Sixteen HBC members enjoyed a great three day outing to the Robertson area in early October, an ideal time of the year with the fresh green in the vineyards and fruit orchards and the birds chirping happily with the joys of spring. This also meant that most of the males were in their most colourful breeding plumage. We were based at Tierhoek Cottages on an organic fruit farm, surrounded by majestic mountains and with great views down the beautiful Tierhoek Valley. Our birding around the cottages and on the farm yielded some 35 or more species on the first day. Birding specials were the Verreaux’s Eagle, Jackal Buzzard and Pale Chanting Goshawk, White-backed Mousebird, and the sunbirds and more common flycatchers and Robin Chats.
On Day 2 we moved down to a privately owned wine and fruit farm on the banks of the Breede River. We enjoyed the privacy of…
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An enthusiastic group of 25 botanisers headed up the Hemel en Aarde Valley on Thursday 11 October instead of the usual Wednesday, to the stunning van Hoogstraten farm at Diepgat. This area burnt in December 2012.
Soon after we had parked cars we were exclaiming at the masses of Erica species around, Erica rubiginosa, E elimensis, E cruenta, E collina, E plukenetii, E coccinia and the white E viscaria longifolia. For the orchid fans we saw Satyrium humile, S bicorne, S coriifolium, Disa bracteata and Holothrix villosa.
There was a field of tall, bleached white Phaenocoma prolifera as far as the eye could determine. Special finds for some were Cyanella lutea, Diosma hirsuta and Gladiolus liliaceus. Hoogie can be justly proud of all the clearing he has done of masses of invading alien vegetation. What a reward.
The bird featured on today’s post is the Double-crested Cormorant, the photos I’m displaying at the bottom of this entry were shot during my recent trip to Florida. I was shooting pictures near a pond that is adjacent to a cattle ranch when I saw three of them perched up on a high pole top crosser. Later I saw two more swimming in the pond. They are interesting birds, excellent swimmers and divers too. They can hunt for fish in both salt water or fresh water.
The Double-crested Cormorant is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It occurs along inland waterways as well as in coastal areas, and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Florida and Mexico. Measuring 28–35 inches in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding…
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More birds from Florida…
Even when I was enjoying the soothing wonders of the beach, I couldn’t help myself to bring my cameras… Just in case!
In every location I went, I found birds of one species or another. The local birds are abundant despite the absence of the migratory birds.
News about Hurricane Michael in Georgia…
After the hurricane touched land in the State of Florida North-West with great destructive speed, also created powerful sea surges with devastating force. Then continued its way due North-East toward Georgia, where we are. Hurricanes usually lose wind speed when traveling over land, yet strong enough to cause tremendous damage to trees and buildings.
On Wednesday we had a gray and dark day, then in the evening rain started and the intensity increased by…
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May 28, 2018
Our rest days in Girona were at an end, and we were heading back to Barcelona for our first days in Spain. We were the only guests at Bells Oficis so we chatted with our host Xavi until about 10 am before heading to the train station.
At the ticket counter we waited in line to buy our tickets to Barcelona Sants station, and the agent said “Now?” Sure, we said, but much to our surprise our train was imminently arriving on Platform 1! We hurried up there so as not to miss it.
We were on the media distance train, the slower train which stopped at many stations, but that was fine because we weren’t in a hurry. Most of the stations were towns we’d never heard of, but as we got into the outskirts of Barcelona the announcement said “Next stop… Passeig de Gràcia”. That…
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