Starlight Concert at Vergelegen

Last night we enjoyed a fantastic Starlight Concert at the beautiful Vergelegen Estate, along with 5000 other fans.  Richard Cock conducted the proceedings and we were privileged to see and hear many talented South Africans as well as the magic flute of Sir James Galway!  It was a night to remember, and the stunning weather only added to the wonderful atmosphere.

We started the evening searching the grounds for a Cyprus Oak that we had been invited to plant in 1992, but failed to find it.  Our suspicion was that a new label had been placed at our tree!

Birding at Betty’s Bay

A second day of birding with the Walker Bay Bird Festival saw a large group of around 40 birders searching for the Cape specials – and they were lucky, seeing both the Cape Rock Jumper and Ground Woodpecker at Rooi Els.  Regrettably the Victorin’s Warbler did not show.  The group then visited the African Penguin colony at Stony Point, where the penguins and four different cormorants were in evidence.

Next came Harold Porter Reserve, where an African Black Duck posed nicely at the entrance.  There were many sunbirds within the reserve, however the forest walk proved disappointing.

All in all it was an interesting day during which I personally saw 72 species.

De Mond with the Walker Bay Bird Fair

Around 25 birders from the Western Cape gathered at Stanford this morning to meet Chris Cheetham, who led us on an outing to De Mond.  This was one of the items arranged by the Walker Bay Bird Fair, a festival that promises to grow into one of the premier birding gatherings in the region.

Our first stop was at the settling ponds at Napier, where we saw a good variety of water birds, including a short sighting of a Greater Painted Snipe, which caused much excitement.  From there we slowly made our way to De Mond.  Luckily the wind was not yet up so we could spend a good time on the sand flats where many waders were in evidence.  Lunch under the milkwoods followed, before we headed back via Voelvlei, near to Elim.  This was a first for most of the group and we were pleased to see a number of new birds, including three African Marsh Harriers and a couple of juvenile African Fish Eagles.

We saw around 90 species in all, so were well satisfied with the day.  Tomorrow we go to Rooi Els and Harold Porter, and will no doubt add many more species to the list.

Over the Hill

There were no less than 20 walkers (including 4 visitors) who accompanied Mick on his new route – ‘over the hill’ – which took us from the Visitor’s Centre, along the contour path and over the mountain to Hemel-en-Aarde, ending up at the Forest Adventure Centre.  He kept us amused with his commentary on all we saw and ultimately gave us a great and informative talk on the work done by the OTI (Overstrand Training Institute) which gives hope and direction to many young people who might otherwise have given up.

Not only that, but we were given a wonderful tea with sandwiches and scones at the about to be opened restaurant.  We had walked 6.5 kms and seen a mixture of fynbos and alien forest, along with a good bird or two, including a Peregrine Falcon and a Black Sparrow-Hawk.


School Sport

We had the privilege of watching Jordan playing water polo for RBHS against Wynberg on Saturday morning.  His team managed a resounding victory and it was good to see him doing well.

We then moved on to Rondebosch where Jamie was playing cricket against SACS.  He scored an excellent 47 and then took two wickets with some accurate seam bowling.  They won with ease and we returned to Hermanus very proud of our family’s achievements.