July 2015 Newsletter
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CAPE BIRD CLUB NEWSLETTER                                 July 2015



Leader: Merle Chalton ☎ 021 686 8951 or email
Meet at Rondevlei at 08h00 
These regular monthly outings are for all Rondevlei enthusiasts.
Beginners are especially welcome. 
There is lots of water in Rondevlei, thanks to the rain we have had, so there should be plenty to see!

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.

Birding North of our Borders
Speakers: Dr. Harold Bloch
Meet at 20h00. Over the past 40 years Harold Bloch and his wife have travelled and camped a great deal in Africa. Harold is a keen photographer, birds being among his favourite subjects.
However, everything in nature interests him and this is incorporated into his presentation.
This evening he will share with us some of his experiences in Africa north of our borders but south of the equator.

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.

Sun 19 OUTING: Rooi Els and Harold Porter National Botanical Garden
Leader: John Magner ☎ 082-881-3845 or email
Meet at 08h00. We will take a short walk at Rooi Els where we will hopefully find Cape Rockjumpers.
Following this we will visit Harold Porter Botanical Gardens.
The gardens and surrounding mountain-side are some of the best areas to find Victorin’s Warbler, while Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, and Cape Siskin are also resident.
An entrance fee is payable unless you are a Botanical Society member.
Bring water and a snack.
Directions: From Cape Town, take the N2 through Somerset West.
On the ascent towards Sir Lowry’s Pass, turn right onto the R44 (Sir Lowry’s Pass Road) towards Gordon’s Bay. Continue straight on to the T-junction in Gordon’s Bay where you turn left, then swing right and continue on the R44 following the coastline. Cross the bridge at the start of Rooi Els village and take the first turn to the right (Anemone Street). Park at the small shopping centre close to the turnoff where we will consolidate the group into a smaller number of vehicles and continue to the 2nd turnoff (Porter Drive).
We take this road/track to the end and park at the closed gate (parking limited).

Wed 22 July WEEKDAY OUTING ― Macassar Wastewater Treatment Works
Leader:  Simon Fogarty ☎ 021 701 6303 / 082 348 2465     or email
Meet at 09h15. The Macassar Wastewater Treatment Works is situated at the estuary of the Eerste River and a large selection of bush, freshwater, and coastal birds may be seen, including possibly several raptor species.
Directions: Take the N2 towards Somerset West and turn off at Exit 38 ( Macassar Road).
This is the first off-ramp after the Engen One Stop.
Turn right, through the traffic lights and after 500m look for a sewage pump station on the left. Just beyond this, turn left and wait at the security boom just before the bridge over the river.
If travelling from Muizenberg on Baden Powell Drive, take the Macassar turnoff to the right, just after the small sewage works. After about 5 km, look for the pump station and turn right and wait at the boom.
If you arrive early at the venue please do not wander around but stay in your car until the other members of the group arrive.  
For security reasons we hope to arrange to park inside the works area.


Sunday 5 July: Kirstenbosch BIRP Count. 
Meet at 08h00
Leader: John Magner (082 881 3845)

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

Saturday 11 July: Zandvlei Hack
Meet at 14h00
Leader: Gavin Lawson (021 705 5224)

Sunday 12 July:  Strandfontein Count 

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

Thursday 16 July: Athlone WWTW Count
Meet at 13h00
Leader: Dick Bos (021 423 2546)
These counts will take place weather permitting

Friday 17 July
Rietvlei Quarterly CWAC Count
Meet at 09h00 
Leader: Koos Retief (021 444 0315 (w)

Saturday18 July: Zandvlei Quarterly CWAC Count
Meet at 08h00

Leader: Gavin Lawson (021 705 5224)

Saturday 25 July: Paarl Bird Sanctuary CWAC
Meet at 09h00
Leader: Yvonne Weiss (021 872 4972)

Saturday 25 July - all day CAR count

The dates for the Radyn Dam (Malmesbury) and Wellington CWAC Counts have not yet been decided, but anyone interested in assisting can contact Otto Schmidt (Radyn Dam) at 021 674 2381 or John Fincham (Wellington) at 021 919 4069.


Thursday 16 July

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 Thursday 16 July
Meet at 09h00 at the Information Desk at Gate One.

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


The annual Oceans of Life photographic competition opened on 3 June, and entries are open until 15 August.
The winning photographer will receive a berth in a share-cabin on board the 12-day ‘Spirit of Antarctica’ expedition sponsored by Aurora Expeditions!

To find out more about the competition and how to enter go to

Follow the action on Twitter (@seabird_sos), Facebook (Oceans of Life) and Instagram (celebrating_oceans_of_life).

Family Camp, 16 – 18 October 2015
at Geelbek Stables in the West Coast National Park.

Remember if you are interested in attending the Family Camp as mentioned in the last News Snippets, please let Priscilla know ( as soon as possible as we will only go ahead with planning this camp if there is sufficient interest in it.



by Duncan Butchart

Duncan Butchart is a keen observer of the natural world, and has authored and illustrated several books and numerous popular articles on birds and other wildlife.
He is now living in Hermanus after twenty years in the Lowveld.
He has studied woodpeckers and barbets in several African countries and observed almost half of the world’s 200 woodpecker species on his travels.

