Not for the first time, Barbara and her committee organised a really good field trip – this time to Verlorenvlei and surrounding areas on the West coast. We met (all 25 of us) at Vensterklip Guest House, where we were accommodated, either in chalets or at camp sites, on Tuesday afternoon. The first day was spent in the actual vlei area, where we saw a number of water birds, before tucking into the usual braai and accoutrements supplied by designated delegates. Wednesday saw us taking the road south to Velddrif where, despite the wet conditions we were not disappointed with the aquatic birds.
On Thursday we went north to Lamberts Bay seeing a fine range of west coast birds along the way. Bird Island was somewhat disappointing, with far fewer than usual Cape Gannets present and no Crowned or Bank Cormorants, although we did see many terns, but no specials. We were happy to spend the evening seeing Australia knocked out of the World Cup before tucking into another good meal and hearing Barbara’s accounting of our bird list – about 140 by then, with the West Coast National Park still to come!
The latter did had not produced many additions to the list by the time Renee and I left, but we did see Black Harriers, an African Marsh Harrier and a Black Sparrowhawk, so were quite happy until we returned home and went through the agony of watching South Africa falling apart at the hands of the Black Caps and failing, for the umpteenth time to win a game at the knock-out stage of the competition. What a disappointment!! The whole country must be in shock and we all wonder if our team will ever hold a cricket trophy.
There was one very positive aspect to the trip, albeit only on a personal level. We managed to survive three nights in our relatively new caravan, although sleeping on a slope on the first night was a bit problematic. Fortunately we got the levelling to hold up once we saw the cause of the problem!
Now I must attend to my 2011 Challenge List, as I know Mike will be asking for an update at month end! His is no doubt touching around 250 by now! What hope have the rest of us got??