A Walk in Fernkloof

This morning was very cold but beautifully clear.  We walked in Fernkloof ahead of our bi-annual planning meeting which was held on the lawns near the hall.  It was invigorating especially when a cold breeze came up as we climbed Lemoenkop.

Prior to that we had had a wonderful sighting of Victorin’s Warbler.  Being able to find this bird and show it to Ed and Sally, for whom it was a lifer, gave me as much pleasure as seeing it for the first time myself would have done!  It really made the day for some of us.

FynArts in Hermanus

The fifth Annual FynArts Festival draws to a close in Hermanus and it has, as in previous years, been a huge success, thanks in no small part to the unstinting work of its organiser, Mary Faure.  Unless one attends, it is hard to imagine the sheer volume of art available in this small coastal town.  Already endowed with a considerable artistic talent of its own, the festival brings so much more at every level, especially musically.

There are concerts and recitals every day, workshops on every aspect of sketching, painting, sculpture, photography, birding, quilting, cooking, writing, wine, decorating, and many other topics.  The list and the opportunities are endless.  It is without a doubt the best place to be for the ten days of its duration.

 

Storms in Cape Town

We decided to spend a few days in Sea Point, never realising that we had picked the most violent period in terms of the weather.  When we arrived it was perfect and we enjoyed two long walks along the promenade on Monday and Tuesday. Then all hell broke loose on Wednesday with the biggest storm in living memory.  The sea was a magnificent, albeit dangerous, sight, with massive waves wrecking havoc along the previously placid coastline.  It was too wet to take proper pictures and one had to be there to get the full impact.  The newspapers and digital media have some wonderful images, but I will, nevertheless, add my few.

Strandfontein revisited

On Monday morning on our way to Cape Town we popped into the Strandfontein Sewage works to get a quick update on the local birds.  We saw nothing new, but nevertheless enjoyed the outing to one of my favourite birding spots.  The pictures below show a few birds that I managed to capture, the highlight being the Rufous-Chested Sparrowhawk, which we managed to get really close to.

 

2 Hours in Fernkloof

A quick 2 hour hike up Adder’s Ladder and down the front of Kanonkop gave 7 keen walkers a chance to stretch their legs and enjoy the never diminishing beauty of our natural surroundings.  Winter approaches, but one is left wondering if it will ever rain again, and the mountain is very dry.

There was little sign of any birdlife with only Cape Robin, Cape White Eye, Cape Sugarbird, Neddicky, African Olive Pigeon and a distant Victorin’s Warbler noted.

A Mountain near McGregor

Today Renee and I went to the little Karoo near McGregor in search of a Protea Canary. We did not find one, but in our efforts we found a wonderful road up to the communications tower on Galgberg.  The road climbs from McGregor at an altitude of 240 mamsl through farmland and eventually onto a tarred service road to the tower.  It is a narrow and steep road that winds up to a final height of 1400 mamsl! The views are spectacular and the vegetation is beautiful fynbos.  We saw a couple of klipspringers and very few birds, but it was well worth the drive.  Luckily we did not meet any other traffic on the road.

We had lunch, an excellent meal, at the lovely Cafe Temenos, complete with peacocks and a small art gallery, on the main road in McGregor.

Birding at Strandfontein

Renee and I visited Strandfontein this morning hoping to see the African Crake and Knob-billed Duck that have recently been reported there.  We were not disappointed as we managed to see both of them.  Luckily we ran into Trevor Hardaker and he put us on the right track.  The Crake was especially rewarding as it walked right up to us and seemed quite unafraid.

In addition to these two birds we saw another 53 species, so the visit was certainly worthwhile.  Light drizzle accompanied us as we arrived there, but it soon dissipated and we had good, clear, if cold, weather.