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Outings – Cape Bird Club

OUTINGS

We’d love you to join one of our upcoming outings.

The Club runs regular outings, field trips, usually three or four every month. These can be half-day or full-day and are often to places closed to the public. This is a good way to meet new members and to get to different habitats with different birds.

Weekend outings usually take place on the first Saturday and the third Sunday each month. A weekday outing is either Tuesdays or Thursdays. See the calendar below for full details, or as published in Promerops.

Ad hoc outings do occur, these are advertised through our emailed newsletter. To receive the newsletter, sign-up via the website, details are at the foot of the home page.

Upcoming

Have a look at the outings that are coming up in our events calendar

Remember to sign-up for our enewsletter, to get up-to-date information on any ad hoc outings that might take place.

SEE BELOW FOR REPORTS OF SOME PAST OUTINGS

Outing to Kirstenbosch – Led by Penny Dichmont – 16 December 2021.

Kirstenbosch 16 December 2021 - Leader Penny Dichmont. The weather forecast for this, our last outing of the year, predicted possible rain and strong winds of up to 50 km per hour, so it was a relief to arrive at Kirstenbosch before 8 a.m. and see that Castle Rock was visible. Nineteen birders had braved the weather. It turned out to be mild, pleasant weather, which became quite sunny later on. An African Goshawk was heard calling near Gate 1 before the walk started. From Gate 2, we took the back route to the BotSoc Office and Mannikin Pond. There … Continued

Outing Cape Flats Nature Reserve – Led by Dennis Laidler – 21 November 2021.

Outing to the Cape Flats Nature Reserve, UWC. 21 November 2021 – Led by Dennis Laidler.   Twenty five Cape Bird Club members, including a couple of new members, enjoyed a warm and sunny two and a half hour walk through the 32ha reserve. Tracks and paths cover most of the reserve which comprises a mix of highly threatened Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and Strandveld. Our first and longest loop took us to the eastern portion past the small wetland. Among the early species seen were the Chestnut-vented Warbler (formerly tit-babbler), Rock Kestrel and Black-winged (formerly Black-shouldered) Kite. Levaillant's Cisticola … Continued

Outing Soetwater Enviro Centre – Led by Gigi Laidler – 02 November 2021.

Outing to the Soetwater Enviro Centre, Kommetjie. 02 November 2021 – Led by Gigi Laidler. Following last year’s successful visit to the Soetwater Enviro Centre, this year’s outing did not disappoint. The weather looked a bit ominous, but not too threatening, and we hoped the forecast “10 o’clock shower” would not make landfall. We were greeted by a Jackal Buzzard patrolling the road where we started off at the Otter Pool parking area. After Lappies Labuschagne had welcomed the group and introduced Soetwater to us, we set off towards the rocky shore to spot some seabirds. Sacred Ibis, Common Starling … Continued

Outing to the Ganzekraal Nature Reserve. – 24 October 2021

Outing to the Ganzekraal Nature Reserve. 24 October 2021 – Leader Felicity Ellmore.   This year the Ganzekraal outing was in October, I was expecting that the vegetation would be very dry by the time of the outing. However due to the good winter rains it was green and there were plenty of plants flowering. The birding started with a male Southern Black Korhaan seen as usual on the side of the road from the R27 to the gate. A group of about 25 birders set off across the beach to the Strandveld on the other side. During a three … Continued

Outing Grootboskloof Trail – Led by Margaret Maciver 06 October 2021

Outing to the Grootboskloof Trail, Constantia. 06 October 2021 – Led by Margaret Maciver.   Seventeen birders gathered at the ‘Mandala’ or Fynbos Circle at the start of the Grootboschkloof Trail in Constantia on the 6th October. We were lucky to have lovely spring weather. The walk was led by Margaret MacIver, who has been watching the Black Sparrowhawk nest along the trail closely. She shared some personal observations of the sparrowhawk pair before we set off. It was the first visit to this greenbelt area for some, including one person who had only joined the club a few weeks … Continued

Outing Darling Hills Road and Groote Post Winery – Led by Simon Fogarty – 19 September 2021.

Outing to the Darling Hills Road and Groote Post Winery. 19 September 2021 – Led by Simon Fogarty.   20 people assembled at 8.00am, in cold, cloudy and windy weather. The forecast was exactly that, strong north wester, cloudy and cold with intermittent rain. That and the fact that the recce I had done with Daryl de Beer and Mel Tripp the previous Monday, in better conditions, had not produced much good birding, didn’t fill me with confidence for what lay ahead. A Bokmakierie was calling and then seen. Soon afterwards one of our target birds, a Southern Black Korhaan … Continued

Outing to Sunbird Centre, Noordhoek – 02 September 2021

Outing to the Sunbird Centre, Noordhoek. 02 September 2021. Leader Gillian Barnes.   The day was bright and sunny and the temperature comfortable after the rain earlier in the week. Fourteen birders joined me for a gentle stroll from the old farm buildings, down the track with Peers Hill on the right and Klein Tuin mountain on the left. We turned off where the Silvermine River runs under the track. The river was in full spate and I looked under the bridge for the nest of the White-throated Swallow but, although we saw the birds, they had not made a … Continued

Conversation with Callan Cohen 12 August 2021

Access the recording below of our Zoom Monthly Meeting which was held on the 12th August 2021.

Outing to the TWO RIVERS URBAN PARK. Leader Otto Schmidt – 11 August 2021.

Outing to the TWO RIVERS URBAN PARK, Observatory. 11 August 2021.  Leader Otto Schmidt.     25 eager birders met at the parking area below the Wild Fig Restaurant in Observatory at 9am on Wednesday, 11th August for the mid-week outing along the lower Liesbeek River. It was a slightly cool but otherwise ideal, calm, sunny morning as we headed along the raised gravel path towards the river, with the temporary wetland, full after the good winter rains, on our right. The first birds of note were a calling pair of Levaillant’s Cisticolas, soon followed by the first of several … Continued

Outing to Wildevoelvlei and Kommetjie – 3rd June 2021.

Outing to Wildevoelvlei and Kommetjie - 3rd June 2021 The day dawned clear and chilly but fortunately there was no wind when twenty birders gathered at the Wildevoëlvlei Waste Water Treatment Works at 8.30 am. We parked on the track at the end closest to Imhoff and walked the short distance to the first of 6 pans. These are not very large and visibility is usually fairly good. The pans are separated by grassy banks edged with reeds and usually teem with a variety of water birds but on the day of the outing most of the ducks must have … Continued

Outing to the Blombosch Farm, Yzerfontein – 27 – 29 July 2021.

Outing to the Blombosch Farm, Yzerfontein. 27 - 29 July 2021.  Gillian Barnes.     A while ago we received a request to compile a bird list at Blombosch Farm near Yzerfontein. The property is owned by the Buffalodrift Leisure Group. You might have seen their sign and gate on the right hand side of the road on the way to the West Coast National Park but that is a separate establishment. Blombosch Farm has 4 cottages and a larger accommodation place called Hide-away Lodge (a very suitable venue for a future camp). Priscilla, Linda, Penny and I decided on … Continued

Photographic Evening 8 July 2021

Access the recording below of our Zoom Monthly Meeting which was held on the 8th July 2021.

Planting pollination corridors by Ceinwen (10 June 2021)

Ceinwen is the present Executive Director of Ingcungcu Sunbird Restoration Project which is a registered NPC working with schools, communities and local organisations to build pollinator corridors across the Cape Flats by planting gardens of locally indigenous, nectar-rich plants to attract sunbirds and insect pollinators. Since 2013 when it was established as an MSc project focusing on three high school gardens, Ingcungcu has expanded to nine schools, engaging six communities across the Cape Flats, and partners with more than 15 local organisations including the Cape Bird Club. Building strong, sustainable and supportive partnerships is at the heart of Ingcungcu's vision … Continued

Outing to the Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary, Strand – Led by Vic Smith – 16 May 2021.

Outing to the Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary, Strand. 16 May 2021 –  Leader Vic Smith.     New venue for CBC - a 10 ha site (former waste water treatment plant) conveniently situated on the R44, bordered on one side by Strand Golf Course and the Lourens River on the other. Maintained (sometimes) by the municipality under the watchful eye of the Somerset West Bird Club (SWBC), who badger them continuously for improvements..... They do cut the grass occasionally and maintain the walkways which are raised embankments (berms) dividing the various ponds, a la SSW. They also try to eliminate … Continued

Around the World in 80 days, Part 1 – Johan Schlebusch & Joy Fish (13 May 2021)

Joy Fish and Johan Schlebusch share some special birding experiences from 4 of the Cape Bird Club trips organised by the International Tours Committee.

Outing to the Majik Forest, Durbanville – Led by Kevin Drummond Hay – 18 April 2021.

Outing to the Majik Forest, Durbanville. 18 April 2021 –  Leader Kevin Drummond Hay. .     A magic forest in Durbanville, next to the main road? Yes indeed (my map said 'here there be dragons')-11.6 Km of trails, shared by mountain bikers, hikers etc. Deciduous, Coniferous trees, thick bush, interspersed with open 'grassland', with suburbia and traffic a distant memory. Our Tygerberg Bird Club 'loanee' leader, well-known local birder Kevin Drummond Hay, led 35 of us (some wearing garlic necklaces) into another world.. We started with a gentle ramble and saw plenty of birds to keep the beginners on … Continued

A late summer bushveld birding bash (8 April 2021)

CBC Meeting 8 April 2021 Mike Buckham and 3 friends visited highveld grassland and acacia thornveld areas fringing the flood plains in Limpopo Province.

Outing to D’Aria Wine Estate, Durbanville – Led by Gerald Wingate – 21 March 2021

D'Aria Wine Estate, Durbanville. 21 March 2021 Leader Gerald Wingate.     At 8am on a beautiful, sunny, windless morning 35 enthusiastic birders (all suitably masked) gathered in the car-park of the D’Aria Wine Estate in Durbanville for the monthly outing to be led by Gerald Wingate, roped in at short notice when the originally designated leader became unavailable. Following Gerald’s introduction, Priscilla presented Margaret McIver with her Promerops Award (a lovely stone carved Cape Sugarbird) which had been “virtually” presented to her at the club’s March AGM for her long-standing services to the club. The group then headed off … Continued

The effect of artificial nectar feeders on birds and Erica visitation rate in the Cape Fynbos (March 2021)

AGM Meeting: Promerops Awards and Monique du Plessis's presentation on "The effect of artificial nectar feeders on birds and Erica visitation rate in the Cape Fynbos". Nectar feeders may have positive effects by attracting nectarivorous birds towards suburbia, facilitating their urban adaptation, and supplementing bird diets when floral resources are scarce. However, this may come at the cost of luring them away from the plants they pollinate in neighbouring indigenous vegetation, with consequences for seed set. Monique will help us understand the responses of nectarivorous bird communities to this relatively novel phenomenon, which might affect all species involved in bird … Continued

Outing to the Mount Royal Golf and Country Estate – Malmesbury – 04 March 2021.

Outing to the Mount Royal Golf and Country Estate, Malmesbury. 04 March 2021 – by Simon Fogarty and Daryl de Beer.     A group of 16 birders met outside the estate on a very overcast, drizzly, but fortunately wind free morning. As most of the birding was to be on foot, we managed to fit into four vehicles for the short journey to the main birding area, a wide strip of sloping, natural vegetation with a dam and wetlands between the housing estate and the perimeter fence, beyond which were vast wheat fields. We took a twisty route, as … Continued

Trevor Hardaker talks about his record breaking challenge year in 2020 (11 Feb 2021)

The talk will cover briefly the concept of a Big Year, the details of the area covered by the Cape Town 150km Challenge, how some general good birding at the beginning of the year led Trevor to start taking part in the challenge, how he went about planning his “attack” and then an overview of the places that he visited and the birds that he saw during the year.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2021.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2021. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month. Anyone interested in helping can contact Gilbert Reinhardt at 079 130 7876 for details of starting time and meeting place.     Water Thicknee. photograph by John Fincham. December 2021.   No count took place on  27 November, it was postponed to the 04 December 2021.  In John's photos there are many Flamingo present. Also special he mentions were the Spoonbills. October 2021.   At the Paarl count on 30 … Continued

Outing to Kirstenbosch – Led by Margaret Maciver – 16 December 2020.

Kirstenbosch 16 December 2020 - Leader Margaret Maciver. Perfect weather, no traffic and no crowds greeted 22 of us for the traditional end of year picnic at Kirstenbosch organised as usual by Margaret Maciver. Margaret decreed that it would be a casual, chatty relaxed stroll with which we all concurred, and so it was. However, no bird remained unidentified in the presence of the impressive coterie of 'elder statesmen and women' hunting them down, casually of course! Feast your eyes on this list: John and Jane Magner, Otto and Sandy Schmitt, Graham Pringle, Peter and Nikki Nupen, Merle and Derek … Continued

Outing to Kenilworth Racecourse Nature Reserve – Led by Dave Whitelaw – 08 December 2020.

Kenilworth Racecourse Nature Reserve 08 December 2020 - Leader Dave Whitelaw. The outing to the Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area was attended by about 35-40 members. A total of 42 species ranging from Waxbills to Buzzards was seen. Water birds were generally poorly represented and this was probably due to water levels being low. I discussed this with Fayruz who suggested we might try and organise the outing earlier in the year. We also saw a number of spectacular flowers. If you would like to be added to the mailing list to get information of events at the site, please send … Continued

Outing Cape Flats Nature Reserve – Led by Daryl de Beer – 22 November 2020.

