Little x Pochard Southern Warbler Victorin’s
Canary Brimstone Greenbul Sombre x Prinia Karoo Warbler Willow
Canary Cape x Greenshank Common x Quail Common Waxbill Common
Canary Forest Guineafowl Helmeted x Rail African Waxbill Swee
Canary Whitethroated Gull Grey-headed Raven White-necked x Weaver Cape x
Canary Yellow x Gull Hartlaub’s x Reed-warbler African Wheatear Capped x
Chat Familiar Gull Kelp x Robin-chat Cape x Whimbrel Common x
Cisticola Cloud Hamerkop Rock-jumper Cape White-eye Cape x
Cisticola Grey-backed x Harrier Black Rock-thrush Cape Whydah Pin-tailed
Cisticola Levaillant’s Harrier-hawk African Roller European Woodpecker Cardinal
Cisticola Zitting Heron Black-headed x Ruff Woodpecker Ground
Coot Red-knobbed x Heron Goliath Rush-warbler Little Woodpecker Olive
Cormorant Bank Heron Greenbacked Sandpiper Common x
Cormorant Cape x Heron Grey x Sandpiper Curlew x Total Seen 85
Cormorant Crowned Heron Purple Sandpiper Wood
Cormorant Reed x Heron Squacco Saw-wing Black
Cormorant White-breasted x Honeybird Brown-backed Scrub-robin Karoo
Coucal Burchell’s Honeyguide Greater Secretarybird x
Crake Black Honeyguide Lesser Seed-eater Streaky-headed
Crane Blue x Hoopoe African Shelduck South African
Crested-Flycatcher Blue-m Ibis African Sacred x Shoveler Cape
Crombec Long-billed Ibis Glossy Siskin Cape
Crow Cape x Ibis Hadeda x Snake-Eagle Black-chested
Crow Pied Kestrel Lesser Snipe African
Cuckoo Black Kestrel Rock Sparrow Cape x
Cuckoo Diederik Kingfisher Brown-hooded Sparrow House
Cuckoo Klaas’ Kingfisher Giant Sparrow S. Grey-headed x
Cuckoo Red-chested Kingfisher Malachite Sparrowhawk Black
Cuckooshrike Black Kingfisher Pied x Sparrowhawk Rufous-chested
Curlew Eurasian Kite Black-shouldered Spoonbil African x
Darter African Kite Yellow-billed x Spurfowl Cape x
Dove Laughing Knot Red Starling Common x
Dove Namaqua Lapwing Black-smith x Starling Pied x
Dove Red-eyed x Lapwing Crowned x Starling Red-winged
Dove Rock Lark Cape Clapper Stilt Black-winged x
Dove Tambourine Lark Cape Long-billed Stint Little x
Drongo Fork-tailed x Lark Largebilled x Stonechat African x
Duck African Black Lark Redcapped x Stork White
Duck Fulvous Lark Spike-heeled Sugarbird Cape
Duck Maccoa Longclaw Cape Sunbird Amethyst
Duck White-backed Mallard Sunbird Malachite
Duck White-faced Marsh-Harrier African x Sunbird Orange-breasted
Duck Yellow-billed x Martin Banded Sunbird Souther Double-C
Eagle Booted Martin Brown-throated Swallow Barn x
Eagle Martial Martin House Swallow Greater Striped x
Eagle Verreaux’s Martin Rock Swallow Pearl-breasted
Eagle-Owl Cape Masked-weaver Southern x Swallow White-throated x
Eagle-Owl Spotted Moorhen Common x Swamphen African Purple
Egret Cattle x Mousebird Red-faced x Swamp-warbler Lesser
Egret Great Mousebird Speckled x Swift African Black
Egret Little x Neddicky Swift Alpine
Falcon Lanner Night-Heron Black-crowned Swift Common
Falcon Peregrine Nightjar Fiery-necked Swift Little
Fiscal Common x Olive-pigeon African Swift White-rumped x
Fish-Eagle African Ostrich Common Tchagra Southern x
Teal Hottentot
Teal Red-billed x
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