Outing to Gifberg in November

Hermanus Bird Club

IMG_0642 At Gifberg Farm

A trip has been arranged to Gifberg, near Vanrhynsdorp by John  Saunders who will lead the outing.

12 – 15 November 2018

We will stay at Gifberg Holiday Farm.

Previous visits have proved that this is a very popular venue. Surrounded by mountains just over the Gifberg pass, this is a beautiful setting and we should have some excellent birding.

The accommodation that has been reserved consists of two four bedroom cottages (two bathrooms in each cottage) plus one two bedroom cottage (one bathroom)

The planned itinerary is as follows:-

Day 1 – Monday, 12th November.

We travel up the N7 towards Vanrhynsdorp (approx 4 hours drive) and then 3 km before you reach Vanrhynsdorp turn right following the Gifberg Farm signs (a further 30 – 45 minutes drive)

Meet at 15.30 and do the Pot Hole 2 km walk, with a few ups and downs.

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Bills, Bills, Bills

Hermanus Bird Club

Marabou Stork

Pat Redford, who will be running our stand (theme – Bird’s Bills) at the Flower Festival in September, writes,

“Please could you nag the members for some good photos of BILLS, BILLS,  BILLS.

I have made a list based on the remarkable differences between the various species and their bills, and also that they are mostly local with a few up country ones too.

Am hoping for as many close up clear pics of the BILLs as I can find. I have quite a few from previous shows , however the list below is my dream bill list!

Kingfisher ( Giant or Malachite or Pied);    Saddle Billed Stork;   Spoonbill ;  African Black Oystercatcher;   Stilt;   Avocet;   Verreaux’s Eagle;   Greater Flamingo;   African Penguin;   Common Waxbill;   African Hoopoe;   Eagles/Raptors.

The photos need to be quite good quality in order to reproduce in print, but am happy to receive whatever anyone may have…

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Walk at Grootbos on 5 July

Hermanus Bird Club

IMG_1897 In the Grootbos forest

Our next week’s walk will be at Grootbos which is a stunning place.  We will meet at Fernkloof at 07.30 to be at Grootbos at about 08.00 and will be led by John Saunders, and Mike Fabricius, from Grootbos, will be our host at the venue.

The walk is approximately a two hours and is for members only please.

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Majesty of bald eagle suitable for America’s official bird

Our Fine Feathered Friends

american bald eagle Photo by David Dibert on Pexels.com A bald eagle comes in for a landing.

Here’s an early “Happy Fourth of July” to all my American readers. I thought this week’s post should focus some attention on our national bird, the American bald eagle, which officially became the national emblem in 1782 when the great seal of the United States was adopted.

Despite elevating this native bird to such lofty status, we have not always been kind to the bald eagle. We allowed habitat destruction and toxic pesticides to bring this eagle to the brink of extinction. With some protection, however, the bald eagle rebounded. In fact, the Department of Interior took the eagle off the endangered species list on June 28, 2007.

bald eagle over the body of water Photo by Wayne Christensen on Pexels.com A bald eagle scoops a fish from the water with its talons.

The bald eagle has been more frequently observed by birders…

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Eggs showcase a genuine miracle each time a bird hatches

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Photo by Bryan Stevens
Some birds lay clutches with many eggs while others, like this flamingo, invest their energy and dedication to a single egg each time they nest. This Chilean flamingo at Zoo Atlanta is a relative of the American flamingo.

bird-nest-eggs-blue-158734.jpeg Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com A pair of eggs in the traditional cup-shaped nest built by many songbirds.

The nesting season is in full swing for most of the bird species that breed in eastern North America. Although they may employ a variety of strategies to ensure nesting success, they all start off their attempts with a clutch of eggs.

It’s the egg that separates birds from most mammals while still linking them to their reptilian kin. Let’s leave the question of which came first, the prototypical chicken or the proverbial egg, to philosophers and instead take a look at the differences birds employ when it comes to…

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Meet Bob Blankfield

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

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Japanesse maple trained by Bob Blankfield from a small bare root stump grown in one of my beds a few years ago. Ok, more than a few years, something like two decades. Come to the US National Bonsai Exhibition in September to see this beautiful bonsai in person.

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No, its not a tombstone this stone in Bob’s garden commemorates his bonsai hobby. His long time nickname is basinji, which is also a breed of dog from Africa.

Yesterday after a bonsai auction we stopped by Robert Blankfield’s home to see his bonsai collection and garden. Bob is a bonsai hobbyist and has been studying bonsai with me for about 25-30 years and had a huge bonsai collection. Although Bob is a bonsai hobbyist, many of his bonsai equal and exceed the quality of those of professional bonsai artists in the United States. He does not sell his bonsai, but rather…

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