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!