Outing to the Cape Flats Nature Reserve, UWC. 22 November 2020 – Led by Daryl de Beer.     The CBC outing on Sunday 22nd October, led by Daryl de Beer, was to the Cape Flats Nature Reserve. This private nature reserve is situated on the campus of the University of the Western Cape and is managed by the UWC Nature Reserve Unit. There was an excellent turnout - partly due, probably, to the fact that it was a new venue for the club. The group of over 40 people was split into two. In the briefing beforehand, Daryl de … Continued

Outing Soetwater Enviro Centre – Led by Gigi Laidler – 03 November 2020.

Outing to the Soetwater Enviro Centre, Kommetjie. 03 November 2020 – Led by Gigi Laidler.   While the rest of the world turned their eyes to the shenanigans of US Elections, 26 of us had a far better plan for 3rd November and spent a fruitful morning birding on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula, just south of the Slangkop Lighthouse at Kommetjie, at the Soetwater Enviro Centre – a new venue in terms of Cape Bird Club outings. The terrain we covered on our outing was flat and offered good opportunities for coastal vegetation bush birding, as well … Continued

Outing Darling Hills Road and Tienie Versveld – Led by Mel Tripp – 18 October 2020

Outing to the Darling Hills Road and Tienie Versveld. 18 October 2020 – Led by Mel Tripp. The venue for the October outing needed to be changed to the Darling area because Koeberg Nature Reserve was still closed to visitors. It turned out to be a very successful trip, however, with a good turn-out of 38 people. We had driven through an hour of persistent drizzle, so the cool, near perfect weather, with very little wind, was very welcome. The leader, Mel Tripp, explained that we would begin by birding along the seventeen kilometres of Darling Hills Road and mentioned … Continued

Outing Grootboskloof Trail – Led by Margaret Maciver 07 October 2020

Outing to the Grootboskloof Trail, Constantia. 07 October 2020 – Led by Margaret Maciver.     On a cool, overcast morning, 23 birders gathered at the Grootboschkloof Trail mandala in preparation for another outing in the Southern Suburbs after the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. After observing all appropriate Covid-19 protocols, Margaret Maciver led us along a wooded path to experience our first outing at this venue.  Our first stop was a Black Sparrowhawk nest with no obvious occupants, although we had seen a pair on our “recce” visit a few days before. We then moved on to an almost “garden” … Continued

Prof. Peter Ryan – Pitkern Ailen: the back of beyond

Tristan da Cunha is widely regarded as being home to the most isolated community on earth, but another UK Overseas Territory challenges this claim. Pitcairn Island, which famously provided sanctuary to the HMS Bounty mutineers, lies in the middle of the South Pacific, roughly midway between Tahiti and Easter Island. Peter Ryan recently indulged his passion for remote islands by visiting all four islands in the Pitcairn group, which lie in one of the world's largest marine reserves. His talk addresses the conservation challenges on Henderson Island, a natural World Heritage Site, describes the success of the rat eradication on … Continued

Outing to Silvermine Reserve – 13th March 2020

Outing to Silvermine Reserve. 13 March 2020 – by Sanjo Rose.   Visiting Silvermine Nature Reserve with Floreat. On Friday 13 March 2020 we had a splendid bird club outing to Silvermine Nature Reserve. 49 learners from Floreat Primary School attended along with four teachers. Roughly half of the learners were first time ‘bird clubbers’ but are members of the Enviro Club at Floreat. The four teachers all run the Enviro Club. Despite being relatively warm we enjoyed a lovely ramble towards the waterfall at Silvermine (gate 2). We discussed what the term ‘nature reserve’ means, pollination and various aspects … Continued

Outing to the Mount Royal Golf and Country Estate – Malmesbury – 05 March 2020.

Outing to the Mount Royal Golf and Country Estate, Malmesbury. 05 March 2020 – by Daryl & Lynette de Beer.     On Thursday, 05 March, the CBC visited Mount Royal Golf and Country Estate just outside Malmesbury in the Swartland. The Estate is positioned on a hillside and is surrounded by a renosterveld conservation area and wheat and canola fields. We were very well received on the Estate and were pleased to be joined on our walk-about by three of the residents. Twenty-five birders set off from the sales Office at 08:00. The area is very dry and the … Continued

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2020.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2020. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month. Anyone interested in helping can contact Gilbert Reinhardt at 079 130 7876 for details of starting time and meeting place.   Fluvous Duck. photograph by John Fincham. October 2020. On 26 September 2020 John reported  "We need to sincerely thank Gilbert Rheinhardt for taking over management of the monthly PBS CWAC, assisted by Tony Williams. Perhaps the pair of White-faced Whistling Duck with 14 ducklings on E3 pan presages happy … Continued

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2019.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2019. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month. Anyone interested in helping can contact Yvonne Weiss at 021 872 4972 for details of starting time and meeting place. by John Fincham and Jo Hobbs. Fluvous Duck. photograph by John Fincham. November 2019. John reports - Kittlitz's Plovers have not been seen for years and may have been nesting because Rita Meyer watched a broken-wing display. October 2019. John reports - I took these photos this morning. In addition … Continued

Outing to D’Aria Wine Estate, 17 March 2019

D'Aria Wine Estate 17 March 2019 Gerald Wingate. D’Aria Wine Estate is a tiny gem in the Durbanville wine valley. It is located at the edge of the urban sprawl and is largely overlooked while people commute hurriedly to and from work. The weather caught most of us by surprise as low clouds and a light mist/drizzle greeted 34 keen members. D’Aria has a substantial farm dam that is home to the usual assortment of waterbirds like Red-knobbed Coots, Common Moorhens and Egyptian Geese. A flotilla of Yellow-billed Ducks and Cape Shovelers was supplemented by a few Little Grebes. The … Continued

Outing to Silvermine Reserve. 13th March 2019

Outing to Silvermine Reserve. 13 March 2019 – by Marilyn Metcalf. Sixteen members of the Cape bird club and a visitor, Stuart from Kwa Zulu Natal, met at the dam's parking area on a cool but wind- free Wednesday. There were a number of new members, which is always encouraging, as well as the regulars. Merle was there early and had got her list going with Cape Sugarbird, Southern Bou Bou, Cape Grassbird, Cape White-eye, Olive Thrush and Cape Bulbul. As we walked towards the jeep track, a pair of Cape Batis were spotted, one possibly a juvenile. We walked slowly … Continued

Outing to Clovelly Wetland. 13th February 2019

Outing to Clovelly Wetland. 13 February 2019 – by Gillian Barnes. Wednesday 13th February was not as hot as the previous days and the wind was barely a gentle puff in the first hour. Twenty six keen birders, including several new members to the club joined me at the parking area opposite the electrical sub-station. Our first stop was on the bridge overlooking the first gabion pond. The reeds were cleared in about April 2018 and have not yet grown back too much. The water level is still good and we saw, amongst others, Yellow-billed Ducks, African Sacred Ibis, Blacksmith Lapwing, Southern Fiscal, … Continued

Outing to Zandvlei Nature Reserve, 13 January 2019

Zandvlei Nature Reserve 13 January 2019 Graham Pringle Following a week of changeable weather and high winds, Sunday morning was actually quite pleasant, not too hot and with a light breeze which later picked up towards the end of the outing. By prior arrangement with the Reserve Manager, Kyran Wright, the gate was opened at 07h30 and soon after the vehicles started rolling in! With the assistance of the Duty Ranger everyone was able to park safely. The turnout was a bit overwhelming with 45 Birders arriving, including a few visitors, some from the UK and USA and also some new … Continued

Tankwa Karoo Camp 08 – 12 August 2018

Tankwa Karoo 08 - 12 August 2018 Gillian Barnes The Tankwa Karoo National Park lies about 70 km due west of Sutherland near the border of the Northern Cape and Western Cape, in one of the most arid regions of South Africa, with areas receiving less than 100 mm of average annual precipitation. It is a biodiversity hotspot. The vegetation in the park falls within the Succulent Karoo biome and has been described as very sparse shrub land and dwarf shrub land. Several unique succulent genera occur there. The park is home to about 190 species of birds. The first week of August was … Continued

Outing to the Ganzekraal Nature Reserve. – 16 September 2018

Outing to the Ganzekraal Nature Reserve. 16 September 2018 – by Penny Dichmont. Leader: Felicity Ellmore. Last year’s outing to Ganzekraal was cancelled because of bad weather, but this year we had a beautiful, sunny spring day once the fog on the R27 had cleared. As we approached the gate to Ganzekraal Resort, we were treated to wonderful sightings of two male Southern Black Korhaans very close to the road – a good start to a fruitful day’s birding. While the CBC members were moving their cars and congregating, some got good views of a Black Harrier. There was an … Continued

Breede River, Port Beaufort Camp 25 -27 May 2018

Breede River, Port Beaufort 25 - 27 May 2018 Mel Tripp Was the fishing better than the birding? Members who attended the camp, with a bent for fishing may have wondered, given the tales of days gone by when “White Steenbras as big as men” were reportedly caught in this famous fishing estuary. The surrounding dry agricultural areas resembling semi-desert from the drought, combined with heavy lingering mists did not make for ideal birding conditions. But, on the Friday, travelling down, the drought broke… well we experienced a fair amount of rain. The shorter, more direct, gravel R324 road turned into … Continued

Conservation – Save the Birds of Princessvlei – 11 May 2018.

Save the Birds of Princessvlei - 11 May 2018. This is a working partnership with the CBC and the Princessvlei Forum.   11 May 2018 - CBC members Gillian Barnes and Priscilla Beeton helped with the Searching for the Birds at Princessvlei 2018. The visitors, were from Levana, Steenberg, Floreat, Harmony and John Graham Primary schools (yes, they are still there in 3018!), had come on a rescue mission. They reported that there were no birds in the year 3018, but they had discovered images and old movies showing birds. They wanted to know more about them, and to warn … Continued

Paarl Wild Flower Garden – 22 April 2018

Paarl Wild Flower Garden 22 April 2018 - by Priscilla Beeton Leader: Brian Vanderwalt After a string of overcast days Sunday dawned clear and chilly – especially for those leaving home before 6:30 to reach Paarl in time for the 8:00 starting time. On the N1 highway many had to drive through quite dense fog patches gathered in the dips in the road but, as soon as the day began warming up with the rising sun, we realised we were in for a spectacular autumn day, sunny and wind-free.  26 people gathered as planned at the Meulwater parking area at the gardens.  … Continued

SBA – Management – January to March 2018.

See the January to March 2018 Report.

Farewell to the Waders – 25 March 2018

Farewell to the Waders at West Coast National Park 25 March 2018 - by Karin Wilson The Farewell to the Waders outing at the West Coast National Park led by Mel Tripp and Vernon Head was attended by 34 keen members who queued at the gate from 6.30am. We were lucky to have Vernon there at all. The previous evening, he almost did himself a damage when he put Usain Bolt to shame, sprinting back to the hide to twitch the Lesser Yellowlegs which had stayed out of sight all day until he'd given up and left. (Thank goodness for cell phones.) … Continued

Grootvadersbosch – 22 – 25 September 2017

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve 22 - 25 September 2017 Priscilla Beeton Our third Family Camp, held at Grootvadersbosch on the long weekend of 22 – 25 September 2017, proved to be a most enjoyable experience – for the children, their parents and those Cape Bird Club members running the programme. There were 34 participants – 32 in 8 cottages and one couple at the campsite. The ages of the 14 children ranged from 7 to 16 years. The aim of these camps is to gather together younger families with children and to give them a taste of birding and Cape Bird Club activities. … Continued

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2018.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2018. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month. Anyone interested in helping can contact Yvonne Weiss at 021 872 4972 for details of starting time and meeting place. by John Fincham and Jo Hobbs. Goliath Heron. photograph by John Fincham. October 2018. PAARL BIRD SANCTUARY -  25 YEARS OLD  -  27 OCTOBER 2018 COUNT.   The monthly bird count on October 27th took place on the hottest day of the year so far – topping 37 degrees by … Continued

Berg River Boat Trip – 18 February 2018.

Berg River Boat Trip 18 February 2018 - by Jo Hobbs After a couple of scorching days with temperatures in the mid-30’s, it was a surprisingly cool and misty morning when our group of 24 members set out from Port Owen on the Berg River boat trip. Tollie, the boat owner, explained that the water level was extra low due to drought conditions upstream (and in fact only a week later the river was not flowing at all at Paarl!). As a result the boat had to keep to the deeper channels, so that identifying some of the waders on … Continued

Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 21 January 2018

Zandvlei Nature Reserve 21 January 2018 - by Graham Pringle After a few days of intense heat and Gale-force winds it was a great relief to arrive at Zandvlei on Sunday morning with no wind at all and slightly overcast conditions. By prior arrangement with the Reserve Management the gate was opened at 07h30 and long before the starting time of 08h00 the car park was overflowing! The turnout was really great with 32 Birders arriving, including six visitors from the Somerset West Bird Club and one member from the Tygerberg Bird Club. Quite a number of those present had not previously … Continued

Intaka Island – 16 November 2017.

