Walking at Bouchard Finlayson Farm

Perhaps the Hurriers thought that they were going to get a free bottle of wine or two at the end of their walk – that certainly was never envisioned, but something must have motivated them as there were no less than 26 walkers present for our weekly hike this morning.  We have not seen numbers like this for ages – let’s hope it is a sign of things to come!  It was also good to have a few visitors along – we look forward to seeing more of you in the future.

The weather was cool – excellent for walking – and everyone had a good time.  Thanks to Ross for organising it all and for getting us sorted out with coffee etc., at the Plaaskombuis afterwards.  There was a period on our return to the cellar, when it seemed we had lost a few members, but everybody arrived and all were safely accounted for!

Birding at Jessies Farm

A morning at Jessie Walton’s bird friendly farm and garden is always a pleasure and today was no exception.  We spent a couple of hours there and Jessie was a great host, showing us around and introducing us to her young raptors in rehabilitation.  There was a juvenile Cape Buzzard in her cage as it is too young to be set free and there was also a juvenile African Harrier-Hawk in a tree in her garden.  The walk around the dam was productive with a good selection of water birds and we were able to boost our challenge list quite considerably.

An Outing on the Klein River

A cruise on the Klein River this morning with the Hermanus Bird Club proved to be fruitful.  We saw a total of 55 species and these included a wonderful sighting of a Martial Eagle soaring overhead.  Other raptors noted were African Harrier-Hawk, African Fish Eagle, Jackal Buzzard and Common Buzzard.  There were many African Darters and Kingfishers, and all the usual waterbirds, although we did not go far enough downstream to see any Flamingos.  The weather was perfect and the cruise ended all too soon, but we had a great outing!

On the Klein River with the Lady Stanford

Hermanus Bird Club

The Stanford Bird Club very kindly invited a representative of HBC to join them on their inaugural cruise down the Klein River in the newly launched ‘Lady Stanford’ and Renee and I were the lucky participants.  We set off at 7:30 am this morning along with around 20 local birders and spent three and a half hours enjoying the wonderful birding along the river.

The Lady Stanford is a purpose built river boat and it provided a wonderful platform from which to enjoy the abundant birdlife that the region has to offer.  We saw no less than 66 species.  There were many Giant Kingfishers, abundant African Darters, all the Grebes, three Herons, Falmingos galore and much more.  The juvenile African Harrier-Hawk was a highlight as it pecked at its branch, and we saw two Osprey, as well a s a number of Fish Eagles.

At one point, a Bontebok on…

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A Weekend with the Twins

We were delighted when Andrew and Michael brought their families (sans James, unfortunately) to Hermanus for the weekend, but sorry that David could not make it. The weather was warm and we had some good walks and a fine lunch at Stanford Harvest.  Our walk up Adder’s Ladder to Kanonkop in the early morning was especially good and we enjoyed a gourmet breakfast at the summit before venturing down through the magnificent displays of Roella incurva on the south facing slopes.

We were also lucky enough to see some good birds, including Cape Rock Thrush, Neddicky, Cape Siskin, African Paradise Flycatcher, Cape Grassbird and others.

A MASSIVE Find for Hermanus

Hermanus Bird Club

On Saturday morning Renee and I went to Rooisand to see if we could find the Pectoral Sandpiper that had been reported there.  As we approached the hide, we met up with Lester and Cheryl van Groeningen, and entered the hide together, whence we searched the surrounding area.  We could not locate the Sandpiper, but suddenly Lester drew our attention to a whiter than usual Wagtail and we all wondered about this unusual looking bird, thinking that it was an aberrant form of Cape Wagtail.  Luckily Lester had his big lens with him and took a few photos, which he circulated to Trevor and Faansie.  At first they were not to excited about the bird, but Lester pursued the issue with them and they asked for more images.

We were, therefore, delighted yesterday evening to see that both Faansie and Trevor had put out notes suggesting that this bird is…

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The aptly named ‘Glossy Ibis”

Birding early this morning along the edge of the Klein River Lagoon near Hermanus, I was delighted to come across a flock of Glossy Ibis.  One can immediately see why they are so named, when their plumage reflects the morning sun.  They were not too concerned about my presence and continued foraging, along with some Hadeda Ibis, Egyptian Geese, Sacred Ibis, Blacksmith Lapwings and many Red-knobbed Coot.  The lagoon itself was inundated with hundreds of Coot and ducks and was a sight to behold!

Walking in Vogelgat

Renee and I walked in Vogelgat this morning.  The temperature was 19 degrees when we started at 6:30 am but by the time we had completed our 4 hour hike, it had risen to 30 degrees!  Luckily there was a stiff breeze blowing and it kept us cool most of the time.

The fynbos was looking magnificent.  It is hard to believe, when one is on the mountain, that we are in the midst of a drought.  The only real evidence is the lack of water in the streams – some were completely dry!

We climbed around 450 metres to the Mossel Nook hut.  On the way we saw Cape Rockjumper and Ground Woodpecker, so were well pleased with the effort!  Then the track leveled off as we walked to Quark, seeing some wonderful flowers, including Disa tripetaloides. From Quark, there were many sunbirds and we also got a few Neddickys, but sadly, no Victorin’s Warblers, or Verreaux’s Eagles.

It was great to be in the mountains and we met up with quite a few other hikers by the time we had done our 10 km.  What a way to start 2018!