Around Kanonkop

The recent wildfires in the Overstrand threatened to disrupt the Hurriers walking programme and Ronnie’s Palmietrivier walk had to be changed. Fortunately most of Fernkloof and the other Hermanus mountains escaped the fires  and the Hurriers have risen like a Phoenix from the ashes (so to speak).  We have enjoyed two walks in the burn to marvel at the Fire Lilies and other signs of regrowth,  Ronnie’s re-routed walk along level on the Contour Path and, last week, the intrepid 11 found themselves Up the Creek and scaling mossy cliffs in Vogelgat.

It was a cool but humid  misty morning when 10 Hurriers and Bob from Tipperary (a long way away) met at the Visitors’ Centre.  Dave suggested we leave the straight and narrow and ascend the heights of Kanonkop via Klipspringer returning via Adder Ladder.  It was a great walk with glimpses of the sea and the valleys through the mists.

Some unfortunately had to rush back once we got to the Jeep Track, because of time pressures, whilst the rest continued enjoying the views from the top and the fresh two year old vegetation along the  way.  Adder Ladder, as always, warmed the ageing knees, but we were cheered by a young couple from Buckinghamshire we met who reminded us how lucky we are to live where we live.

Unfortunately Derek had forgotten to switch on his Garmin watch, so we do not know the statistics  but of  what importance is time and height and distance on a walk like the one we had just enjoyed

Submitted by Piet

De Hoop with The Hermanus Bird Club

Our two night outing to De Hoop commenced on Monday.  Recording bird species for the trip list started when we left the tar road outside Bredasdorp and ended there today on our return.  It was a great trip, arranged by Craig, as his swansong from the committee.

Accommodation and food were of a very high standard, with everybody making their contribution.  The small group size (only 18 members took part) meant that we all got to know each other and this made for a very happy outing!

On the birding front, we managed to assemble a list of 126 species, which is probably just about as good as any previous trip to De Hoop.  Perhaps the best bird of the trip was the African Snipe, three of which frequented a small water seep close to the camp, making for great viewing.  Despite the somewhat windy weather, we also managed two boat trips on the lagoon and these contributed to the list, with especially great sightings of Black-crowned Night Herons.

Our list comprised:  Bar-throated Apalis;  Pied Avocet;  Southern Red Bishop;  Yellow Bishop;  Bokmakerie;  Cape Bulbul;  Cape Bunting;  Denham’s Bustard;  Common Buzzard;  Jackal Buzzard;  Brimstone Canary;  Yellow Canary;  White-throated Canary;  Grey-backed Cisticola;  Levallant’s Cisticola;  Red-knobbed Coot;  Reed Cormorant; White-breasted Cormorant;  Blue Crane;  Long-billed Crombec;  Cape Crow;  Pied Crow;  African Darter;  Cape Turtle Dove;  Laughing Dove;  Namaqua Dove;  Red-eyed Dove;  Fork-tailed Drongo;  Yellow-billed Duck;  African Fish Eagle;  Booted Eagle;  Great Egret;  Little Egret; Western Cattle Egret;  Yellow-billed Egret;  Common Fiscal;  Greater Flamingo;  Lesser Flamingo;  Fiscal Flycatcher;  Grey-winged Francolin;  Egyptian Goose;  Spur-winged Goose;  Pale Chanting Goshawk;  Cape Grassbird;  Black-necked Grebe;  Great Crested Grebe;  Little Grebe;  Sombre Greenbul;  Common Greenshank;  Helmeted Guineafowl; Hartlaub’s Gull;  Kelp Gull;  Hamerkop;  Black-crowned Night Heron;  Grey Heron;  African Sacred Ibis;  Glossy Ibis;  Hadeda Ibis;  Rock Kestrel;  Black-shouldered Kite;  Yellow-billed Kite;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Crowned Lapwing;  Aghulhas Long-billed Lark;  Large-billed Lark;  Cape Longclaw;  Mallard;  Speckled Mousebird;  Common Moorhen; Fiery-necked Nightjar;  Commen Ostrich;  African Black Oystercatcher;  Speckled Pigeon; African Pipit;  Common Ringed Plover;  Kittlitz’s Plover;  Three-banded Plover;  White-fronted Plover;  Karoo Prinia;  White-necked Raven;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Namaqua Sandgrouse;  Common Sandpiper;  Curlew Sandpiper;  Wood Sandpiper;  Black Saw-wing;  Secretarybird;  Streaky-headed Seedeater;  Cape Shoveler;  African Snipe;  Cape Sparrow;  Southern Grey-headed Sparrow;  African Spoonbill;  Cape Spurfowl;  Common Starling;  Pied Starling;  Red-winged Starling;  Black-winged Stilt; Little Stint;  African Stonechat;  Cape Sugarbird;  Malachite Sunbird;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Barn Swallow;  Greater Striped Swallow;  White-throated Swallow;  African Black Swift;  Alpine Swift;  Southern Tchagra;  Cape Teal;  Red-billed Teal;  Caspian Tern;  Common Tern;  Sandwich Tern;  Whiskered Tern;  Olive Thrush;  Ruddy Turnstone;  Cape Vulture;  Cape Wagtail;  Common Waxbill;  Cape Weaver;  Capped Wheatear;  Cardinal Woodpecker.

