June 2015 Newsletter
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CAPE BIRD CLUB NEWSLETTER                                 June 2015



Leaders: Merle Chalton ☎ 021 686 8951 or email

Meet at Rondevlei at 08h00 s
These regular monthly outings are for all Rondevlei enthusiasts.
Beginners are especially welcome. 

Directions to RONDEVLEI: Travel down the M5 (Prince George Drive) towards Grassy Park and look out for Nando’s at the 5th Avenue traffic light. Turn left here into 5th Avenue and at the first set of traffic lights turn right into Perth Road and continue to Rondevlei at the end of the road.
There is a small entrance fee for those without season tickets.
The outing usually lasts until about 10.30 but you are welcome to stay as long as you like.

The Cape Bird Club’s International Birding Adventure to Sri Lanka 2015
Speakers: Vernon Head & Mel Tripp
Meet at 20h00. The Cape Bird Club recently organised a tour to Sri Lanka, which has one of the highest rates of endemism in the world in both plants and animals, and is ranked among the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots. With over 400 bird species, of which 20 are endemic and another 80 have developed distinct Sri Lankan races, the island is a birders’ paradise. Vernon and Mel will share with us their experiences of this exciting tour.

This meeting will be preceded by a Special General Meeting to discuss the changes to the CBC Constitution.
We would like to keep this part of the meeting as short as possible, so if you have any concerns please contact Julian Hare on before Thursday.

We meet at the Nassau Centre, Groote Schuur High School, Palmyra Road, Newlands.
Tea and biscuits are served after the meeting at a cost of R5.00.
Visitors are welcome - there is a charge of R15.00 for visitors and non-members.

Thurs 18 WEEKDAY OUTING: Kenilworth Racecourse
Leader: Dave Whitelaw ☎ 082 646 1024  or email

Meet at 09h00. This 52 hectare conservation area lies in the centre of the Kenilworth Racecourse and is the largest conservation area within an urban setting remaining in Cape Town's southern suburbs. The site supports a healthy bird community of at least 80 species that take up residence or frequent the reserve. One such bird is the rare Peregrine Falcon.

Directions: The racecourse entrance in Rosmead Avenue in Kenilworth will be familiar to most southern suburbs members. From the northern side of Rondebosch Common head south on Milner Road. This road becomes Belvedere Road at the Avenue de Mist intersection, and it becomes Rosmead Avenue at the Chichester intersection. Look out for the entrance to the Pick ‘n Pay office park on your left. Turn left into the office park entrance at the traffic lights. The racecourse main entrance is a short distance further on, to the right. From other areas you can travel on the M5 freeway and turn off at Exit 15 and head towards the mountain. This is Doncaster Road. Bear left at the first traffic light and continue down Doncaster Road. (Do NOT go straight ahead on Chichester Road.) At the intersection with Rosmead Avenue turn left and continue to the Pick n Pay office park entrance where you turn left. The racecourse entrance is a short distance further on, to the right.

Sun 21 OUTING: Birding in the Swartland
Leader: Brian Vanderwalt ☎ 082 999 9333 or email

Meet at 08h30. The exact route has yet to be decided but we know Brian’s outings are always very well planned, so this is sure to be an interesting and rewarding day. Blue Cranes are guaranteed, of course!

Directions: Travelling from Cape Town on the N1 turn off at Exit 23 (toward Willie Van Schoor Avenue and Durban Road). Turn left into Willie Van Schoor Avenue and continue to where it intersects with Bill Bezuidenhout Avenue. Turn left into Bill Bezuidenhout Avenue and then right to enter the Tygervalley Shopping Centre. We meet at the southern entrance to Woolworths (on the Bellville side). To reduce the number of cars we will try to arrange shared transport from here.


Sunday 7 June: Kirstenbosch BIRP Count. 
Meet at 08h00
Leader: John Magner (082 881 3845)

Thursday 11 June: Wildevoelvlei Count
Meet at 08h30
Leader: Eric Barnes (021 782 5429)

Saturday 13 June: Zandvlei Hack
Meet at 14h00
Leader: Gavin Lawson (021 705 5224)

Sunday 14 June:  Strandfontein Count 

Meet at 08h30
Leader: Dick Barnes (021 689 1106)
(Please note later winter starting time)

Thursday 18 June: Athlone WWTW Count
Meet at 13h00
Leader: Dick Bos (021 423 2546)
These counts will take place weather permitting

Saturday 27 June: Paarl Bird Sanctuary CWAC
Meet at 09h00
Leader: Yvonne Weiss (021 872 4972)


Tuesday 9 June

These bird walks led by members of the Cape and Tygerberg Bird Clubs have been so popular over the past 2 years that it has been decided to continue them into 2015.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Kirstenbosch birds is welcome to join the walks.
The walks are free of charge but the entrance fee for Kirstenbosch is payable if you do not have a BotSoc Card.
This month the walk will take place on Tuesday 9 June
Meet at 09h00 at the Information Desk at Gate One.

