A Morning in Walker Bay

Hermanus Bird Club

There can be few pleasures that top a morning spent birding out in Walker Bay.  Walter took four of us out this morning and we had a really wonderful trip in his fishing boat.  When we set out there wasn’t a bird in sight, and pretty heavy swells and quite a bit of chop were the order of the day.  We wondered if we were on a wild Albatross chase!

Then we stopped about 3,5 km offshore and drifted. Walter had some sardines which he threw about and it wasn’t long before a Brown Skua appeared.  Within a short time there were about four of them around the boat and we had excellent sightings.  Then a couple of White-chinned Petrels appeared – also enjoying the chum.  Later they were joined by a few Sooty Shearwaters , whilst the odd Kelp or Hartlaub’s Gull dropped by.  Terns, both Common and…

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Getting Away From Reality

Looking west

After elections and social unrest, it was a pleasure to be on the mountain once again this morning.  We were at peace with the world and it reflected our enjoyment of our surroundings by providing perfect weather for walking.  There were only seven of us present – those who stayed at home missed a fine outing.

We stopped near White Rock for a snack and were watched by a pair of Cape Rockjumpers, which no doubt wondered what we were doing on their mountain, but they did not trouble us!  A White-necked Raven flew by, but was not interested in coming too close.  For the rest, there were no birds at all and we wondered why.  I had hoped to see Hottentot Buttonquail, Sentinel Rock-Thrush and Ground Woodpecker, but there was no sign of any of them!  We will just have to keep on trying!

Our outing lasted only three hours, but we returned having stretched our legs and exercised our hearts and lungs.  It was a perfect morning!

Intaka Island

A quick visit to Intaka Island, whilst en route to Atlantic Beach, rewarded us with a few birds, but not the Little Bittern and Black-crowned Night-Heron that we were looking for. The pan section is dry, but the area around the hides remains full of water and birds, and it is a worthwhile place to spend an hour or two.

De Kelders Coastal Path

Our walk along the beautiful coastal path this morning attracted 16 Hurriers, who made the most of the perfect weather.  Our leader was Jenny and she had a hard time keeping the group together – in the end 13 walked to Gansbaai, three walked back from Gansbaai to meet us, 6 peeled off at Gansbaai and went home, and 10 walked back from Gansbaai to De Kelders and enjoyed a good meal at Coffee-on-the-Rocks!  Talk about a logistical nightmare – this had all the prerequisites!

The weather was superb – a real Autumn day with no wind and clear blue sky.  We could not have asked for anything better.  We are so privileged to live close to such wonderful amenities and be able to enjoy nature to the fullest!  Our walk was 8,6 km for the round trip, so we had some good exercise as well.

Dot’s Dash – April 2019

Eleven Hurriers turned out this morning to walk Dot’s Dash.  The weather was cool, with quite a cold wind blowing, and it was partially overcast, so good walking conditions.  Our climb on the initial section reminded us of our advancing years, with many stops to mend bellows.  Once up on Spooknek, however, we were relieved at the prospect of some downhill hiking.  This we did through the magnificent fields of Erica pillansii, which is once again back to its pre-fire splendour, along with good showings of Erica perspicua, whilst the entire walk was characterised by wonderful, colourful fynbos.

Kagga Kamma

A three night visit to Kagga Kamma, with Roy and Avril as our companions, proved to be most enjoyable.  The small privately owned reserve is situated in the Koue Bokkeveld, and was an ideal place to find some solitude amongst the wondrous rock formations that characterise the area.  It was so quiet that we often wondered whether we were the only living souls in the area.  Obviously everyone else there was enjoying the same and did not want to disturb the peace.

We went for a couple of hikes, one of 7 km and one at 10 km.  They provided a good opportunity to get close to nature and even see some of the antelope that roam the reserve.  Birds were pretty scarce and we struggled to see more than around 15 species in the reserve.  These did, however, include some of the Karoo birds which we do not see around Hermanus.

Our return journey took us down the long gravel highway that stretches between Calvinia and Ceres, and we passed a large number of intrepid hikers, who were walking the 270 km long Tankwa Camino.  We did not envy them at all!  They walk around 27 km per day with absolutely no shade along the entire route, and nothing but glaring, bright, semi desert plains all around.

Fernkloof on 3 April 2019

The walk on Wednesday can best be described in musical terms as “the Fractured Heart Symphony” AMOEBA

Eight Hurriers met at the Fernkloof Visitors Centre  for the advertised walk. It was a good day for walking; coolish with some light high clouds.  After wishing Gert a happy birthday, the Octet set of on the first movement, an Adagio, through Boekenhout forest and up the Adder Ladder.  Taking a break at the bench we enjoyed drinks and the goodies brought by Gert

In the notice of the walk Gert said that he would consider a Brexit if the party so desired and, unlike Mrs May, he would be happy to consider suggestions, hard or soft.  This was his mistake.  A sextet opted for a lighter version of the symphony and their next movement was a little Minuet to the top of  Kanonkop.  Here a duo including a departing  swallow decided that they had early arrangements to get down so they set of for  an Allegro down the face of Kanonkop back to the Visitors Center.  The remaining quartet took an intermission,  enjoyed their sandwiches and instant cappucinos and did a leisurely Allegro via Klipspringer to the VC, completing the left ventricle of the Fractured Heart.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch the orchestra leader and his 80 something protégé, set off in an Easterly direction on a somewhat lengthy Allegro along the Jeep Track, down the zig-zags and along the contour path towards Fernkloof.  At the end of the contour and before crossing the Mossel River they stopped off at a local hostelry at the top of Reservoir Road for some liquid refreshments and then did a quick Scherzo back to the VC completing the Right Ventricle of the Fractured Heart Symphony AMOEBA

From the sounds of it all enjoyed a lovely day in the mountains although with different tunes.


P.S. Photo’s by Jenny