Blown Away!

Our walk this morning was planned by Fran to ascend the ZigZag, traverse along the Jeep Track, and then descend down to Vogelgat via Mossel Nook.  It started off pretty windy but six brave ladies and I decided to proceed – until we reached the top of the ZigZag – at which point the wind, which had, until then, been impeded by the mountain, hit us with its full force!  I was blown off the path and Fran had her spectacles blown off her face.  Luckily we found them, along with her hat, but we quickly decided to abandon the windy heights and set off back down to the contour path instead.  We had a good walk in the end, covering only around 4.3 km, but it was at least in a protected environment and we could proceed without fear of being blown away.

Fernkloof Walk

This morning’s walk in Fernkloof could not have taken place under better conditions.  No wind, and some welcome sunshine to warm our backs when we came out of the shade.  There were nine of us present and we walked 7 km over Kanonkop and down Adder’s Ladder – and I still cannot find that elusive Hottentot Buttonquail!

Birding at Greyton

A Bird Club visit to Greyton this morning reminded us of how the climate can change when one moves inland from the coast.  It was freezing when we (16 in number) arrived at around 8:30 am.  A 2,5 km walk to the south of the village soon warmed us up, however, and we spent a good couple of hours searching what looked like a very promising environment for local birds, but were disappointed to find very few.

We then returned to the village and drove through to the Nature Reserve.  This drive revealed how the storm, which occurred about ten days earlier, had ravaged the town,  There were scores of huge trees blown over or simply broken as they stood.  Many had fallen on homes and there was quite a lot of roof damage visible.  It must have been a frightening experience!

Our visit to the Nature Reserve was not much better from a birding viewpoint, with very many Cape Sugarbirds, but little else.  We walked through some magnificent stands of varied proteas and saw some unusual ericas, so it was interesting and the walk was along quite a difficult path.  This walk was also around 2,5 km, but took us quite a long while to traverse.

Dragon’s Back and the Voelklip Zigzag

Our walk yesterday was only attended by five Hurriers.  Audrey led us up the Dragon’s Back path (she said it would take half an hour, but we needed double that time, and some!)  Luckily it was a beautiful day and conditions were ideal.  We had wonderful views of Hermanus and the dams as we ascended this steep path.  The walk over to the Jeep Track was a pleasure and we had plenty of time to stop and enjoy a couple of cups of coffee, before descending the Zigzag to Voelklip and then back along the Contour path.  We covered a total of 6.6 km and climbed around 400 metres.

A Morning in Walker Bay

Hermanus Bird Club

There can be few pleasures that top a morning spent birding out in Walker Bay.  Walter took four of us out this morning and we had a really wonderful trip in his fishing boat.  When we set out there wasn’t a bird in sight, and pretty heavy swells and quite a bit of chop were the order of the day.  We wondered if we were on a wild Albatross chase!

Then we stopped about 3,5 km offshore and drifted. Walter had some sardines which he threw about and it wasn’t long before a Brown Skua appeared.  Within a short time there were about four of them around the boat and we had excellent sightings.  Then a couple of White-chinned Petrels appeared – also enjoying the chum.  Later they were joined by a few Sooty Shearwaters , whilst the odd Kelp or Hartlaub’s Gull dropped by.  Terns, both Common and…

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Getting Away From Reality

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Looking west

After elections and social unrest, it was a pleasure to be on the mountain once again this morning.  We were at peace with the world and it reflected our enjoyment of our surroundings by providing perfect weather for walking.  There were only seven of us present – those who stayed at home missed a fine outing.

We stopped near White Rock for a snack and were watched by a pair of Cape Rockjumpers, which no doubt wondered what we were doing on their mountain, but they did not trouble us!  A White-necked Raven flew by, but was not interested in coming too close.  For the rest, there were no birds at all and we wondered why.  I had hoped to see Hottentot Buttonquail, Sentinel Rock-Thrush and Ground Woodpecker, but there was no sign of any of them!  We will just have to keep on trying!

Our outing lasted only three hours, but we returned having stretched our legs and exercised our hearts and lungs.  It was a perfect morning!

Intaka Island

A quick visit to Intaka Island, whilst en route to Atlantic Beach, rewarded us with a few birds, but not the Little Bittern and Black-crowned Night-Heron that we were looking for. The pan section is dry, but the area around the hides remains full of water and birds, and it is a worthwhile place to spend an hour or two.