Intaka Island - 16 November 2017 After braving what seemed exceptionally heavy traffic for 9:00 a.m. a good crowd of 17 people gathered on the veranda of the Intaka Island Education Centre. While people waited for the stragglers to arrive, as well as the ubiquitous Red-knobbed Coot, they saw an African Swamphen emerge briefly from the reeds. As the group set off in an anti-clockwise direction, from the outer deck they had a very close view of a pale-looking Grey Heron sitting hunched up with its beak glistening brightly in the sun. Then in flew a Purple Heron and it settled close-by. … Continued

Lower Berg River Estuary Outing – Sunday 19 November 2017

Lower Berg River Outing - 19 November 2017 Mel Tripp 22 eager birders arrived for this outing, old members and some new faces among them. Simon Fogarty came 'off the bench' to assist as leader as the published assistant leader Vernon, could not make it. Planning of the tides was perfect to start the morning at De Plaat with the low tide. Many estuary species including palearctic migrant waders were active feeding across the mud flats in the receding tide. Focusing on the ID features of the waders, which for many are an enigma of grey, brown jobs, and starting with … Continued

An Adventure to See a Shoebill – August 2017

A Shoebill Adventure Gillian Barnes For many years I have wanted to see a shoebill so when the club arranged the annual international tour to Uganda I signed up immediately. After a fairly long flight from Cape Town to Entebbe via Addis Ababa we arrived at 3.30 in the morning and booked into the hotel situated near a botanical garden and the northern shore of Lake Victoria. Day break meant the opportunity to go out and discover new birds and so a few of us walked the short distance to the garden and spent a few hours before we had … Continued

Outing to Sunbird Centre, Noordhoek – 18 October 2017

Sunbird Centre, Noordhoek Gillian Barnes The weather on the morning of the walk was cool, windless and bright sunshine, a bit of a relief after the previous day's rain and promise of more in the evening. Ten of us, including a visitor from the Natal Midlands, gathered at the Sunbird Centre where Greater Striped Swallows were flying into the entrance porch of the stone cottage, which dates back to 1904. Unfortunately there were no nests. Southern Boubou, Hadeda, Egyptian Geese, Cape Weaver and a Pied Crow were seen around the buildings. A Cape Batis and Bar-throated Apalis were heard calling nearby … Continued

Rhodene Farm Camp 1st – 3rd September 2017.

Rhodene Farm Camp This spring camp was a huge success. The drive to the farm was through beautiful spring countryside.  The fruit trees, softly pink-tinged with the emerging blossoms, the purple hills surrounding the farm and the sudden patches of daisies that we came across would all on their own have made the trip worthwhile, even if there were no birds.  But birds a-plenty there were, with our experienced guide, Brian Vanderwalt showing us  more than 90 species over the weekend.  On the Saturday we birded on the Rhodene Farm property, along route  R355, via Karooport into the Tanqua Karoo … Continued

Outing to De Grendel Wine Estate

De Grendel Wine Estate Peter Nupen On a chilly Sunday morning fourteen Cape Bird Club Members decided to brave the weather and attend the July Sunday CBC Outing to De Grendel Wine Estate at the base of the Plattekloof Hills. This turned out to be a very good call, because once the sun was up, we had very pleasant birding weather. The outing began with a walk to the dam in front of the Wine Estate where Cape Teal, Red-billed Teal, White-breasted Cormorant, Reed Cormorant, Yellow-billed Duck and a host of other water birds were seen. A lone Spoonbill was … Continued

Gavin Lawson – Gallery 8.

L to R - Great White Pelicans and Kelp Gulls.  

SBA – Management – April to June 2017.

See the April to June 2017 Report.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2017.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2017. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month. Anyone interested in helping can contact Yvonne Weiss at 021 872 4972 for details of starting time and meeting place. by John Fincham and Jo Hobbs. December 2017. On the 02/12/2017 some Flamngos were back at PBS, including a single Lesser Flamingo. Deeper water in the pans, due to construction work, has not been to their liking though. There were also quite a lot of White-winged Terns, mainly on pan … Continued

Greg Morgan – Gallery 9.

L to R - Jackal Buzzard, juvenile,  Jackal Buzzard, male,  Cape Robin Chat,  Cape Cormorant feeding its chick.  

Greg Morgan – Gallery 8.

L to R - The dance of the Pintailed Whydah male.........,  Take 2,  Take 3,  Take 4,  Take 5,  Take 6. See the link to YouTube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfKdC0y8cLg  

Greg Morgan – Gallery 7.

L to R - Lesser Swamp (Cape Reed) Warbler,  Glossy Ibis 1,  Glossy Ibis 2,  African Snipe 1,  African Snipe 2,  African Snipe 3.  

Greg Morgan – Gallery 6.

L to R - Kelp Gulls at Strandfontein with the Hottentot Hollands Mountains in the background,  Others like nesting on the sand,  A nest and its material and contents,  Ma and her nest,  A fluffy chick,  A wheel of gulls.....,  ......just dropping in.  

Greg Morgan – Gallery 5.

L to R - African Darter,  Orangebreasted Sunbird,  Whitethroated Swallow,  Blackwinged Stilt,  African Spoonbill,  Levaillants Cisticola.  

Greg Morgan – Gallery 4.

L to R - Bokmakierie,  Purple Heron,  Orangethroated  Longclaw,  Pied Kingfisher,  Greater Flamingos,  Whitebreasted Cormorant.  

Greg Morgan – Gallery 3.

L to R - Helmeted Guineafowl,  Greater Striped Swallow,  Blackcrowned Night Heron,  Spotted Thicknee,  African Fish Eagle.  

Greg Morgan – Gallery 2.

L to R - Coots thrashing about,  Cattle Egret,  African Darter,  Southern doublecollared Sunbird,  Pied Crow, See the Pied Crows on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LemtywLe1Cs  

Greg Morgan – Gallery 1.

L to R - Malachite Kingfisher,  Rock Kestrel,  Spurwing Goose,  Blackshouldered Kite,  White Pelican.  

Gavin Lawson – Gallery 7.

L to R - Cape Shoveller and offspring,  White faced Duck 01,  White faced Duck 02, Great White Pelicans.  

Gavin Lawson – Gallery 6.

L to R - Greater Flamingo with Red knobbed Coots,  Greater Flamingo 02,  Greater Flamingo 03,  Greater Flamingo 04,  Greater Flamingo 05.  

Gavin Lawson – Gallery 5.

L to R - Greater Flamingo 01, Greater Flamingo 02, Greater Flamingo 03, Lesser Flamingo in full breeding plumage 01, Lesser Flamingo in full breeding plumage 02.  

Gavin Lawson – Gallery 4.

L to R - Greater Flamingo with a Cape Shoveller keeping a look out,  Yellow billed Egret 01,  Yellow billed Egret 02,  Grey Heron with Common Platanna 01,  Grey Heron with Common Platanna 02.  

Gavin Lawson – Gallery 3.

L to R - Black shouldered Kite,  Black shouldered Kite with a Vlei Rat,  Cape Shoveller,  Spoonbill with Yellow billed Duck,  Spoonbill 02,  Spoombill 03,  Little Egret.  

Gavin Lawson – Gallery 2.

L to R - Grassbird 01,  Grassbird 02,  Karoo Prinia,  Cape Bunting,  Orangebreasted Sunbird,  Malachite Sunbird 01,  Malachite Sunbird 02.  

Gavin Lawson – Gallery 1.

L to R - Black shouldered Kite,  Vista of Muizenberg Mountain Dec 2008,  African Fish Eagle,  Hartlaubs Gulls,  Swift Terns.  

Morne Carstens – Gallery 3.

L to R - Pied Crow,  "Look everybody, hanging by my toes",  White Pelicans,  Redbilled Teal,  Cape Weaver.  

Morne Carstens – Gallery 2.

L to R - Bokmakierie,  Hadeda Ibis,  Cape Shoveller,  Hottentot Teal,  Cape Teal,  Grassveld Pipit.  

Morne Carstens – Gallery 1.

L to R - African Marsh Harrier,  Pochard,  White Pelican,  Juvenile Kitlitz Plover,   Greater Flamingos,  Sacred Ibis.

Ann Koeslag – Gallery 3.

L to R - Cape Reed Warbler,  Little Stint,  Whitefaced Duck and Redbilled Teal,  Water Mongoose,  Knoxs Desert Lizard.  

Ann Koeslag – Gallery 2.

L to R - Little Bittern 1,  Whitefaced Duck,  Avocet,  Whitebreasted Cormorant,  Little Bittern 2.  

Ann Koeslag – Gallery 1.

L to R - White Pelicans,  Spotted Thickknee family,  Greater Flamingos,  Little Bittern,  Goliath Heron.  

Matthew Orolowitz – Gallery 4.

L to R - Great White Pelican,  Kelp Gull trying smash and grab,  Kelp Gull with a periwinkle,  Juvenile White breasted Cormorant,  Malachite Kingfisher,  Little Bittern.  

Matthew Orolowitz – Gallery 3.

L to R - Black Sparrowhawk,  Cape Turtle Dove,  Yellow Wagtail,  Cape Wagtail,  Little Bittern.  

Matthew Orolowitz – Gallery 2.

L to R - Sacred Ibis with nesting material,  Cattle Egret with nesting material,  Black-crowned Night-Heron,  African Openbill.  

Matthew Orolowitz – Gallery 1.

L to R - Cape Robin-Chat,  Black-winged Stilt,  Crowned Plover,  Pied Kingfisher,  Helmeted Guineafowl.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 10.

L to R - A series of an Allen's Gallinule No.1,  Allen's Gallinule No.2,  Allen's Gallinule No.3.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 9.

L to R - Great Crested Grebe,  Cattle Egret,  Whitefaced Duck,  Water birds No.1,  Water birds No.2.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 8.

L to R - General view No.1,  General view No.2,  General view No.3,  General view No.4,  Greater Flamingos No.1,  Greater Flamingos No.2.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 7.

L to R - Ruff,  Sandwich Tern,  Red billed Teal,  Swift Tern,  Three banded Plover.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 6.

L to R - Spotted Eagle Owl,  Great White Pelican,  Greater Flamingo,  Purple Swamp Hen,  Southern doublecollared Sunbird,  Hadeda Ibis.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 5.

L to R - Kelp Gull,  Pied Avocet,  Blackwinged Stilt,  Blacksmith Lapwing,  Common Sandpiper.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 4.

L to R - Barn Swallow,  Juvenile Barn Swallow,  Brown throated Martin,  Cape Bulbul,  Le Vaillants Cisticola.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 3.

L to R - Cattle Egret,  Common Starling,  Blackshouldered Kite,  Great White Pelican,  Common Moorhen.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 2.

L to R - Little Stint,  Little Grebe,  Great Crested Grebe with feather,  White faced Duck,  Lesser Swamp Warbler.  

Otto Schmidt – Gallery 1.

L to R - African Openbill,  African Snipe,  Peregrine Falcon,  Brimstone Canary,  Cape Longclaw.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 11.

L to R - More of the nearly one thousand Lesser Flamingoes on P4 in April 2016,  Lesser Flamingoes,  A juvenile Jackal Buzzard, Terek Sandpiper,  White fronted Plover.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 10.

L to R - African Jacanna 01,  African Jacanna 02,  A Grey Tit, a first record for Strandfontein,  A juvenile Jackal Buzzard seen at a count,  There were nearly a thousand Lesser Flamingoes on P4 in April 2016.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 9.

L to R - Allen's Gallinule 01. It is half the size of an African Swamphen or Purple Gallinule,  Allen's Gallinule 02,  Common Sandpiper up on a tree branch,  Franklin's Gull 01 on 21 September 2014, in non breeding plumage,  Franklin's Gull 02 on 21 October 2014, almost full breeding plumage.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 8.

L to R - Purple Heron,  Grysbok,  Water Thick-knee,  Orange-breasted Sunbird,  Franklin's Gull 01,  Franklin's Gull 02,  White-faced Ducks.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 7.

L to R - Hartlaub's Gulls in breeding display,  Cape Shoveler,  Marsh Sandpiper,  Pectoral Sandpiper 01,  Pectoral Sandpiper 02,  Ruff,  Whitebacked Duck,  Wood Sandpiper.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 6.

L to R - Southern Pouchard female and male,  White throated Swallow,  Yellow billed Ducks,  Yellow billed Egret,  Yellow Wagtail,  Zitting Cisticola.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 5.

L to R - Little Egret,  Little Grebe,  Purple Swamphen,  Red Knobbed Coot,  Steppe Buzzard,  Great White Pelican in breeding plumage.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 4.

L to R - Grey Heron with a Common Platana,  Karoo Prinia,  Kitlitzs Plover with chick,  Kitlitzs Plover,  Lesser Swamp Warbler,  Immature Cattle Egret.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 3.

L to R - Great White Egret,  Greater Flamingos,  ......more Greater Flamingos,  A Greater Flamingo,  Grey headed Gull.  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 2.

L to R - Cape Longclaw with a grasshopper in its bill,  Cape Teal,  Common Moorhen,  Glossy Ibis,  Great crested Grebe, Great White Pelican in breeding plumage .  

Graham Pringle – Gallery 1.

L to R - African Black Oystercatchers,  African Marsh Harrier juvenile,  African Openbilled Stork,  African Pipit,  Black shouldered Kite.  

Paarl Bird Sanctuary 23 April 2017

Paarl Bird Sanctuary 23 April 2017 Jo Hobbs The outing to Paarl Bird Sanctuary on Sunday 23 April 2017 was the first for some years as the sanctuary had been considered “unsafe”. At the club meeting on 13 April, John Fincham outlined the efforts that have been made during the past year to encourage members of the adjoining township to value the sanctuary and waste water works as assets to their own community.   Since then almost 240 local schoolchildren have toured the sanctuary and encountered the birdlife of the area.  So it was time for CBC to pay a return visit and … Continued

SBA – Management – January to March 2017.

  See the January to March 2017 Report.  

Grootvadersbosch Camp, near Heidleberg – 18 – 21 March 2017 by Priscilla Beeton.