In this course you will learn:
The family traits of woodpeckers, barbets and honeyguides.
How to identify these birds in the field.
How to locate woodpeckers, barbets and honeyguides.
Southern African ‘hotspots’ for these birds.
How to attract these birds to your property.
The global distribution of the order Piciformes.

To end up - a fun quiz with one of Duncan’s original woodpecker or barbet paintings as a prize.!

When: SATURDAY 1st AUGUST 2015 8.30 for 9.00 until 13.00

Pensioners & Students R 80
         NON MEMBERS R125; Pensioners & Students R100
Enquiries and Registration: Judith Crosswell 021 671 1787 (after 7pm) or e-mail:

Registration may be done telephonically or by e mail and EFT payments must be made to:
Cape Bird Club A/C No: 1046380400, Nedbank, Claremont Branch, Code: 10 46 09
Please provide as reference your: Surname & Initial + WOODPECKERS
N.B. Booking will be confirmed only upon receipt of proof of payment by Fax

Please book ASAP
by Heather Howell

29 August, 5 & 12 September plus an outing to Strandfontein on 6 September 

This course is being brought back by popular request!  
It will take place over 3 consecutive Saturday mornings from 09:00 to 13:00 and includes one Sunday morning field trip.  

Venue: Herschel Girls Prep. School, Kenmar Crescent, Claremont

This is a chance to get your non-member family members and friends involved in your favourite hobby!  
Please tell your friends and family about the course!  
We depend on YOU, our CBC members, to spread the word.  

Although the course is targeted at absolute beginners, many members who do not class themselves as such may find that they benefit from the thorough foundations that the course offers.  
Children 11 years and older are welcome. 

Contact Judith Crosswell for bookings and additional details: (021) 671 1787 (after 19:00) or e-mail
Heather Howell is happy to answer any queries about the course.  
Contact her on e-mail:

Participants are advised not to buy any new equipment before 29 August, but to bring old or borrowed Binoculars and Field Guides to use as learning tools.
The first day of the course will include information on how to choose and purchase these items.

Course fee: Club Members R200; 
Student Members R140
                   Non Members R230;  Student Non Members R160 (full-time study only)

Payment: Deposit into CBC Bank A/C No. 1046380400, Nedbank, Claremont Branch,
Code 10 46 09.
Please provide Reference: Surname & Initial + BEGINNERS.
Fax or e-mail proof of deposit with booking.

Swartland Outing  

Sunday 19th June led by Brian van der Walt

The weather was sparkling and perfect for a day out watching birds – cool but sunny.  The group, varying between 14 and 17 was led by Brian van der Walt.  
We met him at Tygervalley Shopping Centre and then consolidated cars so that we had just 4 cars travelling in convoy.  
We started off by visiting D’Aria Wine Estate in Durbanville.  At the small dam we saw lots of the usual water birds such as Cape Weavers, Red Bishops, Yellow-billed Duck, Red Knobbed Coot, Grey Heron and more.  We had wonderful sightings of both male and female Stonechats and although we only heard Little Rush Warblers, we had good views of Lesser Swamp Warblers on top of the reeds.  
Then in the parking area we saw a flock fifteen or more Pin-tailed Whydahs. Brian remarked that he thought this was one of the largest flocks of these birds he had seen!
Walking on the other side of the restaurant we saw Cape Canaries (heard them first, of course), and then showing beautifully an Amethyst Sunbird, first spotted by Pieter le Roux. Olive Thrush, Cape White Eyes, a Bar-throated Apalis and some very confiding Dusky Flycatchers as well as a Fork-Tailed Drongo and a Hadedah Ibis sitting on a very messy nest were all added to our list.  
After leaving D’Aria, we drove around the hills stopping every now and then to look for birds near the road.  We saw a Jackal Buzzard, White Necked Ravens, a Black Sparrowhawk, a brilliant view of a Black Harrier, Rock Kestrel, Cape Grassbird, Red-capped Larks, A Long-billed Lark, a Karoo Robin, Black-capped Wheatears, a Yellow Bishop and much much more.  
We ended the morning at Durbanville Nature Reserve (usually closed on weekends in winter, but Brian had organised a key) where we saw Whitebacked Mousebirds, Cape Sugarbird, Malachite and Lesser Double collared Sunbird.
This list is not exhaustive!  In total we saw 68 species – a good count for mid-winter.  
Thank you, Brian, for an excellent morning’s birding.  You are a patient teacher, and your joy and excitement are contagious!


A Snowy Egret that was spotted on 8 June by Dominic and Patrick Rollinson along the Black River near the River Club in Cape Town has been causing quite a stir amongst birders.
This is only the second record for South Africa and is a "true mega" according to Trevor Hardaker.
The bird has been seen by over 1,000 people and was still showing well on Sunday 28 June.
However it has changed its pattern according to Trevor's SARBN email and has been disappearing during the day.
So if you still want to see it, early morning or very late afternoon appear to be the best times.
For more about the snowy egret, click on the link

Remember, if you want to get the latest up to date news about rare bird sightings you can sign up for the SA Rare Birds email group by going to

Our grateful thanks to Trevor Hardaker for sharing his photos of the Snowy Egret with us.

Contributions for the Newsletter

Please send any contributions for the newsletter (interesting sightings, photographs or any interesting news items)  to Cheryl Leslie at
Photographs should not exceed 1MB in size.

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