Virginia woman hosting wintering ruby-throated hummingbird

Our Fine Feathered Friends

female-Hummer Photo by Mariedy/ • The ruby-throated hummingbird is the expected hummingbird in the eastern United States spring through fall. These birds are rare winter visitors, however, which makes the one living in a yard in Fall Church, Virginia.

I have been corresponding by email with Ellen Haberlein since around Thanksgiving of last year about a hummingbird that is wintering at her home in Fall Church, Virginia, which is located only a few miles from Washington, D.C.

The hummingbird’s presence has brightened the winter season for the Haberlein family since it showed up in late October of 2018.

Through the years, I have seen several of these seemingly out-of-place hummingbirds. Some of them remain at their host’s feeders for a brief stay of a few days or a couple of weeks, but some of these hummingbirds have extended their stay for several months, lingering throughout the winter months before eventually departing…

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Great Backyard Bird Count helps gather data on feathered friends

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Evening_Grosbeak_Ted_Schroeder_OR09 Photo by Ted Schroeder/Great Backyard Bird Count Evening grosbeaks may be more common on this year’s GBBC, according to early reports on the movements of these large, colorful finches.

Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia, plans some bird walks on Saturday, Feb. 16, to coincide with the Great Backyard Bird Count.

The 22nd annual GBBC is taking place February 15-18 in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches—anywhere you find birds. The GBBC is a free, fun and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning…

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Brief stay of Virginia’s warbler along Kingsport’s Holston River leaves birders amazed

Our Fine Feathered Friends

At times, there’s nothing left to do but scratch your head and wonder. It’s a gesture many birders have been making around the Holston River in Kingsport as walks in the area along Netherland Inn Drive on the greenbelt have produced numerous warbler sightings in recent weeks.

Virginia'sWarbler-TWO Photo by Sherrie Quillen • The Virginia’s warbler found in January in Kingsport represented the first Tennessee record for the species and one of only a few records east of the Mississippi River.

The list includes expected winter warblers such as orange-crowned, pine, and yellow-rumped, as well as such off-season puzzlers as American redstart, common yellowthroat, Northern parula, Cape May warbler and Nashville warbler; these warblers really should be wintering far to the south in locations around the Caribbean and in Central America. So far this winter, sharp-eyed birders have seen at least 12 different warbler species on the Riverfront Greenbelt. None of…

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New Committee

Hermanus Bird Club


Following the AGM held on Wednesday evening, HBC is pleased to announce the new committee for 2019. The members are:

Chairman; John Saunders, Deputy Chairman and Blog; Ronnie Hazell, Treasurer; Keith Brooke-Sumner, Secretary; Monika von Oppell, Projects; Guy Redford, Social Co-ordinator: Sue Franck, and Walks and Talks: Lester van Groeningen.

We say farewell to departing Committee Members, Craig Holmes, Mike Bryan, Daphne Hutton and Shelagh Peterson, and thank them for all the hard work they have put into keeping the club running smoothly during their tenure in office.

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Mass rescue of Lesser Flamingo chicks anticipated!

Hermanus Bird Club

Birdlife SA and Ekapa Mining have released the following statement: 

1. It is the unfortunate responsibility of BirdLife South Africa and Ekapa Mining, following their intensive work at Kamfers Dam during the past month, to announce that a mass rescue of over 5000 Lesser Flamingo chicks will very likely be necessary in the next two weeks.
2. Despite a recent increased in the flow of sewage effluent into Kamfers Dam, the water level of the dam is dropping rapidly and it is highly probable that the dam will dry up completely in the next two weeks.
3. Further compounding this problem, BirdLife South Africa has been monitoring the productivity of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in the dam using remote sensing methods and in consultation with specialists. We predict that a rapid drop in the density of algae in the dam is imminent – possibly within a week if there is no rain…

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The Next Challenge

Hermanus Bird Club


As our 2018/2019 Challenge draws to a close, we are already thinking about a new and bigger event, one that will fire the imagination of more members and attract a greater following.  Ronnie has suggested a Southern Africa Challenge, taking place over 12 months.  This is equivalent to a Big Birding Year, and has the advantage that it will keep us stimulated for 12 months, whilst offering the opportunity to add birds no matter where one is in the sub-region.  I put this out for comment, in the hope that we will get a lot of interest and will be able to go ahead asap.  Let’s hear from you by way of comments on this posting!

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Challenge 2019/2020

Hermanus Bird Club


We are on!  There has been a very positive response to the Challenge suggestion.  Thank you all!  This means that we will commence collecting species as from 1 March.  There will, as usual, be an entry fee and we will have to collect the names, do the admin, etc., but start assembling your lists in the meantime.  Remember, our area is the Southern African Region, which includes Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, RSA, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique south of the Zambezi river.

It is going to be a big year!!   Good Luck!!  Somebody is going to get around 500 birds, I am sure!

Here is the list   Challenge list.

Just insert a 1 in the column “My List” for each bird seen.

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Shore Pine Rock Planting 1

Bonsai Eejit

I run a study group once a month for some friends who want to learn more. This has become two separate groups, one on a Friday evening, one on the Saturday morning.

This Weekend we were putting together some trees with rock.

First up was this shore Pine which had some initial work done by Peter Warren in 2017 and was recently rewired by myself.

The tree in September 2017 as raw material.


prior to wiring 2019. after wiring.

The rock collected by a friend over 20 years ago at Blessington lake Dublin

The work. The original plan had to be changed after the heavy roots on the tree wouldn’t let us place the tree on the highest portion of the rock. We looked at other planting options and liked the drama of the option selected.

If you are reading this and are within travelling distance of Newtownards near…

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