Grootvadersbosch Camp Priscilla Beeton The cottages , brand new  and, in fact,  only officially opened two days before our arrival, are very comfortable and spacious.  This is great new facility for those who prefer to stay in cottages.  The only downside was that Cape Nature has not yet provided a suitable gathering place for large groups like ours (41 campers) to meet together in the evenings.  John Magner and Peter Nupen were wonderful leaders, managing the large group with aplomb, by splitting us into smaller groups.  Birding in the forest itself was hard – but just the walking made it … Continued

Groenvlei Primary School visits Paarl Bird Sanctuary

Groenvlei Primary School Visit to Paarl Bird Sanctuary 150 pupils of the Groenheuwel Primary School visited the Paarl Bird Sanctuary in four groups on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February. The fact that these were probably the hottest days in February did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. There was great excitement at close up views of Greater Flamingos from the bird viewing platform through telescopes manned by volunteers and through binoculars on loan from Cape Bird Club. On arrival each group was given a brief talk on the function of the Drakenstein Waste Water Works. Bird ID sheets were then … Continued

Rondevlei Nature Reserve.

Rondevlei Nature Reserve Rondevlei, one of the Western Cape's remaining wetlands, still fulfills its wonderful role as a sponge, filtering and cleaning water through its layers, and providing a perfect environment for all forms of life. The December, January and February outings each had about 16 people and totals of nearly 60 species, including some special birds, were seen on each outing. Most of the waterbirds were there and, as the water level decreased, migrant waders were sighted as well :- Ringed Plovers, Greenshank, Marsh and Wood Sandpipers and a Three Banded Plover with three chicks. The SMS., (Swifts,Martins and … Continued

Paarl Bird Sanctuary – Environmental Education.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary - Environmental Education. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality , local school groups, the Cape Bird Club and the Tygerberg Bird Club. Anyone interested in helping can contact John Fincham and Jo Hobbs. November 2017. The Schools Environmental Education Evaluation Report By John Fincham, assisted by Jo Hobbs and Skhumbuzo Mbewu. 12 September 2017. Dalweide Primary School visit. Report and photos by John Fincham.   On 12 September 2017, sixty (60) more scholars in Grades 6 and 7 at Dalweide Primary School visited PBS and the Drakenstein Waste Water Treatment Works (DWWTW). The objective of this project is … Continued

Zandvlei Nature Reserve 15th January 2017

Zandvlei Nature Reserve 15th January 2017 We met in the Public car park just before 08h00, having been let in by the Ranger on duty. We were 14 in number, which is considerably less than the attendance for the past two years but I’m sure that a good number of birders were taking the opportunity to visit Strandfontein to look for the five “Rarities” which have been on show for a while and also to Rondevlei where a second Spotted Crake has made an appearance. After weeks of intense heat and gale force winds we were really fortunate to have … Continued

SBA – Management – October to December 2016.

  See the October to December 2016 Report..      

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2016.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2016. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month. Yvonne Weiss has now retired from managing these counts, she has been in charge for the past 26 years and never missing a count! Anyone interested in helping can now contact Gilbert Reinhardt at 079 130 7876 for details of starting time and meeting place. by John Fincham and Jo Hobbs. December 2016. This morning 15 people participated in the monthly CWAC at PBS, which has been running for almost … Continued

Dragonflies & Damselflies of the Western Cape – the Course

Saturday 12 November 2016 To be honest, I could not tell the difference between a Dragonfly and a Damselfly, before this course… and this is from someone that can separate Lesser Swamp and Little Rush Warblers quite well! Felicity Grundlingh started with this vital point. From then on we were ‘flying’. Did you know Dragonflies have compound eyes with 30 000 lenses and 360 degree vision? The life-cycle and reproduction is quite fascinating with some nymphs staying under water for several years before emerging into adults and only living several months… Many people think they only live for a day. … Continued

Conservation Committee visit to Consol Head Office site 28 November 2016.

Consol Head Office visit 28 November 2016. The next Conservation Committee visit to the Consol Glass Head Office site was arranged for 28 November 2016. We were again represented by Gavin Lawson, Simon Fogarty together with Clifford and Suretha Dorse. Also invited along was Dalton Gibbs and Pat Holmes from the City of Cape Town Biodiversity Dept. Again we met the Manager William Lily on site and he accompanied us around the site as on the previous occasion filling in information and answering questions asked of him. Something very encouraging to see was all the area with invasive plant species … Continued

Botterkloof Camp, Stilbaai – 29th October to 1st November 2016

BOTTERKLOOF CAMP 29th October - 1st November 2016  Kay Foskett and Fazlyn Fester Saturday Thirty-three (33) bird watchers congregated at Botterkloof Resort in Stilbaai for a memorable 3 day camp. The self-catering accommodation was situated in comfy leafy grounds which had several ponds and lots of trees in which to do some warm up birding before camp proper began. A Greater Honeyguide flew in and out of the trees. The Knysna Woodpecker was known to habituate in the camp and several of us were lucky enough to spot a pair of them on the first evening, along with an Olive Woodpecker which gave a … Continued

Conservation Committee visit to Consol Head Office site 28 October 2016.

Consol Head Office visit 28 October 2016. The Conservation Committee had been requested to visit the Consol Glass mining "Head Office" site at Manenberg by the Manager to give advice on the potential of rehabilitating a section of the sand mining waterbody and its shoreline. On 28 October 2016 we were represented by Gavin Lawson and Simon Fogarty. Andrew de Blocq also accompanied us. We met the Manager, William Lily on site and he accompanied us around the southern and south western sections of an area he described as being set aside for conservation purposes. It has been mined out … Continued

Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve – 23 – 25 September 2016

Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve 23 - 25 September 2016 Priscilla Beeton This year we ‘camped’ at Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve. We stayed in 3 of the very pleasant cottages 8-bedded cottages and that could hardly be called camping! Two of the cottages even had Jacuzzis – although the downside of that was the noisy pump! The children, though, did not see that as a problem. 23 people attended the camp, of whom 12 were children. The rest were moms and dads, and even a granny, plus some other adults involved somehow in camp activities. Everyone arrived by 18:30 and the camp started off with … Continued

SBA – Management – July to September 2016.

  See the Report for July to September 2016.      

The Karoo Botanical Garden, Worcester

The Karoo Botanical Garden, Worcester 21 August 2016 - by Priscilla Beeton Setting out It was probably the bad weather forecast that put off many members from making the trip to Worcester to visit the Karoo National Botanical Garden. However nine people including Simon, our leader, escaped a miserable day in Cape Town to enjoy a beautiful morning’s birding in the Karoo National Botanical Gardens. The wonderful scenery to been seen at these Botanical Gardens situated in the Worcester Robertson valley. We had sunshine, wonderful scenery and lots of colour in the gardens. Many aloes were still flowering and the … Continued

Birds, Beaches and Beachbums – Report on course Saturday 20 August 2016

This course presented by Professor George Branch demonstrated just how "our shores are enriched by the ecosystem effects of birds and how important birds are in coastal ecosystems". After a overview participants went to shore at Greenpoint, the tide was perfect, low tide at 10.30h and allowed everyone to explore life on the rocks, collect material to analyse in more detail later. See the photos below of what was collected in dishes to examine and learn more about them. Photographs by Priscilla Beeton and Cathy Jenkins. George, a brilliant presenter, then went on to elaborate more on how rocky-shore life deals … Continued

Athlone Bird Count August 2016

Athlone Bird Count August 2016 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. August 2016 - by Dick Bos. Black Sparrowhawk. photograph by Dick Bos. The count on this nice Cape spring day started with sunny and hot conditions. Later on though, cold mist rolled in from the south. Birds were not in their usual high numbers today. Only Red-knobbed Coot (118) and Hartlaub's Gull (172) 'scored' triple digits, while even the 172 gulls are a relatively low number compared with other observations. Other species with unusually low numbers were Yellow-billed Duck, Cattle Egret, … Continued

Athlone Bird Count July 2016

Athlone Bird Count July 2016 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. July 2016 - by Dick Bos. Three Black Sparrowhawk chicks in the nest. photograph by Gerhard Bothma. Fortunately the rain that was predicted held off during the count today, a count that turned out to be fairly 'standard', except for two highlights. As usual there were high numbers of Greater Flamingo (182) and Red-knobbed Coot (206). The count for Hartaub's Gull was 406; a keen observer noted a Grey-headed Gull amongst them. Without the grey hood in non-breeding plumage the bright … Continued

Athlone Bird Count June 2016

Athlone Bird Count June 2016 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. June 2016 - by Dick Bos. A family of Cape Teal. photograph by Dick Bos. Unfortunately this count had to be rescheduled due to weather, away from the standard third Thursday of each month to this Tuesday, so not all ‘regular’ participants could join and there were just two of us for today. Conditions were fairly good so we set off in good spirits. What follows is a brief overview of some highlights. The number of Red-knobbed Coots seems to go … Continued

SBA – Management – April to June 2016.

The reporting format has changed now that the FBPAAC (False Bay Protected Areas Advisory Committee) have been established.  Dave Whitelaw is the CBC nominated member with Gavin Lawson the alternative member on the Committee. The Committee members receive a quarterly report from the Nature Reserve management before the quarterly FBPAAC meetings. See the Report for April to June 2016.  

Tygerberg Nature Reserve

TYGERBERG NATURE RESERVE May 2016 - Priscilla Beeton Setting Out Gerald Wingate was our leader on this outing which was attended by 16 people. We gathered just inside the gate where Gerald told us a little bit about the Reserve – that on the western slopes there is almost pristine Swartland Shale Renosterveld (in fact one of the largest remaining areas of this vegetation type) and that on the eastern slopes there had been ploughed farmlands but these are now almost fully restored to natural vegetation. While talking we already had our first sighting of a large raptor – distant but … Continued

Athlone Bird Count May 2016

Athlone Bird Count May 2016 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. May 2016 - by Dick Bos. Water Thick-knee. photograph by Dick Bos. If this were a competition for the highest number of birds for any species on a count, the winner today would be unusual in that we counted 174 Red-knobbed Coots. Usually there are (much) higher numbers for Hartlaub's Gull, Greater Flamingos, Yellow-billed Ducks and even Pied Avocet. But not today. Other species that were counted in triple digits were Yellow-billed Duck (100), Hartlaub's Gull (135) and Red-billed Teal (121). … Continued

Driftsands Nature Reserve – 17 April 2016

Driftsands Nature Reserve - 17 April 2016 Before deciding to go on the outing, I consulted Google Earth. It looked like a dodgy place to visit and I had trouble finding a traveling companion until Beryl Riley opted in. We were both amazed and enjoyed it immensely. The road there was safe and direct it is only about a kilometer on the R300 and then onto an almost dedicated supply road to the Medical Research Centre facility that shares the secured environs with the Driftsands Nature Reserve Environmental Centre. To access the area one has to show ones drivers license which … Continued

Birdathon 2016

2016 Birdathon 16 April 2016 Family Fun Walk at the False Bay Nature Reserve BirdLife South Africa, City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club hosted the 4th annual Birdathon: Fun Walk and Festival on the 16th April 2016 at the False Bay Nature Reserve on the eastern shore of Zeekoevlei. Thank you very much to Otto Schmidt for these photos as the record of the 2016 Birdathon.

Athlone Bird Count April 2016

Athlone Bird Count April 2016 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. April 2016 - by Dick Bos. Water Thick-knee. photograph by Dick Bos. If this were a competition for the highest number of birds for any species on a count, the winner today would be unusual in that we counted 174 Red-knobbed Coots. Usually there are (much) higher numbers for Hartlaub's Gull, Greater Flamingos, Yellow-billed Ducks and even Pied Avocet. But not today. Other species that were counted in triple digits were Yellow-billed Duck (100), Hartlaub's Gull (135) and Red-billed Teal (121). … Continued

Athlone Bird Count February 2016

Athlone Bird Count February 2016 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. February 2016 - by Dick Bos African Fish Eagle. photograph by Dick Bos. Todays weather was ideal for a bird count, if anything it was a bit warm, but that was compensated for by a pleasant wind. And today was going to be another exciting count for the seven of us, where three new species were to be recorded! There were lots of birds again in both the southern and northern ponds and high numbers for the usual species like 468 … Continued

Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 17 January 2016

Zandvlei Nature Reserve 17 January 2016 - by Graham Pringle This is a new venue for the CBC outings. We met in the City Council car park just before 08h00 where our vehicles would be safely locked up whilst we were on the walk. As was the case last year, there was an excellent turnout of 37 birders which included many longstanding members as well as a number of new club members and at least one guest. After the past weeks of gale force winds the "weather gods" smiled on us and there was hardly any wind until later in the morning. … Continued

Athlone Bird Count January 2016

Athlone Bird Count January 2016 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. January 2016 - by Dick Bos Ian Cranna, Jessie Blackshaw, Gill Ford, Fay Linder, Moegamat Fakier-Abdol, Dick Bos, Enver Manuel. photograph by Clifford Dorse. The afternoon was very Cape summer-like, hot and with a strong wind. The southern ponds mainly gave the regular results, the large flight of Pied Avocet was there again (110), as were the Greater Flamingo (114). The most Blacksmith Lapwing had moved from the northern ponds into the southern (83). Today most of Hartaub's Gulls were in … Continued

Athlone Bird Count December 2015

 Athlone Bird Count December 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. December 2015 - by Doug Harebottle Common Sandpiper photograph by Gerhard Bothma. Thanks Gerhard for getting the Common Sandpiper pics! A new species for the site. Amazing how there is always something new at each count! And thank you to all of you who came to help today. We got a total 57 species. Seq             Species 57        Fiscal, Common (Southern) 56        Pipit, African 55        Starling, Red-winged 54        Sparrow, House 53        Sparrowhawk, Black … Continued

Athlone Bird Count November 2015

Athlone Bird Count November 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. November 2015 - by Dick Bos. Male Yellow Bishop luring a female to inspect his nests. photograph by Dick Bos. The weather today was very good indeed and because the group was fairly small we did not split up as we routinely do. And, as usual, this count was going to present a few surprises.  We were pleased to see the water levels up to 'normal' again, evidence of this was that crossing the causeway made the (bottom parts of) our … Continued

Zandvlei Nature Reserve 15th November 2015

Zandvlei Nature Reserve 15th November 2015 The view from the hide at the confluence of the Sand River..   The morning was cool with a S wind and partly cloudy skies. A typical spring day. 23 people arrived for the outing. Gavin Lawson was the leader for the outing. At the picnic table alongside the Sand River canal we saw a pair of Little Bittens fly out of the reeds very close to where we were standing. We had hoped to seen a Malachite Kingfisher here but no luck today. A Yellow Bishop was seen preening and displaying for everyone … Continued

SBA – Management – October 2015.

