Hacking Team at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – January 2019.

This is a working relationship with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club.

Today we were joined by Jessie, mother and Cub mistress, and by her daughter and friend Gabrielle and Cloe who are members of the Bergvliet Scouts based at Zandvlei. They were coming to do their bit by giving back to the area they use for their Scouting activities. The girls also have to do 6 hours of community service for their school requirements.

The estuary mouth was closed and there was an inflow of water under the railway bridge at 1 metre per 8 seconds, this due to the very good rains the previous evening. It was sunny and hot with a cool north wind blowing and a few clouds in the sky. As we were crossing the bridge there was a canoeist coming along the inlet to Zandvlei into the Keysers and Westlake Rivers so the group watched a waved him under the bridge. We counted about 40 Greater Flamingos in the background in the upper Zandvlei. Robin mentioned that he had seen a pair of White backed Ducks in the Scout basin on New Years Day. There is a group of them at Strandfontein and they probably came for a visit from there.

We were able to show the Scouts a variety of invasives and some very valuable indigenous plants to the area. They learned how to identify Port Jackson, Rooikrans, Brazilian Pepper, Manatoka and Vichia invasives and got stuck in and pulled up many seedlings and saplings in management block 27.  Vichia shown in flowering form and as dried creeper with seed pods containing up to 6 seeds per pod which burst open and disperse the seed over a wide area.  They also learned to eat Skilpad bessies and said they were nice.
“The Team” had discussed going back to the Old Boyes Drive site in February, but after a recce by Robin and Barry it was found that there is plenty to do further north of where we have been working in block 27. Bert continued chopping down Rooikrans logs for his fire making. We all stay well away from his razor sharp “flying axe”.

Not many insect species and bird species were seen. Small grasshoppers were the most present insects we saw, beside a Dameselfly and a Dragonfly. There were 12 species of birds seen, possibly due to the low barometric air pressure which could have influenced their presence, along with the insect species?

The photographs by Gavin Lawson.

Gavin Lawson.

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