Hacking Team at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 11 May 2024.

This is a voluntary working relationship with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club since 1974.

Yesterday was the first day of winter raining, cold and overcast all day. Today we have a clear sunny and cloudless sky overhead with a slight breeze and cool air. Bert carried on with the big trees on the lower slope above the traffic dept. He has made a big dent in the small forest of Port Jacksons. Robin and I tackled the various Port Jackson resprouts also pulling seedlings along the way. There were some myrtle shrubs which have sprung up. We found Cape Honey Suckle in the southern section which has established itself on the centre triangle. The Morning Glory has moved further north since we were last working here about 12 years ago. It was surprising how wet the top soil was from the rain yesterday in some places it was wet at 10cm below the surface. Robin found an Erica tristis with many flowers most past the blooming stage. There were a number of boulders with weathered holes filled with water from the rain yesterday.

There were 3 species of butterflies seen, Dotted Border, Cabbage White and Autumn Widow. In the grassy areas there were still plenty of grasshoppers jumping about as we made out way through these areas. We found what we called “the library” when we first worked the area there were a collection of library books which a “bergie” living there and using it as a dry shelter. It must have been built in the days when the quarry site was been used in the early 1900’s. It had an iron frame set in rock and concrete at the entrance. Maybe the workers stored tools or personal possessions there for the week while they worked up the mountain above Lakeside. They quarried rocks and stone for the road curbs in the Muizenberg and surround suburbs also the stairways between Main Road and Boyes Drive. We saw small foot prints in the wet/damp sandy areas which appeared to be mongoose. From the vantage point where Robin and I were working we could clearly see colourful fishing boats around Seal Island, the air was very clear today. Even the mountains across the False Bay were clear and with shadow definition as the sun is at a low angle these days and about 6 weeks from the winter solstice.

The highlight bird was a Common Peacock (see the photo) following a flock of Helmeted Guineafowl around on the lower slopes. There is plenty of shed Helmeted Guineafowl feathers at the scratch patches even on the upper slopes. We saw 9 bird species today, RW Starling the most prolific.

See this link for the past reports of what we have done.

photographs by Gavin Lawson.

Gavin Lawson.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.