An eight legged Blacksmith Lapwing. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Hyacinth monitoring and clearing in pans M1, M2 S4, S7 Follow u p invasive removals in Management blocks SBA01, SBA05, SBA08, SBA10 Collecting seed for the Kirstenbosch Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. Migrant waders arriving Fire fighting in Block 07 of Pelican Park 3 illegal structures removed from around the FBEP Pelican Park Reserve fence line being reinstalled. See what we did this month.  

Athlone Bird Count October 2015

Athlone Bird Count October 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. October 2015 - by Dick Bos. The mystery bird proved to be a Magpie Duck. photograph by Dick Bos. The weather was ideal for this count.We set off in good spirits as usual and the ladies started counting the southern ponds while the gents did the northern. It makes perfect sense to split up since there are quite a few ponds to cover at Athlone. Birds tend to fly around quite a bit so when the group joins up again it … Continued

SBA – Management – September 2015.

Rescuing 2 Greater Flamingo juveniles. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Staff training and study assignment monitoring. Monitoring and follow ups for hyacinth in pans M1, M2, S4, S7. Clearing typha and reeds in various pans. Repairing the Pelican Park fence line. Kedestes butterfly monitoring. Clearing alien invasive plant species in Pelican Park Reserve. African Jacanna sighting. Spring Walk at Pelican Park Reserve for nearby residents. Allens Gallenule sighting. BirdLife SA IBA launch. See what we did this month.

The Pearl Valley Golf Estate – 20 September 2015

Pearl Valley Golf Estate 20 September 2015 This is a new venue for the CBC outings. Several long skeins of Cattle Egrets and Sacred Ibis sped across the early morning sky in elegant V-formation as we gathered in the car park outside the imposing club house of Pearl Valley Golf Course on 20 September 2015. This was certainly a bird club outing with a difference. Birding on wheels! Mike Westman, the Golf Course Superintendent, greeted us and introduced his two colleagues who were to be our guides for the morning. We separated into three groups and headed for the long line … Continued

Uilenvlei Weekend Camp 2015

UILENVLEI WEEKEND CAMP 24 - 27 September 2015 - John Magner Setting Out This venue was a bit of a surprise as the original venue was to have been Swellendam Municipal camp site, but they had failed to record our booking and a last minute scramble by our Chair lady Priscilla Beeton produced this venue, and a gem it turned out to be! Swellendam Municipality did us a favour after all! Thursday the 24th was a public holiday (National Braai Day), and people arrived at a trickle all day, enjoying the drive through Blue Crane country from Cape Town. The … Continued

Athlone Bird Counts September 2015

Athlone Bird Count September 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. September 2015 - by Dick Bos. A Pied Avocet flying over a pan. photograph by Dick Bos. Even though the sky was clear, the stiff South-Easter was likely to be a player for this count. The four of us set off in a good mood as usual and were met by a large flock of Pied Avocet (105). Soon after that, we recorded two flights of Black-winged Stilts, 133 birds in total. Maybe birds do not mind the wind so much? … Continued

False Bay Nature Reserve – Zeekoevlei eastern shore opening.

False Bay Nature Reserve - Zeekoevlei eastern shore opening. This is a working partnership with the City of Cape Town and Cape Bird Club.  by Gavin Lawson. On the 08 September 2015 the National Minister of Tourism - Derek Hanekom, the Provincial Minister of Tourism - Alan Winde and the Deputy Mayor of Cape Town - Alderman Ian Nielson formally opened the eastern shore upgrade to a formal picnic area with amenities. This was a Public Works Programme which provided local unemployed for people and skilled them while they completed the work. The Project Manager Gillian Davids described it as … Continued

Koeberg Nature Reserve – 16 August 2015 by Peter Nupen.

Koeberg Nature Reserve 16 August 2015 The Koeberg Outing began on a cold and blustery winter’s morning when all sensible birds had hunkered down deep in bushes, well protected from the weather. The not so sensible twenty two birders decided to persevere with their bird watching activities, and as the day progressed, were well rewarded with some excellent sightings. To start the day off, a Grassbird serenaded us all from the top of a bush, not five meters from the roadway. The light was good and the distinctive russet head, moustacheal stripes and the well-marked streaking on the breast were all clearly … Continued

SBA – Management – August 2015.

The Pelican Heights and Southern Birding Area staff on a team building course. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Completed documenting all the weirs for the pans. Bird ID for eastern shore of Zeekoevlei baseline data done. Fence lines repaired and monitored regularly. African Jacana sighting in P6. Kedestes butterfly larval monitoring done in Pelican Park. Allen's Gallinule sighting. Staff attending a variety of training courses. See what we did this month.  

The Two Rivers Urban Park – 18 August 2015

Two Rivers Urban Park - 18 August 2015 Fifteen members gathered at the parking area below the Wild Fig Restaurant in Observatory, well-wrapped against the cold, overcast weather. Shortly after 9am we headed out along the embankment between the Liesbeek River and the temporary wetland, full after the recent rains. Initially there seemed to be little about, but once the first bird was spotted in the wetland, new birds were added rapidly and the total climbed to 17 species in a matter of minutes. These included Cattle, Little and Yellow-billed Egret, Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen and Little Grebe, Yellow-billed Duck, Cape Shoveler … Continued

Athlone Bird Counts August 2015

Athlone Bird Count August 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. August 2015 - by Dick Bos. Look there is the Black Sparrowhawk. photograph by Dick Bos. The weather was perfect and it was going to be a great count. The very first bird we recorded was a new species for our counts, an African Dusky Flycatcher. We struggled a bit identifying it, but in view of its size and 'Duskies' being residents, also eliminating other options like Spotted and Pale, it was decided it was a juvenile Dusky. That was a … Continued

SBA – Management – July 2015.

Water hyacinth being removed from pan S1. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Compiled a report for all the weirs in the ponds for CFWWTW. 60 bags of litter removed from Strandfontein Road. P1 cleared of reeds. Work started on S1 clearing hyacinth with long arm excavator. Plant ID in Management Block 10 by Robin and Pat Burnett. Kedestes butterfly larvae monitoring by MsC student Ismat Adams with assistance by staff. Bird count on the eastern shore of Zeekoevlei. Monitoring, maintenance and patrolling the fence lines of the Reserves. See what we did this month.  

Macassar Waste Water Treatment Works – 22 July 2015.

Macassar Waste Water Treatment Works 22 July 2015 Due to stormy, cold weather, only five people braved the elements for this month’s mid-week outing. Expectations were not particularly high as we left the meeting point and headed down the road to the works. Suddenly, Des Lazar said "What’s that bird up there?" A long way off, hovering in the wind, against a stormy grey sky, was some sort of raptor, just a dark silhouette. We got a glimpse of its pale body and then a Pied Crow flew close, making us realise just how big it was. "Could be a … Continued

Athlone Bird Counts July 2015

Athlone Bird Count July 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. July 2015 - by Doug Harebottle. View across the pans towards Table Mountain. photograph by Doug Harebottle. Here are the results from the CWAC count at Athlone WWTW yesterday. Thanks to to Gill Ford, Delene van Dyke and Derek Longrigg for coming out and braving the weather! When we arrived it seemed that there were hardly any birds around but as we started they all started creeping out of the vegetation, no doubt hiding from the pre-frontal wind! Some good counts … Continued

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2015.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2015. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month. Anyone interested in helping can contact Yvonne Weiss at 021 872 4972 for details of starting time and meeting place.  by John Fincham and Jo Hobbs. June 2015. The June count (CWAC) took place this morning. At the same time the CBC ringing unit was in action led by Felicity Ellmore. April 2015. John Fincham reports "There were a group of 17 White-faced Duck seen today 18/04/2015 and these … Continued

Swartland Outing – 21 June 2015 led by Brian Vanderwalt.

Swartland Outing 21 June 2015 The weather was sparkling and perfect for a day out watching birds – cool but sunny. The group, varying between 14 and 17 met our leader at the Tygervalley Shopping Centre and then consolidated cars so that we had just 4 cars travelling in convoy. We started off by visiting D’Aria Wine Estate in Durbanville. At the small dam we saw lots of the usual water birds such as Cape Weavers, Red Bishops, Yellow-billed Duck, Red Knobbed Coot, Grey Heron and more. We had wonderful sightings of both male and female Stonechats and although we only … Continued

Kenilworth Racecourse

Kenilworth Racecourse 18 June 2015 - by Simon Fogarty Fifteen birders arrived on a cool but wind free, sunny morning for the outing. We were joined by Ismail Wanbi, the People & Conservation Officer for Kenilworth Racecourse and three of his students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Ismail explained they were doing their monthly bird count and we willingly agreed to assist, adding another dimension to our morning’s birding. Ismail led the way in front of the grandstand, across the racecourse and under the inner rails to a wide path that wound around the fynbos in the middle of the … Continued

SBA – Management – May 2015.

Morning Glory infestation. The False Bay Head quarters are in the distance, looking west towards Steenberg and the the rest of the peninsula mountain range. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Building new fence lines with maintenance and patrolling. Installing bollards in Beak Road along Strandfontein Road. Spraying the Morning Glory creepers infestation in management block 1. Plant ID training by Robin and Pat Burnett. Assisting CFWWTW with weirs at Pan S3. Various staff training programs in operation. Planting the banks of J dam to prevent soil erosion. See what we did this month.  

Tygerberg Nature Reserve – 17 May 2015.

Tygerberg Nature Reserve - 17 May 2015 Gerald Wingate led the outing today at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve. There were 21 participants who enjoyed a beautiful autumnal morning as we wandered around the Reserve. He started off by telling us a little about the Reserve and alerting us to some of the species we were likely to see. He explained that the Reserve has on the western slopes almost pristine Swartland Shale Renosterveld and on the eastern slopes old ploughed fields that are being restored. First we went steeply downhill towards the dam until the path became too slippery. We turned around … Continued

Athlone Bird Counts May 2015

Athlone Bird Count May 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. May 2015 - by Dick Bos. Our group today. photograph by Dick Bos. The day was cloudy and cool but dry and there was no wind, in short, good conditions for bird counting. A group of eight gathered for this one and it was going to be another interesting survey with two more new species. Often observers have wondered why there were no terns seen at this site; well, today there was a first for a Swift Tern to be put … Continued

Bird Ringing at Edith Stephens Nature Reserve.

Bird ringing at Edith Stephens Nature Reserve on 02 May 2015 photographs also by Gavin Lawson.   On a dark, very cloudy early morning we arrived at the gates of the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve to set up the nets for the bird ringing activity. LEAP High School pupils were expected later, along with some University of Cape Town students belonging to ZooBots. Sam Hamer has organised for these groups to meet us, as part of a project he has initiated engaging urban communities of youth in birding and citizen science. Dr Doug Harebottle was here to demonstrate and hopefully … Continued

SBA – Management – April 2015.

Unloading the boat of Water Hyacinth removed manually from pan S4. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Strandfontein and Pelican Park hosting 5 Research Projects. Staff spend many hours on skills and development training. A Citrine Wagtail at Strandfontein caused excitement in the birding community, many traveling from all parts of RSA to come and see it. Water Hyacinth clearing in pan S4. See the new location map. Assisting with controlled burns at other Reserves. Plant ID in Pelican Park with Robin and Pat Burnett. Bollards erected in Duiker Road Pelican Heights. See what we have been doing.  

Conservation – Save the Birds of Princessvlei – 24 April 2015 – part 2.

Save the Birds of Princessvlei - 24 April 2015  (part 2). This is a working partnership with the CBC and the Princessvlei Forum.   The findings of the Mission. In the Presentation Hall at the Jolly Carp, Anne Whitelock was relating how her team did, to the other Bird Guardians. The Future Guardians all received some juice and hot cross buns for sustenance and were asked to sit in their groups. Some last minute filling in the questions with the help of Teacher Ingrid. Brendon then asked for the first team leader to come up and give his teams findings. … Continued

Conservation – Save the Birds of Princessvlei – 24 April 2015 – part 1.

