Walking at Vogelgat Reserve, Hermanus

We had ten walkers for our hike to Quark Hut at Vogelgat yesterday.  The weather was perfect and the recent rain ensured that all the streams were flowing well, and there were many flowers in bloom – and even a few birds around.  We saw a pair of Verreaux’s Eagles circling above the cliffs, as well as Orange Breasted Sunbirds.  The calls of the Cape Grassbirds kept us looking for them, but they managed to elude us.

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A Weekend in Knysna

When Michael and Nicky went to East London to represent their province in the Masters’ Interprovincial Hockey Tournament, we spent the weekend in Knysna with Travis and Robyn.  This gave us the opportunity to do some birding – a walk at Belvedere revealed three Olive Woodpeckers, some Swee Waxbills, a pair of Blue-Mantled Crested Flycatchers and a Klaas’s Cuckoo – in that order!  These are not common birds, so we were thrilled to see them so easily.

We also enjoyed walks in the Rheenendal Forest and at Leisure Isle.  I had a chance to photograph Robyn at home and then again when we took her to her riding lessons – where she showed us how well she handles her favoured mount, Coffee.

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Family photographs

I had fun putting together a large composite image which I have had printed and framed. It is made up of 99 separate images, and provides an insight into the extended family since the advent of digital images.  Hanging in our home, it is a constant reminder of what our family means and the need to keep in touch at all times.

Family set for blog

Fifteen years of family life

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Small Ericas

A hike up to Vogel Pool at Vogelgat Reserve yesterday revealed the lower slopes of the mountain to be covered with two ericas bearing tiny flowers, around 3 mm in size and another with even smaller blooms at 1 mm.  Having only a small camera with me I could not get good images, but append them, nevertheless, in the hope that one of my readers will be able to identify them.  I could not match them with the Fernkloof list.

On the birding side, there were not many of our feathered friends in evidence, but we were lucky to come across a pair of Victorin’s Warblers just below Quark hut.  They were very shy as usual, but in full voice and were happy to be in the undergrowth right next to where we were standing.

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Walking in the southern Cape

We spent a week at The Dunes near Keurbooms River.  This allowed us to explore some of the walks in the region and we commenced with the hike across the Storms River on the suspension bridge and then up to the lookout point and back.  It as only 2 km all told, but the climb on the other side was pretty step and we appreciated the effort!

Next day saw us completing the very taxing Robberg Trail at Plettenberg Bay.  This is around 10 km and includes easy, well kept sections, especially on the north side, but when one gets to the open sea side, the trail becomes much more challenging and we once again felt the pain of some stiff climbs and descents.  Fortunately the path is being remade over some of the more dangerous sections, where we felt quite vulnerable scrambling up very steep and slippery rock faces.  It is a beautiful walk and we saw many seals, both on land and in the sea as well as whales and Great White Sharks!.  We were also treated to excellent geological exposures and impressive rock formations.

Robberg left our legs stiff and we needed to stretch then again, so took on the 9 km easy walk  to the end of Robberg Beach and back.  The sea was flat and there were many other walkers on this beach.

On our way to Knysna we stopped at Kranshoek and walked a couple of short trails, along the cliffs and in the forest.  Unfortunately it was bitterly cold so we avoided being out too long.

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Onrus/Vermont coastal path

After yesterday’s strong winds, we wondered if the conditions would be suitable for walking, but we needn’t have worried.  The weather was warm and balmy and we had a wonderful 9 km hike along the coastal path from the Onrus River to beyond Brekvisbaai and back..  It was good to note a turn out of 17 walkers.

As usual there were plenty of birds and I noted Kelp Gull, Hartlaub’s Gull, White Breasted Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black headed Heron, White Fronted Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing, African Black Oystercatcher, Swift Tern, Hadeda Ibis, Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Laughing Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Common Starling, Cape Robin Chat, Cape Wagtail, Karoo Prinia, Speckled Mousebird, Southern Double Collared Sunbird, Cape Bulbul, Pied Kingfisher, Southern Boubou and Bokmakerie.

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Inter-Provincial Hockey

In the last few days we had the pleasure of watching Travis representing SWD in the U16c team playing Field hockey.  His team did not do too well but he was awarded man on the tournament for his team, so we are well proud of him.

Then Keagan represented WP in the U12a Indoor hockey event and we were thrilled that his team, the Seals, won Silver.  Well done!!

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