The recent wildfires in the Overstrand threatened to disrupt the Hurriers walking programme and Ronnie’s Palmietrivier walk had to be changed. Fortunately most of Fernkloof and the other Hermanus mountains escaped the fires and the Hurriers have risen like a Phoenix from the ashes (so to speak). We have enjoyed two walks in the burn to marvel at the Fire Lilies and other signs of regrowth, Ronnie’s re-routed walk along level on the Contour Path and, last week, the intrepid 11 found themselves Up the Creek and scaling mossy cliffs in Vogelgat.
It was a cool but humid misty morning when 10 Hurriers and Bob from Tipperary (a long way away) met at the Visitors’ Centre. Dave suggested we leave the straight and narrow and ascend the heights of Kanonkop via Klipspringer returning via Adder Ladder. It was a great walk with glimpses of the sea and the valleys through…
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On Monday last week we drove to Cedar Farm where we met Richard and Jeanette. It is a quaint farmhouse up a valley in the Baviaanskloof and we spent two nights there, giving ample time to explore the surrounding area. Walks up the kloof revealed amazing rock formations, but our path was eventually blocked by a pool which required swimming to traverse, so we went no further.
Looking west into the Baviaanskloof
The actual drive out of the Baviaanskloof on our third day was quite an experience with very rough road conditions and some deep water traverses where streams had to be forded. Luckily we had appropriate vehicles and this made for relatively comfortable, albeit very bumpy conditions. We emerged from the mountains on Wednesday evening and made our way to our overnight stop near Van Stadens river, prior to setting off for Cradock on Thursday. Our hosts appeared confused…
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After leaving Van Staden’s, we set off for Cradock and the adjacent Mountain Zebra National Park, where we spent four very comfortable nights in one of the new Rock Chalets. The park is set in Karoo mountains with extensive surrounding plains which abound with Mountain Zebra, Springbok, Black Wildebeest and many other species. We were concentrating on birding as 1 March was the starting day for our Big Birding Year Southern African Challenge.
On our first morning we went on a three hour walk in the park commencing at first light. Imagine our surprise, on rounding a bend in the path, to find a pair of Buffalo bulls glowering at us! We quickly made a detour around them and set off up a mountain. It was a stiff walk, but did not produce much more in the way of animal confrontations, but we really enjoyed every minute of it and…
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We spent Tuesday morning birding at Strandfontein, after a quick foray into Rondevlei. The latter is being drained and undergoing some upgrades, so there were not that many species around, although we did see many Avocets.
At Strandfontein there were the usual large flocks of birds, especially Sacred Ibises, as well as many gulls, one flock of Greater Flamingos, many Pelicans and a plethora of various ducks, but very few small waders. It was nevertheless, an enjoyable outing!
In order to maximise our opportunities on MBBD, new starting and ending times are now 6:30 am and 6:30 pm. This means that teams need only be back at Fernkloof by 6:30 pm in order to qualify, at which time each team will be asked to name its best bird and best experience of the day. Please remember to submit your team name and members to me (Ronnie Hazell – email@example.com ) by Saturday 6 April. So far I have;
“Chaetops frenatus” (Ronnie and Renee Hazell, Barbara Swart and Margie Ogston)
Please remember the Mini Birding Big Day (MBBD) scheduled for Saturday 13 April, when teams of up to four members are invited to participate and see how many birds they can identify in a 12 hour period – from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, in the area of their choice. It will be followed by a ‘bring-your-own-picnic’ at Fernkloof. Participants will be required to bring everything, including chairs and tables to celebrate the success of their day and compare notes with the other teams. Please send me your team – participants and team name, asap. Let’s have a good turn-out for a fun-filled day!
Ronnie Hazell firstname.lastname@example.org
F/8.0, 1/250, ISO 320.
Great Blue Heron
Why did the policeman smell bad?
He was on duty.
Interesting Fact: Great Blue Herons nest mainly in trees, but will also nest on the ground, on bushes, in mangroves, and on structures such as duck blinds, channel markers, or artificial nest platforms. Males arrive at the colony and settle on nest sites; from there, they court passing females. Colonies can consist of 500 or more individual nests, with multiple nests per tree built 100 or more feet off the ground. ( https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Blue_Heron/lifehistory )