Save the Birds of Princessvlei - 24 April 2015  (part 1). This is a working partnership with the CBC and the Princessvlei Forum.   24 April 2015 - CBC members Celia Wolfe, Anne Whitelock, Gillian Barnes and Anne MacLeod were the Bird Guardians assisting the groups of local school children - the Guardians of the Future -  return to 2015 around the southern and eastern shoreline of Princessvlei on their top secret mission in 3015  - Save the Birds. The year is 3015. The world is full of sounds - bleeps, sirens, robotic voices, machinery. But not a twitter, or … Continued

Driftsands Nature Reserve, Cape Flats 19 April 2015

Outing to Driftsands Nature Reserve, Cape Flats 19 April 2015  Gavin Lawson This is a working partnership with Cape Nature and Cape Bird Club. On a beautiful late summers day the conditions were warm, sunny and with no wind for the duration of our visit. 12 Cape Bird Club members arrived at the Reserve. This is a new birding venue for the CBC and the outing was led by Felicity Ellmore. Driftsands is a Provincial Nature Reserve, so it is managed by Cape Nature. It is bordered by the R300 freeway on the western boundary, N2 freeway on the southern … Continued

Athlone Bird Count April 2015

Athlone Bird Count April 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. April 2015 - by Dick Bos. Peregrine Falcon over the Works today. photograph by Doug Harebottle. Incredible how this site keeps delivering! It was windy and cool, but it turned out to be a good count with 43 species altogether and several new sightings for this Athlone. A Jackal Buzzard, a pair of Perigrine Falcons and a Lannar Falcon were new and together with the Black Sparrohawk made for four raptors today, not bad for an urban site! Also new were … Continued

SBA – Management – March 2015.

J - dam with wave action erosion of the bank in January 2014. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Chainsaw training paid for by the Julie te Groen bequest. Plant species ID with Robin and Pat Burnett. Preparing for the Birdathon in April. Possible botulism in P2. Maintenance on raft in P6 for herons. Conservation training for staff. Erosion project in J - dam. Repaired fishing platforms. There are "new little footprints" next door at Rondevlei. The last photo shows the team operating at the Birdathon 2015 clearing up the tables at the stands along the route. Back - Clint … Continued

Second record of Salvin’s Albatross on Gough Island

Second record of Salvin's Albatross on Gough Island January 2015 - by Christopher Jones and Michelle Risi Salvin's Albatross Thalassarche salvini Salvin's Albatross Thalassarche salvini have been recorded as vagrants on a number of islands in the Southern Ocean but are seldom seen in the South Atlantic. The first sighting of this species on Gough Island was on 21 October 2008. This species was sighted for a second time ashore on Gough Island on 17 and 19 January 2015, the bird was measured (bill, wing and tarsus), banded (SAFRING No. 9A-69251) and photographed. Photographs taken by Christopher Jones and Michelle … Continued

Athlone Bird Count March 2015

Athlone Bird Count March 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. March 2015 - by Dick Bos. Speckled Doves recorded here for the first time today. photograph by Dick Bos. The day was cloudy and cool but dry and there was no wind, in short, good conditions for bird counting. A group of eight gathered for this one and it was going to be another interesting survey with two more new species. Often observers have wondered why there were no terns seen at this site; well, today there was a first for … Continued

SBA – Management – February 2015.

The new perches being well used. photograph by Erica Essig. Celebrated World Wetlands Day with the RAMSAR certification this month. Typha removed from P1, P2, P5, P7, P8, S7,S8. Removed 75 tons of rubble from Pelican Park this month. New perches installed at P4 and typha cleared for better viewing opportunities. New viewing platform at P4. Cleared typha for better viewing. Assisted 2 other Reserves with fires. Preparing for the Birdathon. Clearing hyacinth from the Zeekoevlei canals in the WWTW.   See what else we did this month.  

Athlone Bird Counts February 2015

Athlone Bird Count February 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. February 2015 - by Dick Bos. Our group today. photograph by Dick Bos. Conditions at the beginning of this count were very good, clear skies and just a light wind. Unfortunately the wind picked up during the count and became quite strong towards the end. But that could not deter the group of 11 that showed up today and certainly did not appear to affect the birds judging by their numbers: well over 2400 birds and 47 (!!) species. These 47 … Continued

RAMSAR certificate for the False Bay Nature Reserve.

RAMSAR certificate for the False Bay Nature Reserve. This is a working partnership with the City of Cape Town and Cape Bird Club.  by Gavin Lawson. On World Wetlands Day, 02 February 2015 there was celebration with the handing over of the certification of the False Bay Nature Reserve, it becoming the 22nd RAMSAR site in South Arfica. Also see the Constantia Bulletin article by Karen Watkins. Page 1. and Page 2. The morning started off with Peter Willis introducing the celebration in the large tent of the Zeekoevlei Eastern Shore. After the speeches the certificate was handed over to … Continued

Die Hel, Constantia – 25th January 2015

It was a good turnout of birders for the Cape Bird Club outing to De Hel, part of the Alphen Greenbelt, on Constantia Main Road, close to Constantia Nek. There were over 20 people. Unfortunately we didn’t see many birds. There were raptors flying above the trees that we kept glimpsing as they crossed the open spaces that were visible to us, we decided we’d seen Forest Buzzard and Jackal Buzzard. We saw African Dusky Flycatcher, both Swee and Common Waxbill, Sombre Greenbul, Cape Batis, and both Malachite and Southern Double-Collared Sunbird. Our total was 16 bird species seen and … Continued

SBA – Management – January 2015.

The success of bank stabilization and new plant growth after rehabilitation of the pond banks. photograph by Erica Essig.   New students and extended contracts granted for staff by the Julie te Groen Bequest. Fire fighting at large in Slangetjiebos. Maintaining wood work on the jetties. Repaired sluice gates of P1. Law enforcement at Pelican Park. Preparing for the World Wetlands Day - RAMSAR function. Attending to the hyacinth growth in S2 and M7 ponds. Attended training course for Environment Monitoring Inspectorate. See what we have been doing this month.      

Athlone Bird Counts January 2015

Athlone Bird Count January 2015 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. January 2015 - by Dick Bos. A Great White Pelican inspecting the site today. photograph by Dick Bos. Thanks to a gentle breeze the heat of today was quite bearable. The skies were almost clear and conditions ideal for the count. The variation in numbers of species and numbers of birds of any species makes Athlone a very interesting site to count. We did not get close to last months 2500+ birds, but a grand total of almost 1800 is still … Continued

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2014.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary Counts in 2014. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. Monthly bird counts take place, on the last Saturday morning in the month. Anyone interested in helping can contact Yvonne Weiss at 021 872 4972 for details of starting time and meeting place. by John Fincham and Jo Hobbs. December 2014. The monthly count took place today 20 December and we counted >400 Greater Flamingoes on C pan next to the railway, and there were more on A pan overlooked from the viewing platform. October 2014. This morning 15 people participated in … Continued

Athlone Bird Counts December 2014

Athlone Bird Count December 2014 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. December 2014 - by Dick Bos. Birds everywhere you look. photograph by Dick Bos. The weather was very good for today's count, just some clouds and a moderate wind. It was the many birds that made it a bit of a challenge today, very high numbers for some species (Hartlaub's Gull: 1455!) and because they were flying in fairly large flocks from one basin to another and back it was hard to keep track and recounts were required. It took the … Continued

Sunbird Centre, Silvermine – 19 November 2014.

Sunbird Centre, Silvermine 15th November 2014 There were 16 birders at the Sunbird Centre in Silvermine for the CBC outing on 19th November 2014. The wind was blowing quite hard so we weren't very hopeful of actually seeing many birds. The Greater Striped Swallows provided us with our first sighting: they were flying very low over the reeds and even landing on the yellow flowers in front of our cars, so we all were able to get great views of them - although I believe they were too quick for the photographers amongst us! There were some White-Rumped Swifts around at that … Continued

Clara Anna Fontein Game Reserve, Durbanville. – 16 November 2014.

Thirty two birders arrived before 08h00 at this new venue on a sunny day with clear skies and a light SE wind. Some of the highlights on this successful outing were seeing a Klaas' Cuckoo chick being fed by Malachite Sunbird and African Paradise Flycatcher on its nest. We counted 54 species of birds today. Sean de Nobrega.

Athlone Bird Counts November 2014

Athlone Bird Count November 2014 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. November 2014 - by Dick Bos. Our group today. photograph by Dick Bos. On this sunny day there is a "foul south-easter" blowing! But that did not seem to matter the birds much, although when some were struggling against the wind they seemed to stand still in the air! There were a lot of birds to count, more birds than last month: 23 species / 1312 birds for CWACC and 39 species / 1467 birds for MyPatch! All the grass areas … Continued

SBA – Management – September 2014.

Fire! All part of a controlled burn of invasive vegetation which was cleared earlier in the year. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Rebuilding the fence line from the EE Centre to Zeekoevlei Kedestes butterfly monitoring programme in operation. More bird ringing with Dr Doug Harebottle. Follow up removal of Typha capensis in P2. Maintenance of infrastructure and picnic area. Field sampling in the study pans Brushpile fire burning in designated areas. Student and staff training. See what we did this month.  

SBA – Management – August 2014.

Hendry Saal and John Davids with the one Grey Heron chick, going for its new leg tag fitting. All photographs by Erica Essig. Clearing reeds from north side of P2 for better viewing. Planning and preparation work for stack burns in a management block. Sam White assisted with the final translocation of carp from S2 to J dam. Bird ringing with Doug Harebottle assisted by CTEET and WESSA students. Removal of rubble from Pelican Park. Ongoing work in garden project. Franklin's Gull is still present in S7. See what we did this month.  

Athlone Bird Count August 2014

Athlone Bird Count August 2014 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. August 2014 - by Doug Harebottle. Cape Weaver. photograph by Doug Harebottle. A good afternoons CWACing and patching at Athlone Sewage Works on 21 August. Total of 39 species and 439 waterbirds counted. Dominant watrebirds were 243 Hartlaub's Gulls, 39 Red-knobbed Coot, 25 Cape Shoveler and 23 Red-billed Teal. Also had a pair of Water Thick-knee. Great to find a Cape Weaver colony in a pine tree which had 47 nests and 6 males in attendance. Thanks again to Ronald Jordaan, … Continued

SBA – Management – July 2014.

Egrets in the foreground with a variety of other birds to be seen in the pans at Strandfontein. All photographs by Erica Essig.  Come and visit and see for yourself. Clearing all sluice gate areas of vegetation in the P designated pans. Removing rubble from Pelican Park by hand. Getting ready for dry invasive stack burns. Translocating 10 carp from S2 to J-dam. Franklin's Gull is in S7. Msc field sampling. Marking out new fence line for Pelican Park.   See what we did this month.  

Athlone Bird Count July 2014

Athlone Bird Count July 2014 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. July 2014 - by Doug Harebottle. Our group today. photograph by Mapula Mokwele.. A CWAC and MyBirdPatch survey took place at Athlone WWTW on Thursday 16 July. I am glad we changed the count to 16th. On the 17th July my rain gauge says we've had about 60mm over night (17th July the planned count day) plus a few broken branches! It was good to have a few new observers - Mapula Mokwele, Bradley Thorne (and his six year old daughter … Continued

SBA – Management – June 2014.

On a winters afternoon and the Typha removed from P2. What a lovely view. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Erica starts her MsC with research in the pans P1 and P2. CATHSETA training Clearing all the weirs and sluise gates in the P designated pans. Clearing rubble and making a new viewing site. Ongoing plant identification with Robin and Pat Burnett. Chestnet-vented Tit-Babler sighted in the birding area. See what we did this month.  

Athlone Bird Count June 2014

Athlone Bird Count June 2014 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. June 2014 - by Doug Harebottle. The special sighting at the count today. photograph by Jessie Blackshaw. A CWAC and MyBirdPatch survey took place at Athlone WWTW on Thursday 19 June. We were glad to have a break in the weather and it was a superb winter's day in Cape Town for a bird survey! We counted a total of 596 birds comprising 22 waterbird species with 237 Hartlaub's Gulls and 142 Black-winged Stilts. These two species definitely dominate the waterbird … Continued

SBA – Management – May 2014.

Painted Lady butterfly feeding on autumn vygie flowers. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Chrystline Mathews started as Field Ranger this month! Thanks to the Julie de Groen Trust and Cape Bird Club for sponsoring this 8 month postion. Clint Williams started his new contract at SBA valid until December 2014, thanks to the Julie de Groen Trust and Cape Bird Club. Cut and pulled out the Typha Capensis regrowth in pan P2. Opened up boards in the wagon wheel - Flooding P2, P3. Opened up P4, P5 and P6 (Flooding P2 because of typha, flooding P3 because of fish … Continued

Harold Porter Reserve areas – 18 May 2014.

Harold Porter Botanical Reserve area - 18 May 2014 It was an early start for us on the Sunday of the CBC outing to Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens in Betty's Bay as we were due to meet at the gate at 8:00am and we were travelling from Tokai and Plumstead. However, we arrived in good time, meeting up with fellow CBC members for a quick coffee stop to kick off the morning. Once in the gardens we were delighted to find a whole flock of Swee Waxbills as we were waiting for everyone to gather together. There were about 10 … Continued

Athlone Bird Counts May 2014

Athlone Bird Count May 2014 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. May 2014 - by Doug Harebottle. Our group today about to start the count. photograph by Doug Harebottle. On 22 May, eight Cape Bird Club members joined Doug Harebottle for the monthly CWAC count at Athlone Waste Water Treatment Works. It was a perfect winters day, cool and warm, with hardly any wind. We split into two groups initially to count the birds in the southern and northern settling ponds. Highlights here included over 250 Hartlaub's Gulls, 70 Black-winged Stilt, 50 … Continued

SBA – Management – April 2014.

No photos were supplied for April. Preparations for the Birdathon. Birdathon was a great success. CATHSETA learners went on a week long course at the Riversdale Nature College. Camera and binos stolen. On going invasive plant removal in Pelican Park and Birding Area. Maintenance of the Bird Info Centre garden and Tern roost. Fynbos identification training. Water safety training. White faced Ducks seen on pan S4. See some of the photos from the Birdathon 2014.    

Conservation – Meeting the Birds of Princessvlei – 25 April 2014 – part 2.