Leader: Brian Vanderwalt
Please contact Linda Hibbin on 021 788 1528, or e-mail if you have any questions



Costa Rica is widely regarded as one of the premier birding destinations on the planet.
South Africa is 23 times the size of Costa Rica and yet by contrast Costa Rica boasts over 900 bird species!
Costa Rica is a world leader in conservation and 25% of its land area is protected. It is also a leader in ecotourism with many excellent and comfortable lodges with great bird watching/nature in the grounds.
To cap it all, the trip will be led by Sam Woods of Tropical Birding and he will be assisted by Jose Illanes.
Sam led the Ecuador and Sri Lanka adventures and given our very positive experiences with Sam (and Jose in Ecuador), we are delighted to secure their services again. 
The trip is planned for 1 to 13 March 2016 and will cost $3400 per person sharing with a single supplement of $430. This excludes flights and we are exploring the best (and most economical) way to get there.
As Costa Rica is a very popular destination we will need to confirm the final group size by our participation by 6 June to allow Tropical Birding to make reservations.
A 30% deposit will be payable by 15 June.

Please contact Johan Schlebusch before 6 June on email or phone  0828049025 if you are interested or need more information.


by Joan Ackroyd

Eight Cape Bird Club members enjoyed a cool windless day at Intaka Island at Century City - perfect for birding.
The leaders for the outing were 2 Intaka staff members, Angelo and Malcolm.
Before the start of the outing Angelo gave a talk about the history of Intaka as well as the educational programmes that are run.
37 species were seen including Malachite and Giant Kingfishers, Black-shouldered Kite and Brown-throated Martin.

The leaders were extremely well-informed with a good sense of humour, and a good time was had by all!

Parking time during the week is limited, so if you intend to spend a few hours birding you can obtain a ticket from the office which allows unlimited parking.


by Priscilla Beeton

GERALD Wingate led the outing of 17 May to the Tygerberg Nature Reserve.
There were twenty one participants who enjoyed a beautiful autumnal morning as we wandered around the Reserve. Gerald started off by telling us a little about the Reserve and alerting us to some of the species we were likely to see. He explained that the reserve has on the western slopes almost pristine Swartland shale renosterveld and on the eastern slopes old ploughed fields that are being restored.  
First we went steeply downhill towards the dam until the path became too slippery.  We turned around then and moved up the hill towards the masts.  The wide panoramic view from the top of the hill was stunning.  This truly is a wonderful place to take visitors to show them the layout of Cape Town!  
Gerald shared  some history with us about the cannon that was one of a chain of cannons placed on high lying areas in the time of the early Cape Colony to call burghers to arms in defense of the colony.  We also watched a couple of planes landing at the airport – we could see the puff of smoke as their wheels hit the tarmac.  
Forty one species were recorded in the renosterveld, including Karoo Scrub Robin, Grey-backed Cisticola, Bar-Throated Apalis, Long-billed Crombec and Layard's Titbabbler.  All three species of mousebird were also seen, while Rock Kestrel and Jackal Buzzard represented the raptors.  
We finished off with tea in the Kristo Pienaar building where the Tygerberg Bird Club meets after looking at their very fine bird exhibit in the foyer.

The photos below were submitted by Priscilla Beeton

Counts - Athlone Waste Water Treatment Works - 21 May 2015.

A working partnership of the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club.

The day was cloudy and cool but dry and there was no wind, in short, good conditions for bird counting. A group of eight gathered for this one and it was going to be another interesting survey with two more new species. Often observers have wondered why there were no terns seen at this site; well, today there was a first for a Swift Tern to be put on record. And number 78 on the all-times Athlone list is the Spotted Thick-knee, three of them to be exact. 
Contrary to the usual top position, Hartlaub's Gull made number 2 on the number-of-birds- for-today-list with a count of 245, second to the 311 Yellow-billed Ducks. Other species with 3-digits numbers are Blacksmith Lapwing (178) and Common Starling (171). A total of 50 species are on this list today!
Other noteworthy sightings? Three species of herons: Black-headed, Grey and Purple as well as 2 Black-crowned Night-Herons. Also three species of egrets: Cattle, Little and Yellow-billed. No Falcons this time, but the Jackal Buzzard was there again as were 3 Black-shouldered Kites. Last month's Barn Swallows were not seen, so maybe they have finally travelled north. 
All in all 50 species were reported for MyBirdPatch and 1256 birds from 29 species for CWAC. 
Many thanks to Jessie Blackshaw, Delene van Dyke, Gillian Ford, Fay Linder, Derek Longrigg, Sybil Majo and Peter Sumner for participating in this count. Many thanks also to Mr Fred Cupido, Manager of Athlone Sewage Works, for permission to conduct bird surveys and to Mr Enver Manual for his support during the count. 
Counts at Athlone take place every third Thursday of every month and start at 13h00, weather permitting of course. Anyone wanting to join please contact me via email: or (when bounced) You could also phone me at 021 423 2546. 
Dick Bos


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