Dr Di Marais wins Mayoral Award for Environmental Conservation

HERBS

The Hermanus Botanical Society heartily congratulates Chairman Dr Di Marais on winning the 2018 Mayoral Award for Environmental Conservation. The awards ceremony took place on 4th October.

Di’s award is richly deserved. She has worked tirelessly to promote the priceless botanical assets of the Hermanus area, vigorously defending the Society’s constitutional mandate to promote the integrity of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

She has chaired the Hermanus Botanical Society for four years. The international scientific community has benefitted by her facilitation of the digital recording of the entire plant species of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

Her enthusiasm motivates a growing team of volunteers to increase and disseminate their knowledge of the Cape Floral Kingdom within the local community.

Under her editorship, Society members wrote and published the acclaimed guidebook “Fernkloof Nature Reserve”.

Her latest project, the new Research Centre at Fernkloof, will be officially opened in December. It will serve as…

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Common nighthawk flocks form part of fall migration spectacle

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Nighthawk Photo by Jean Potter • A common nighthawk rests on a metal railing.

With September advancing on the calendar, I have been keeping an eye on the skies. For the most part, I focus on the upper branches of trees and feeders during the migration season, but I don’t forget the need to look skyward from time to time.

The reason? Well, that’s the best way to detect soaring raptors or flocks of migrating common nighthawks. The autumn sky is also a popular flyway for other birds, including chimney swifts and swallows.

So, what is a common nighthawk? First, this bird, despite what is implied by its name, is not a hawk. It’s also not strictly nocturnal. Particularly in the fall, nighthawks are active during daylight hours when engaged in catching winged insects. Outside of fall migration, these birds can often be observed over large parking lots or well-lit streets…

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Mother Nature’s whims can produce major impacts on birds

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Sooty_tern_flying Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Duncan Wright The sooty tern, pictured, nests mainly in Hawaii, but some also nest on the islands of the Dry Tortugas, west of the Florida Keys. In 2004, Hurricane Frances blew one of these tropical birds to Holston Lake in Bristol. Severe storms also present devastating obstacles for other birds.

With Hurricane Florence dominating the headlines in recent weeks, it’s only natural to speculate on whether such storms can impact birds in a negative way.

According to a 2011 blog post made on the National Wildlife Federation website, hurricanes can be bad news for some birds. Naturally enough, sea birds and waterfowl are most exposed to the forces of a hurricane. Some birds will move inland to avoid the incoming storm. The birds that inhabit our yards and gardens will ride out the storm using special adaptations. Songbirds will automatically tighten their toes around…

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