Save the Birds of Princessvlei 24 April 2015  (part 2). Gillian Barnes setting her group off down to the shoreline.   This is a working partnership with the CBC and the Princessvlei Forum.   The Princessvlei Forums Project - Meeting the Birds - is part of a series to introduce local school children to a holistic approach to experiencing Princessvlei. A number of organisations and individuals were involved on the day. The Princessvlei Forum, CTEET, Cape Bird Club and Children's Art Centre were some. CTEET had a tent up with live animal educational presentations. The CBC members did guided bird … Continued

Conservation – Meeting the Birds of Princessvlei – 25 April 2014 – part 1.

Meeting the Birds of Princessvlei 25 April 2014  (part 1). Celia Wolfe showing her group the Egyptian Goose on the chart.   This is a working partnership with the CBC and the Princessvlei Forum.   The Cape Bird Club at Princessvlei - Meeting the Birds on 25 April 2014. (Part 1.) Anne Gray co-ordinated the CBC members Gillian Barnes, Penny Dechmont, Anne MacLeod and Celia Wolfe to lead the groups of children around the south eastern shoreline of Princessvlei. This was an outdoor school activity for all the schools involved. They had to take notes, take photographs with their cellphones … Continued

Athlone Bird Count April 2014

Athlone Bird Count April 2014 A working partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. April 2014 - by Doug Harebottle. Joan Ackroyd, Moegamat Fakier-Abdol, Gill Ford and Fay Linder about to start the count. photograph by Doug Harebottle. It was a great afternoon - we ended up with 747 birds (from 22 species) for CWAC including 292 Hartlaub's Gulls, 90 Greater Flamingo, 77 Yellow-billed Ducks, 45 Blacksmith Lapwing and five Water Thick-knee. Overall we got 46 species for the MyBirdpatch, with the most exciting record being at the end, when three Fork-tailed Drongos were observed … Continued

SBA – Management – March 2014.

J - dam with wave action erosion of the bank in January 2014. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Chainsaw training paid for by the Julie te Groen bequest. Plant species ID with Robin and Pat Burnett. Preparing for the Birdathon in April. Possible botulism in P2. Maintenance on raft in P6 for herons. Conservation training for staff. Erosion project in J - dam. Repaired fishing platforms. There are "new little footprints" next door at Rondevlei. See more of what we did this month.  

SBA – Management – February 2014.

Gum tree branches placed in P1 for bird perches. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Installed more gum tree perches at P1 and S2 - have noted swallows and cormorats perching here. GIS mapped all the Imperenta grass patches in Pelican Park. This will be used to create our Kedestes monitoring protocol which is being piloted this year. Mangement block 5 has finally been cleared by the Strandfontein team. Mangemnet block 2 was initially cleared at Pelican Park by the IAS team. Excavators have left site. They didn’t finish the typha at P2, but the pan has had a major … Continued

SBA – Management – January 2014.

Conservation staff members checking up on a Cape Teal. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Skills Development contracts have been extended to May 2014. 2 x new EPWP team workers started this month. New hand railing put in at the Bird Information Centre. The building was plastered and also painted. Looking fresh! New wooden boards put in at S3 canal as the grid was stolen. The wooden boards have holes to let water out, and keep water hyacinth trapped. Removed Yucca plants, also testing a new herbicide on this plant type. Fire in Pelican Park Reserve. Quite intense, burnt roughly … Continued

Bird Ringing at Rondevlei Nature Reserve.

Bird ringing at Rondevlei Nature Reserve.   by  Gavin Lawson. Photographs by Lynn Roscoe, Damian Gibbs, Dieter Oschadleus, Eva van Belle.   Join Dieter Oschadleus ringing at Rondevlei. It is geared to demonstrating ringing to the general public and is ideal for families with children - note that there is a small entry fee to Rondevlei. Takes place on the second Saturday of the month, 8am - about noon. Ringing will be canceled if it is raining or during high winds. Also check this online calendar for ringing dates http://weavers.adu.org.za/ring_cal.php to verify the correct times and venues. Dieter Oschadleus email    … Continued

SBA – Management – December 2013.

Moving between the 2 heronrys on the new working raft. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Finished building the 3 rafts. One is in S4 as a bird perch. Another in P6. Interviews and appointment of new staff for Pelican Park. Alien clearing in management block 5 in the birding area. Hyacinth follow ups in the pans. MOU meeting with CBC Conservation Committee members. Started on the Kedestes butterfly monitring protocol. Assisting Zeekoevlei with the fence lines in the southern area. Capture and release of relocated reptiles. Plenty of migrant waders are present, also a Grey Plover seen. See what … Continued

SBA – Management – November 2013.

Checking whats in the net. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Alien clearing of Management block 5 at Strandfontein birding area. Rubble and litter removal at Management block 7 of pelican park - serious dumping problem in this area. Started building 3 rafts which we will be using for various purposes on site. Removing Water Hyacinth from S3 - It’s a lot of work, but we are getting there. Planted gum tree stumps onto the island and at P2 and S4, as perches for cormorants. Clearing Port Jackson regrowth at Management block 7, Pelican Park. Fish trek at the Zeekoevlei … Continued

SBA – Management – October 2013.

Assisting the staff to put up a fence at the Zeekoevlei Nature Reserve. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Introduced a recycling programme at False Bay Nature Reserve, ZEEP and False Bay Education Centre. Had a Site visit and spoke to the Delegates of the International Convention of Migratory Species at Strandfontein. Finished initial clear out of water hyacinth in P8. A Franklins Gull spotted in P6. Kelp Gull egg poaching - Law enforcement assisted, 2 suspects to jail. Constant monitoring of all electric fencelines, bollards, barbed wire fenceline and Baden Powell fenceline. See what we have been doing this … Continued

Strandfontein Birding Area – 09 October 2013

Strandfontein Birding Area 09 October 2013 Six delegates, who were attending the annual SANBI Fynbos Conference, were taken on a guided drive through the Strandfontein Works on 09/10/2013. The Outing was arranged by Anne Gray on behalf of the Cape Bird Club and guided by Graham Pringle and Mike Saunders. The delegates enjoyed a successful, if not, a bit windy experience. The usual Waterbirds were observed and good sightings were had of Hottentot Teal, Maccoa Duck and a large number of Southern Pochard. Black-crowned Night Heron were observed and the trip ended with close encounters with a pair of Water … Continued

Conservation – John Graham Primary School talk / presentation 09 October 2013.

Bird talk / presentation at John Graham Primary School, Plumstead - 09 October 2013. Shaun speaking to the Science Club at John Graham Primary School.   This is a working partnership with the CBC and the Princessvlei Forum.   09 October 2013 - John Graham Primary School and Princessvlei Scout Group requested Shaun Overmeyer to give them a talk about birds of Princessvlei after hearing about the previous presentation at the Jolly Carp hall in September 2013. Anne Gray (CBC) contacted me to find out if I would be willing to do a talk at John Graham Primary School, Plumstead. … Continued

SBA – Management – September 2013.

What is going on here.............what are they doing? All photographs by Erica Essig.   New grid installation at S2 canal to stop the water hyacinth infecting the other pans. Capture of Mother and Calf Hippo and returned to Rondevlei!!!! Grading of all the roads by CFWWTW. CFWWTW still continuing to remove water hyacinth from S3. Echium initial removal. Continue cutting vegetation on island in S7 to convert to a heronry. Finish the Barbed wire fence line at Pelican Park. Typha removal at P1 small, P3 small and P5. A Goliath Heron in P1, Yellow billed Ducks with chicks and sand … Continued

SBA – Management – August 2013.

Building another boma for the next hippo capture. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Rain and enforced leave of 2 weeks for the EPWP team have effected productivity this month. Rebuilding another boma for the capture the hippo and her calf to be returned to Rondevlei. The WESSA students have been receiving work related and bird ID training. P8 is clear of hyacinth. P1 and P3 the largest and longest infested are next. CFWWTW have donated an excavator and 2 dump trucks for work to start on these pans. Very high water levels in the pans are due to the … Continued

Conservation – Princessvlei talk / presentation 23 August 2013.

Bird talk / presentation at Princessvlei 23 August 2013. This is a working partnership with the CBC and the Princessvlei Forum.   23 August 2013 - The Princessvlei Forum (who were fighting to stop the proposed Mall development at Princessvlei) requested that CBC members help educate and inform the local children, from a number of schools, about the local birds of Princessvlei. Anne Gray co-ordinated the event. Shaun Overmeyer (CBC Conservation Committee) gave a talk / presentation at the Jolly Carp Hall, Sassmeer, Retreat. Bridget Pitt from the Friends of Princessvlei Forum asked Anne Gray via the CBC, if someone … Continued

SBA – Management – July 2013.

Tracking hippos .... look at the size of the foot print. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Bob Marley the hippo, was finally caught and translocated to his new home near Mossel Bay. There is still another hippo in S1 pan. Please obey the rules stay out of the area. The EPWP staff members have started to cut all the vegetation from the island in S7. We are going to convert it into a new heronry and fingers crossed get some breeding going soon. We are still having serious issues with the trespassing quad bikers. We currently have some WESSA … Continued

SBA – Management – June 2013.

Two of the current French volunteer students working at Strandfontein. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Installing cement bollards in all the quad bikers paths. Construction and rebuilding of the hippo boma. Monitoring and maintenance of the electric fence line. Building brush structure for bird roosting and nesting in pan W1. The Typha Management plan updated. Fixing soil erosion problems at J dam. Installation of a new fence along the Pelican Park eastern perimeter of the Reserve. Installed new door mechanism to the Bird Information Centre. Rebuilding of vandalised Baden Powell Road fence line. Removal of invasive bush and plants … Continued

SBA – Management – May 2013.

Some of the excited group waiting at the start of the Birdathon - Family Fun Walk on 04/05/2013. photographs by Gavin Lawson and Erica Essig,   BirdLife SA Family Fun Walk event, lots of planning and logistics to get everything in place for the day. Fish Trek. P5 Shaping and contouring of banks from CFWWTW side. Maintenance of heronries: Adding more brush. BIC new plants planted in garden beds (to attract bush birds). Soil erosion at J dam - New sand bags added and more carportus planted for stability. Baden Powell fence line fixed (vandalism and theft) New wire put … Continued

SBA – Management – April 2013.

Beware this is Bob Marley the hippo. All photographs by Erica Essig.   This month the conservation team has been very busy with the water hyacinth removal and follow ups! The excavator cleared the main canal that runs from Zeekoevlei to the canal and the team have been in the water for the past month with wetsuits and hand picking out all the hyacinth that has been missed. We have finally finished the initial hand follow up and the canal is looking great! The excavator has started removing the infestation of hyacinth from P8 now, and we hope to get … Continued

SBA – Management – March 2013.

Intaka outing for the volunteer students from Germany and Norway. photograph by Erica Essig. This month we started off the month with a trip to Intaka island as a farewell present to the volunteers! The 5 German and Norwegian volunteers that assisted with alien clearing, maintenance and building in the past few months have sadly fledged the nest and are back to their home countries. I treated them to a trip to intaka and a farewell meal.. they really deserved it! This month has been super busy! We currently were given some new EPWP staff and Strandfontein now has 16 … Continued

SBA – Management – February 2013.

Pelicans coming over while on hippo watch. All photographs by Erica Essig.   This month our staff numbers have climbed and we really are starting to get a lot of work done! The staff numbers as of 27/02/2013 - Introduction of new EPWP. We now have: 1 x Manger                                Erica Essig                    (City of Cape Town and Cape Bird Club) 1 x Foreman                              Ryno Coetzee              (City of Cape Town and Cape Bird Club) 1 x Small Plant Operator          Sydne Jacobs              (City … Continued

SBA – Management – January 2013.

A sunset just before we went on hippo watch. All photographs by Erica Essig.   We unfortunately got a terrible case of botulism occurring around P2, it is 'that' time of the year, and the Kelp Gulls and Egyptian Geese got the worst of it. We lost 25 birds, and the SPCA ended up euthaniasing another 5. P2 has since been flushed, and the we hope the outbreak is behind us. We had a busy month rescuing many birds, the Wildlife Unit at the SPCA was getting pretty sick of us. I found a couple of injured birds that had … Continued

SBA – Management – December 2012.

Repairing a bank wall of P3 where soil erosion had started. All photographs by Erica Essig.   Erica Essig reports; After the last report we had the hippo isolated in pan S2. Unfortunately due to an illegal trespassing quad bike driving around the pans and breaking the fence line. Bilbo (hippo) managed to escape as the electric fence line short circuited. The fence lines have been dropped and we are monitoring pans S1 and S2 in hope that the hippo returns again, so that we can erect the electric fencing around it! A very disappointing outcome to say the least! … Continued

SBA – Management – November 2012.

Building the bridges for the fishermen at J dam. All photographs by Erica Essig.   30 November 2012 - Erica reports; I have 3 volunteers helping me this month. We have now cleared T1, T2 and T1 Canal, we have completed the initial phase and initial follow up of both water bodies. In the past 4 months we have successfully removed water hyacinth from 11 canals and pans, and are currently in maintenance phase. We 'only' have S1, S3 and P8 canal to clear. These pans are actually the largest of all the water bodies at Strandfontein and have been … Continued

SBA – Management – October 2012.

Bilbo is in my pond!! All photographs by Erica Essig.   30 October 2012 - Erica reports; We officially have our first weaver nest in the gum trees at the SBA entrance, this has been an on-going project and it seems the work finally paid off! We found an illegal pathway leading to the kelp gull colony and we barricaded it immediately, motor bike tracks were found here and this is very worrying considering the nests in the sand. Water Hyacinth has been removed from P3 small triangle and we have some very welcome visitors using the pan! I have … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2012.

