Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters

roncorylus

A report from SARBN indicated the presence of these birds on the road into Rooisand, so we wasted no time in going to look for them.  We counted no less than eight birds along the fence.  This was a truly great experience, seeing these beautiful creatures outside of their normal range.  Then, on the way home, we saw a Secretarybird walking in the field just opposite the entrance to Benguella Cove, so the afternoon was well spent, indeed!

IMG_3437 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater at Rooisand

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Why the Challenge Works

 

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At Rooisand

This morning Barbara, Margie, Renee and I went birding in area three (for those who don’t know, there are 5 separate areas around Hermanus).  It was the first foray into the area for Barbara and Margie in terms of their challenge list and boy, was it a great one!  We saw no less than 90 species, mainly at Rooisand, with some good birds added at Harold Porter Reserve.

Rooisand was amazing with very large numbers of waders and, I think I can say with confidence, that it must currently rank as the best birding location in the Overstrand area.  We saw a flock of Glossy Ibises numbering around 45 birds and no less than 7 Hottentot Teals, along with many others too numerous to mention, including Cape Longclaws, a Ruff, many Grey Plovers, Little Stints, Black-winged Stilts, Curlew Sandpipers, etc., etc.

We probably would not have undertaken this trip if it were not for the Challenge, so we are very pleased to be involved and really enjoying experiences like this!  I did not carry my camera with me when we walked the area, possibly explaining the good sightings we had. (When I have a camera handy the birds always fly away!!)

Ronnie

 

Programme 2018

 

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

January

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.

February

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.

March

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.

April

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.

May

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.

June

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

July

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 ?

August

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

September

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 ?.

October

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

November

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.

December

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

Christmas Party

 

Around 70 club members attended the Christmas party held last evening at Fernkloof.  It was a fun-filled affair, starting with the photographic competition, in which members were asked to judge images submitted in the categories of Best Picture, Best Caption and Best Fun Photo.  No less than 42 images were submitted – all of a very high standard and the crowd had their work cut out trying to decide which were the best.  In the end Frank Hallett got the award for Best Picture, with his wonderful action shot showing a Jackal trying to make a meal of a pair of Namaqua Sand Grouse.

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Outfoxed by Frank Hallett

 

Margie Ogston won the Best Caption with her image of two very different looking Guineafowl, with the title as below.

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‘THE THOUGHT OF A ZIPLINE IN FERNKLOOF MAKES THE HAIR ON MY NECK RISE’ by Margie Ogston

The Best Fun Photo award went to Ed Meyer, with his great image of interaction between a Little Egret and a Black Heron.

What's under there?  - Kwetsani, Okavango

What ya hiding under your umbrella?

The ‘Bring and Braai’ went well with much jostling around the fire – and the unusual interruption caused by the gas running out and some frantic scrabbling in order to eventually find a bottle which was not empty.  Then there was an interlude of Anagram solving – trying to identify the bird names.  Mariette Pitlo was the star of the show, achieving a good number of answers in quick time.

It was good to see many new members participating and we were all blown away when Wolfgang and Gertrude stood up and gave us an impromptu song in Austrian!  What a surprise and what a great way to introduce yourselves to the club!  I just wish I had had my camera with me to record all the festivities.

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

MUNICIPALITY AWARDS TENDER FOR “SHEBEEN” IN FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE AT KAMMABAAI

 

A Letter to members of the Hermanus Botanical Society:

Dear Members,

A number of our HBS members have spoken and written to us asking for their letters of horror and strong opposition to the above “shebeen” to be circulated to you, and for you also to object.  See examples below from a member of our committee and a letter from one of our Honorary Life Members.

For those of you who didn’t attend the Ward 3 Public Meeting on 15th November 2017, where the issue was discussed, the Municipality has awarded a tender for the operation of a “shebeen” in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve at the entrance to Kammabaai beach over the holiday period. It began operating yesterday (see photos below) and apparently, the “shebeen” has been split between the entrance to Kammabaai beach and the lawn at the bottom of 6th Avenue, Voelklip.

HBS believes that in introducing this commercial venture, the Municipality is breaking several laws and contravening some its own Bylaws and Policies, for example; FAB wasn’t consulted, no public consultation; drinking in public; an activity not permitted in a proclaimed Nature Reserve; noise pollution over a wide area, etc.

If you are able to, please put your objection in writing by email, asking the Municipality to immediately remove this “shebeen” addressed to:

·       The Municipal Manager (cgroenewald@overstrand.gov.za)

With copies (cc) to

·       Don Kearney, Area Manager (dkearney@overstrand.gov.za)

·       Kari Brice, Ward 3 Councillor (karibrice@hermanus.co.za)

·       Rudolph Smith, Executive Mayor (rsmith@overstrand.gov.za)

·       Dudley Coetzee, Deputy Mayor (dcoetzee@overstrand.gov.za)

·       Roderick Williams, Director Community Services (dircomservices@overstrand.gov.za)

Kind regards,

Hermanus Botanical Society

 

Subject: Pop Up drinks and food lounge Voelklip /Kammabaai. 1/12/2017.

Dear Kari, Coenie, Don, Liezl and Penelope, 

Regarding the installation of a Pop Up bar and food outlet adjacent to Kammabaai family beach in Voelklip.

I wish to add my name to the growing number of concerned people who have and are still objecting to this unacceptable project by the municipality. 

The fact that the public, property owners and ratepayers have not been adequately consulted about this ill conceived plan, is totally unacceptable. 

A pop up bar and food outlet in this beautiful area close to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve is simply madness and will certainly cause social and other problems in the area. 

There are municipal signs there that state that drinking is not allowed, so how is this going to be controlled and or compromised?  

Can I have an assurance please that the structures are not on the Fernkloof Nature Reserve? 

I am sure that if this structure was planned and constructed in your neighbourhood, it would not happen!  This kind of activity is anathema and I hope this will be stopped immediately. This is certainly a disaster waiting to happen there.

Kari I request please that you as my Ward 3 Councillour object most strongly to this antisocial and unwelcome project.

Thanking you, 

Linda Griffiths 

Hermanus Botanical Society & FAB

 

Dear Mr Groenewald,

I wish to draw your attention to the UNACCEPTABLE SITUATION at Kammabaai. This is a matter which needs your urgent attention.

My letter to the Ward 3 Councillor Kari Brice explains my deep concern. The rates that we pay certainly do NOT warrant this sort of activity ever.

I would appreciate an explanation from you as the Town Manager. 

Kind regards

Margaret de Villiers

The New Challenge Kicks Off

 

Yesterday saw the start of the new HBC Challenge.  This requires participants to identify as many bird species as they can in five different areas around Hermanus over a period of five months.  No doubt there are many excited birders starting to tick off everything they see in the hope of achieving a good total and learning about their local birds at the same time.

Remember, five months is a long time and it is never too late to join in the fun, so if you have not yet entered, there is still plenty of time and the birds are waiting out there for you!  I started yesterday and managed to see many common birds, but also some that are not that common.  Graham will be collating the results at the end of each month, and if you are not taking part, then you will not be included in the listing, so come on, GIVE IT A GO!

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African Hoopoe