Dot’s Dash

When Margaret phoned last evening to ask us if we wanted to go up Dot’s Dash with her and Liz and Garth, I wondered why she wanted to go now.  After all, the Erica pillansii only flower in April.  Lo and behold, I was right.  There were absolutely none of them to be seen anywhere along the walk, but we certainly saw lots of other interesting sights and the beautiful fynbos all along the walk once again convinced us that this must be one of the most floristic routes in the area. 

I wonder if anybody can identify the red erica shown in two of my pictures.  Its normal habit has the flower inverted so that one sees the back, but I turned it over for the second image and it really is spectacular.  We also saw a beautiful small agapanthus which we were unable to identify as well as a wonderful variety of other ericas, leucospermums, leucadendrons, aulaxes, proteas, brunias and other plants.

We walked up from Fairy Glen along a path that took us to the parking area on the low plateau above the western end of Kleinmond.  From there we cut across to the Highland path, and then down Dot’s Dash, where quite a bit of work has been done putting in a new path and some zig-zags.  Here we also saw the spectacular Brunia stokoei.  On the way back down to Fairy Glen, I was rewarded with a good sighting of Ground Woodpeckers, to go with the Cape Siskins and ubiquitous Orange-breasted Sunbirds seen earlier.

It was a great walk and the route we took is an improvement on the one previously used.  We walked 6.2 kilometres and it took us around three and a half hours.  We can look forward to a real spectacle when we visit there again in April.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Botterkloof with the Bird Club

Barbara did something amazing.  She organised an outing for no less than 51 members of the Hermanus Bird Club.  Well done and well done to Graham who made sure that we all had somewhere to braai.  It was no easy task, I’m sure, but they handled it without any panic and everything went beautifully.

We arrived at Botterkloof at lunch time on Monday and were divided into three groups under the leaderships of John, Barbara and Mike for the birding trips.  By the time we had put together the final list on Tuesday evening, we had no less than 146 sightings – a wonderful achievement.  Included in this list was a rare European Roller and a Jacobin’s Cuckoo.  It goes without saying that there was some bragging when it came to who saw what, but we won’t mention names.  The high point was probably Voelvlei, which produced more waders than most of us have ever seen!  The huge flocks of Avocets and Black-winged Stilts left us breathless.

The food was very good, the accommodation was very good at the price and the company was fantastic.  One really does need to go on outings to get to know one’s fellow birders and this was no exception.   Mick sang like a lark and Grant promised to accompany him next time round.

On the journey home we kept bumping into our outing companions.  The road via Vermaaklikheid produced a Southern Tchagra, Denham’s Bustard and the elusive European Roller.  Then Renee and I went on to Grootvadersbos, but did not see the Narina Trogon.  We did, however, see some good forest birds and I was able to add a few ticks to my 2011 Challenge List.  The latter was very much the first thing many people did on their daily return to base.   I actually think that the Challenge is going to peak in about three weeks time and thereafter any additions will be the result of some serious spotting.  I know that mine is already nearing its peak!

Hurriers’ 2011 First Half Programme

There were no less than 24 members at the 2011 planning meeting at John and Carol’s home this morning.  Considering that we had apologies from around 8 people, this was a very good turn out and augurs well for our future walks.  Thanks to Carol and John for the excellent tea and cakes provided.  The provisional programme is as follows;

  Date                     Walk                                                   Leader

26 Jan     Pearly Beach to Kleinbaai                     Mike Ravenscroft

9 Feb       Kogelberg to Harold Porter                  Carol & John Groenewald

23 Feb     Table Mountain disas                            Mike Bryan

16 Mar    De Kelders to Grotto                              Helen Gardener

30 Mar    Vermont coast                                        Hedley Tarlton

13 Apr     Guy’s pool via Leopard camp               Garth & Liz Hutton

27 Apr     Dot’s Dash                                               Ronnie & Renee Hazell

11 May    Sculptures Corner                                  Ronnie & Renee Hazell

25 May    Porcupine Ridge                                     Debby Brooke-Sumner

8 Jun       Vogelgat Summits                                   Garth & Liz Hutton

22 Jun     Tesslaarsdal                                             Elsa Gebhard