Events at the WCFSC during 2012.   October 2012 On Thursday 18 October 2012 a memorial service was held at 14h00 in the DRC Hall, Bower Street, Brooklyn when family members, together with a number of Environmental Education and Conservation organisations representatives and individuals came to pay tribute to the late Frank Wygold. He died on 31 August 2012. Gavin Lawson.       

SBA – Management – September 2012.

The Kelp Gulls all lined up along the fence posts on the southern boundary. All photographs by Erica Essig.   28 September 2012 - Erica reports; The initial Hyacinth removal with the excavator at small triangle of P1 and P3. Assistance by a skills development person and 1 volunteer. Numerous black bags of rubbish at P1 were removed. Hyacinth follow up at P1 and P1 canal. Water hyacinth follow ups at P7, S1 and S2 canals. Daily removal of alien invasive terrestrial species namely; Echium plantaginum, Tree Mallow - Lavaterea arborea, Lupins from S1 and P1, transported by the bakkie … Continued

SBA – Management – August 2012.

Spring has sprung.   The white daisies are flowering in profusion. All photographs by Erica Essig.     16 August 2012 - Erica reports that some areas have become overgrown and neglected, due to the time delay of her appointment as the new Manager. Some of the areas she has been working at this month are; I have also started removing all of the invasive Tree Mallow (Lavertera arboraea) that has taken over most of the landscape. I am in the midst of cleaning up all of it (Fishing platforms, birding platforms, Birding Information Centre, and the picnic sites and garden … Continued

Outing to Paternoster Area – 17 June 2012.

Outing to Paternoster Area - 17 June 2012 Thirty birders attended this outing on the 17 June monthly outing, up the West Coast, north of Saldanha Bay. We went to three venues in very close proximity to Jacobsbaai and were very fortunate with sunny conditions albeit chilly. The habitat can be described as a Limestone / Strandveld ridge and there were no tree species only low shrubs. We had a good species count of 78 for a winter's day. Report by Anne Gray

Harold Porter Botanical Reserve and the Rooisand Nature Reserve – 21 April 2012.

Harold Porter Botanical Reserve and the Rooisand Nature Reserve - 21 April 2012 Harold Porter Nature Reserve The weather report for the day wasn’t very good with some rain predicted but when 18 of us gathered in the car park at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay the skies were partly cloudy and we hoped the rain would stay away. Our leader Jan Hofmeyr warned us there were not many birds in the gardens at present and seemed to be declining in numbers, we therefore weren’t expecting to see a great variety. We first headed up towards Leopard’s … Continued

Bird Ringing at Die Oog.

A morning spent bird ringing at Die Oog, Bergvliet.    photographs also by Gavin Lawson.   Die Oog in Bergvliet, Cape Town is where Felicity Ellmore often rings birds as one of her venues. On 18 December 2011, a rainy late spring morning she was busy there. This is an early morning in the life of a ringer, to give one an idea for those who do not know what it is about. The new Coots in their drab grey suites were wondering about investigating all the surroundings. There is a view towards Constantiaberg, which is in the rain clouds. … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2011.

Events at the WCFSC during 2011.   November 2011 These notes will give an idea to the background of the West Field Studies Centre. The Food Gardening pilot project is a joint initiative of the West Coast Fields Studies Centre in conjunction with the Habitat Council, the Provincial Administration of the Western Cape and the Brooklyn Chest Hospital, with support from the Blaauberg Substructure of the City of Cape Town. The Course starts twice a year in April and September and runs for 3 months at the West Coast Field Study Centre based at the Brooklyn Chest Hospital. The Course … Continued

SBA – Management 2010.

01 May 2011 - Ajay Bhoopchand sent this photo of a Glossy Ibis with a ring around its neck and beak. It was seen at the edge of a pan struggling with its noose. This is the price to be paid for careless disposal of our plastic refuse.   17 November 2010 - Victoria Day, Reserve Manager reports we did a night count last night at Strandfontein.The drive included part of the Zeekoevlei Road. Here we saw 2 Spotted Eagle Owls, 1 Cape Hare, 2 female Duikers and another unidentified antelope. We also saw a Spotted Thick knee. Inside Strandfontein … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2009.

Events at the WCFSC during 2009.   April 2009 On 16 April 2009 Frank attended the Mayor's Medal for Community Affairs ceremony, which was reintroduced as a civic function, to thank civil society's important individuals contribution towards the running of the City of Cape Town. Frank received a Mayor's Medal for Community Affairs from Mayor Helen Zille. There were 10 other recipients for the category of Community Affairs. photographs by Gavin Lawson.    Gavin Lawson.     

SBA – Management 2008.

June 2008 - Aerial photograph of the new Bird Information Centre construction in the centre of "the wagon wheel" of the pans. photograph by Gavin Lawson.   April 2008 - Eben Jansen the new Manager reports; An island has been created on pan S3 (see below) where we are busy putting branches on it as there are between 100 -150 birds roosting on the island. Another bit of news is that I am planning a nice entrance to the birding area, with signage and a new boom gate that will open at 07h30 in the morning and close at 19h00 … Continued

Conservation – Edith Stephens Wetland Park – 10 May 2008.

Edith Stephens Wetland Park – CBC Conservation Committee visit 10 May 2008. Dave Whitelaw speaking to the audience at Edith Stephens.   This is a working partnership with a number of NGO's and the City of Cape Town.   10 May 2008 - On a cold, rainy morning forty seven people attended, including most of the CBC Conservation Committee. This was the final day of the week long presentations and workshops held to try and establish a Cape Flats Bird Club at the Edith Stephens Wetland Park. Stacy-Ann Michaels (Environmental Education Officer) devised a programme to enthuse and educate the … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2008.

Events at the WCFSC during 2008.   World Wetlands Day 02 February 2008. Frank Wygold and Jenifer van Niekerk received a sponsors cheque from the General Manager, Mr de Meyer of Totalgaz, South Africa on behalf of the Friends of Paarden Eiland.. Totalgaz also sponsored Stonedragon, the education facility with another cheque. Totalgaz are the largest landowner in the Paarden Eiland industrial area abutting the wetland. CBC members Anne Gray, Jo Hobbs and Isabella Haden were also present. Denise Robinson MP, spoke about how wetlands look after us and we need to look after them. She emphasised that not enough … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2007.

Events at the WCFSC during 2007.   November 2007. CBC members Mary Frylinck assisted by Des Frykinck demonstrating card making skills to these unemployed people at the WCFSC. They made calendars for 2008 using creative methods and materials. The potential is for these people to earn a small income and further develop their creative and marketing abilities from this workshop. photographs by Frank Wygold.  Gavin Lawson.     

SBA – Management 2006.

Management and regulating the water level of the pans. The importance of dropping water levels was highlighted from a short lived experiment which the Cape Bird Club conducted some years ago. A pan was selected in conjunction with the Management at the Sewage Works and water to the pan was diverted. This resulted in a progressive lowering of the water level. Montlhy counts were conducted at this experimental pan and an adjacent control pan. The results revealed a dramatic change; both in the number of species and bird numbers. Over 4 summer months -                                                     Control pan          … Continued

Bird Ringing at Paarl Bird Sanctuary.

Bird ringing at Paarl Bird Sanctuary.   by  Gavin Lawson. Photographs by Cathy Hannay, Francis Hannay, Reg Weiss, Sally Weighill.   November 2010. Francis Hannay - Has taken over the birding ringing at Paarl. For details of times ph 021 855 2745 or 076 478 7265 or fhannay@netactive.co.za Our team had an enjoyable morning ringing at the Paarl Bird Sanctury on 20 November. The highlight of the day was the Namaqua Dove ringed by Felicity Ellmore. This appears to be the first Namaqua Dove ringed at this site since our records began in 1995. Robyn Kadis with a bird, Francis … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2005.

Events at the WCFSC during 2005.   May 2005. LEAP Science and Maths School visit to WCFSC during National Birding Week – 03 May 2005. As a school we decided to take part in various activities during National Birding Week. Our main event was to take the whole school to the West Coast Field Study Centre in Brooklyn. We arranged to go in the afternoon of Tuesday 3rd May and spend a few hours there, so that the students could observe the birds in a wetland area and draw or write about what they had seen. Frank Wygold asked Gavin … Continued

Paarl Bird Sanctuary outing March 2005.

Paarl Bird Sanctuary outing in March 2005. A working partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Bird Club. March 2005 - by Gavin Lawson. The bird hide. All photographs by Kirsten Louw. Paarl Bird Sanctuary – 08 March 2005. On a hot and partly cloudy day, a good turnout of members at Paarl, lead by Kirsten Louw. The Paarl Sanctuary is one of the better birding places around Cape Town area. There is always something interesting to see at all times and seasons of the year.

Hoopoe observations by Peter Nupen

Hoopoe observations while Bird Ringing September 2004 - by Peter Nupen Wing bars The first photo above taken in 2003, is of a male Hoopoe. Please note the rich chestnut brown colouration on the hind neck and back. More importantly, however, are the lack of black wing bars, giving a clear white window in the wing. The second photo taken in September 2004, is of a Hoopoe female. Note the washed out brown colouration on the hind neck and back of this bird. NOW, note that the female has a complete set of black bars in her wings. The third … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2004.

Events at the WCFSC during 2004.   August 2004 Les Benson who started "les Collectables" in Plumstead from a very small capital outlay, gave a lecture on "how to be an entrepreneur" to some of the  TB patients at the Brooklyn Chest Hospital. This part of Frank's classes for self improvement and upliftment took place in August 2004. July 2004 These boys from Alcana School in Tableview, have to do 300 hours of community service, as part of their high school education curriculum. Frank says "they worked hard for 6 hours digging over the vegetable beds in preparation for planting". … Continued

Conservation – Proposed Ring Road through the FBNR – 18 April 2004.

Proposed Ring Road through the FBNR - 18 April 2004.   On the 18 April 2004 the Conservation Committee members Dave Whitelaw and Gavin Lawson together with John Yeld  (Argus Newspaper - Environmental Journalist) visited the Strandfontein and Zandvlei Nature Reserve along the proposed tolled Ring Road route through these Nature Reserve areas. This was for fact finding and information gathering to write articles and help in the fight to stop the proposed road. Seen in the pan are Greater Flamingos. We also saw an African Fish Eagle on a post in the pan. photographs by Gavin Lawson. Gavin Lawson. … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2003.

Events at the WCFSC during 2003.   A sad loss to close friends – Jan 2003. Frank relates – It is with great sadness that I have to report that mummy Cape Dwarf Chameleon (Emmanuel) and her tank companion the red sided Skink (Slim) were carried off by one of the 4 juvenile Rock Kestrels, which roost on the pipes projecting from the outside wall of the Centre. As often happens when one looks after a variety of creatures, stupid mistakes are made. It was a very hot night and for the comfort of the animals I left a window … Continued

WCFSC – Activities in 2002.

Events at the WCFSC during 2002.   National Education Curriculum Advisors Workshop. An interactive workshop was hosted by the WCFSC and took place at the WCFSC with members of NEEP/GET (National Environmental Education Programme/General Education Training) and 6 of the National Education Curriculum Advisors who formulate various policies.   Young Naturalists Club. An unusually small class from an increasing number of private school classes are more normally 60 to 70 pupils. Visitors to the WCFSC are encouraged to handle various live exhibits under supervision. Exhibits included snakes, lizards, agamas, chameleons, mice and several species of insects. Here a student is … Continued

Conservation – Raising the Fish Eagle platform at Zandvlei – 28 May 2002.

Raising the Fish Eagle platform - 28 May 2002.     On the 28 May 2002 in the pouring rain the Reserve staff Pottie snr, Gavin, Clifford, Elzette, Erika, Glendon, with help from Gavin Lawson and Cherry Giljam in her peddle boat, finished installing the nesting platform in the Zandvlei Nature Reserve at the edge of the water in the northern section of Zandvlei. The 8 meter tall gum tree branch is secured in a drum, in concrete. The peddle boat was used to ferry the dry concrete mix in relays from the land to the work site. The rest … Continued

Bird Ringing at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 18 May 2002.

Bird ringing at Zandvlei Nature Reserve on 18 May 2002.    photographs by Gavin Lawson.   Doug Harebottle started bird ringing at Zandvlei in 1999 soon after arriving to live in Cape Town. Here are a sequence of photographs of some of the birds caught in the nets (some more than once during the same morning) and about to be released after processing the data capture information in the log book. The nets are usually put up in the dark, before there is any bird movement or activity. So bird ringers are up early in the morning.  The bird activity … Continued

Outing to Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 21 March 2002.

Outing to Zandvlei Nature Reserve 21 March 2002 - by Gavin Lawson. The weather was kind it was a beautiful sunny day with little wind on the Sunday 21 March 2002 outing for 22 CBC members at Zandvlei Nature Reserve. Bruce MacKenzie the leader for today, asked me to come along and take some photos. The "Zandvlei Fish Eagles" were present and everyone got a good view of them. The waders and swallows were still present. We saw the 3 kingfishers - Giant, Pied and Malachite. The Little Bittern was also seen. The tumble weed (Brunsvigia orientalis) and the April … Continued

Bird Ringing at Zandvlei Nature Reserve – 26 January 2002.

Bird ringing at Zandvlei Nature Reserve on 26 January 2002.      photographs by Gavin Lawson.   Doug Harebottle started bird ringing at Zandvlei in 1999. Brian Herman brought a youngster from Lakeside with him to come and assist Doug and for him to experience what bird ringing is all about. Brian breeds and keeps birds in aviaries in his garden and the boy comes to visit Brian to see the birds. All the usual suspects were caught , and it turned out that a few Cape White eyes were re trapped. While sitting and documenting the data an Angulate … Continued