A Walk to the Vogelgat Waterfall

There were 11 enthusiastic Hurriers in Vogelgat with perfect hiking conditions to look for the Disa uniflora and to reach the waterfall for a swim.

The first Disa was found relatively early during the hike and the endorphins started to kick in and Hurriers made it to the pool with much excitement, and some brave faces with strong arms holding onto the rope, shifting on a wooden plank along the cliff face and using the thick rope to haul ourselves up the last cliff to the exciting pool and the beautiful high waterfall with its treasured Disa uniflora…. the coffee and swim were special treats.

Submitted by Jenny

Overberg Birding

A morning drive through parts of the Overberg revealed many interesting birds along the Hawston View road.  From there we traveled along the Van der Stel Pass and onwards across the Theewaterskloof Dam, before heading to Greyton.  Lunch in a cafe garden gave us the opportunity to see a pair of Olive Woodpeckers, the highlight of our trip.  Returning to Hermanus via the Hemel en Aarde valley did not add much, but we nevertheless managed to count 63 species for our morning’s work.

Drilling a Borehole

On Thursday I engaged a drilling contractor to put in a borehole as we have severe water restrictions and need more irrigation for our garden.  There was not really any choice as to where the hole should be sited, as the space available is very limited and the drilling rigs are very large.  Willie came round and suggested I move 6 inches to one side.  This I could accommodate and we started drilling.  As we reached around 45 metres the water started to show and by 60 metres it was strong.  We carried on to 79 metres so as to allow for a deep sump below the intended pumping depth.

What a mess it all made with mud and sand spraying all over the garden and house, but we hope it will all be worthwhile and are looking forward to getting the borehole equipped and having lots of lovely water to wash everything down with!  Initial estimates suggest that we might get around 4000l per hour – more than enough by far!

Birding on the Klein River

Our outing on the Klein river aboard the Lady Stanford was a great success.  We were blessed with cool weather and the local birds were in evidence along the whole route – so  much so that we ended up with a trip list of 64 species.  Peter was, as usual, a great and informative host and he made sure that we missed nothing!

Our overall list comprised;   Bokmakerie; Common Buzzard; Jackal Buzzard; Red-knobbed Coot; Reed Cormorant; White-breasted Cormorant; Cape Turtle Dove; Red-eyed Dove; Fork-tailed Drongo; African Black Duck; White-faced Whistling Duck; Yellow-billed Duck; African Fish Eagle; Little Egret; Western Cattle Egret; Common Fiscal; Greater Flamingo; African Paradise Flycatcher; Egyptian Goose; Spur-winged Goose; African Goshawk; Great Crested Grebe; Little Grebe; Sombre Greenbul; Helmeted Guineafowl; Hartlaub’s Gull; Kelp Gull; African Marsh Harrier; African Harrier-Hawk; Black-headed Heron; Grey Heron; Purple Heron; African Sacred Ibis; Glossy Ibis; Hadeda Ibis; Giant Kingisher; Malachite Kingfisher; Pied Kingfisher; Yellow-billed Kite; Blacksmith Lapwing; Brown-throated Martin; Comon Moorhen; Speckled Pigeon; White-necked Raven; Cape Shoveler; Cape Sparrow; Black Sparrowhawk; African Spoonbill; Cape Spurfowl; Common Starling; Black-winged Stilt; Malachite Sunbird; Barn Swallow; Greater Striped Swallow; African Swamphen; Alpine Swift; Cape Teal; Red-billed Teal; Cape Wagtail; Lesser Swamp Warbler; Little Rush Warbler; Cape Weaver; Cape White-Eye.

Amoeba revisited

When we arrived at the Visitor’s Centre at 07.30 last week we found one lone forlorn Hurrier in  an almost deserted parking area.  What had happened?  Why nobody?  The answer is READ THE NOTICE.  The starting time was 07.00.

Left to their own devices, the Tardy Three then did a recce of the Lollipop Route, but that is for a another day

This morning 13 Hurriers, three visitors and a dog reported for the walk at 07.00. After some discussion the party decided to repeat the AMOEBA walk of two weeks ago to see if we could spot some more Fire Lilies and other sprouting plants.   Unfortunately no Fire Lilies but we did see a soaring Black Eagle.

At the halfway stage two visitors, one member and a dog left the party leaving 13 to continue. Making a pitstop at the bench it was decided to vary the route slightly and, instead of going over the neck and taking the lower traverse back to the Visitor’s Centre, we went over Lemoenkop and returned via the middle traverse.  AMOEBA  2, a very pleasant walk.

New member Derek Botha had one of these fancy GARMIN watches so we could get the vital statics.  For what it is worth we walked for 5.71 km, the total altitude rise was 166m and the walk took us 2hrs 11m 37 seconds.


The Non-Cruise

Around 20 Hermanus Bird Club members boarded the Lady Stanford this morning for a cruise on the Klein river, but the strong prevailing south-easter did not allow us to leave our moorings.  The cruise has been postponed for a week, when, hopefully, the weather will be better.  We used the opportunity to look for a Southern Pochard, which had been spotted at Apel se Dam yesterday, but without any luck.  We did, however, see a nice pair of White-faced Whistling Ducks and some Giant Kingfishers.