Evening Cruise on the Lady Stanford

Hermanus Bird Club

Upon checking the forecast I was worried that last evening’s cruise on the Lady Stanford was going to be a wind blown disaster. The members on the trip all arrived early and boarding was done very efficiently.  We had people requiring assistance and Peter Hochfelden – the Captain and ex Chair of the Stanford Bird Club – moved the boat to allow easy access. His helper, a very strong young man, physically carried one of our members on to the boat- he was amazing. Peter is an excellent birder and was very keen to spot and identify.

We set off on our cruise in the most ideal conditions – no wind – just utterly beautiful!

Everyone had a cruise on the river to be remembered. The Lady goes much further down the river than we have gone before and birding was brilliant. When we turned around we were close to…

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The Challenge is getting Challenging!

Hermanus Bird Club

One might think that, in one’s third month into our Annual Challenge, there would still be plenty of species to record, but this is not proving to be an easy task.  Today is the 28th January and I have so far only added 4 birds to my list.  I wonder whether I will get any in February!!  Out in the Overberg around Caledon there were plenty of Blue Cranes, many common raptors and hundreds of geese – Egyptian and Spur-winged.  We saw 54 species, but in the end I was even photographing sheep in my frustration!


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Fynbos Fires and their Consequences for Birds

Hermanus Bird Club

Positive benefits of fynbos fires are short-term food opportunities for some species

Raptors are often attracted to fire and its charred results, moving in from adjacent habitats. This is particularly evident where predatory birds may flush out injured birds and animals or find other carrion. Jackal Buzzards, Steppe Buzzards and Spotted Eagle Owls are known to visit burnt areas immediately after smoke dissipates. After a relatively short time they move on.

Other species which may take advantage of the aftermath of fynbos fires

The Fork Tailed Drongo, Fiscal Flycatcher, Fiscal Shrike and Cape Grassbird are known to take up the debris of insects, arthropods and the seeds of various plants such as P. falcifolia and L. eucalyptifolium which are exposed about 2 weeks post fire.

Genetic Diversity 

Nectivores such as the Cape Sugarbird, Orange Breasted Sunbird and Cape Bulbul will immediately move away to neighbouring areas, however, this may be…

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When Can We Claim Deciduous Work As Our Own?

michael hagedorn

‘Whose work is it?’ is a question often asked by those who go to bonsai shows. Both conifer and deciduous bonsai will have answers to that question, but how that computation is made differs significantly.

It is maybe easiest to understand how deciduous work is different by contrasting it with that of conifers. In most of our conifer bonsai work, the last person who adjusts the branches may claim the title of ‘the work’. In other words, if someone wires a conifer, and then someone else adjusts and places the branches and does the detailing, it’s the adjuster who can claim the work, not the wirer. This doesn’t happen often. It did happen a few times in Japan when we had a photo shoot to wrap up fast in the evening, and apprentices helped wire, but then Mr. Suzuki would set the branches. This is sort of a hypothetical as it…

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Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

A reader assured me that the warblers are not warblers because warblers have migrated south. But after a lot of staring at pictures, these ARE warblers. Also, they do not migrate. They used to migrate which is why I first was baffled as to why I was seeing warblers in the winter. As far as I knew, they should all have gone south by now.

It turns out that many birds have stopped migrating. One of the many reasons they have stopped migrating is because people like me feed them through the winter. Feeders allow them to stay put, so they don’t bother to migrate. And the weather is changing.


Why are these warblers? Probably Pine Warblers that permanently live along the coast including where we live. Further inland, some of them migrate, but many do not. The dark head, the sharp double white bar on the wings.


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