August 2015 Newsletter
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CAPE BIRD CLUB NEWSLETTER                                 August 2015



Owing to the fact that the Woodpeckers, Barbets, and Honeyguides Course will be taking place on 1 August, the Rondevlei Outing in August has been cancelled.

Presenter: Duncan Butchart
Venue: Erin Hall, 8 Erin Road, Rondebosch
When: SATURDAY 1st AUGUST 2015 8.30 for 9.00 until 13.00
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.

From Rondebosch Main Road 
- from the traffic lights near the flower sellers and the fountain: Go up Belmont Road, over the railway bridge, up the hill. Erin Road is the 3rd road on your right. Turn right into Erin Road. If you reach the traffic lights you have gone too far.
Erin Hall is 50 metres down Erin Road on the left at the end of the white wall. 

From the Camp Ground Road / Belmont Road robots:
Go down Belmont Road. Take the first turn left. This is Erin Road. 
The hall is 50 metres on the left at the end of the white wall.

From the N2: Take Liesbeck Parkway exit. Go up Liesbeck  Parkway towards Rondebosch. 
At third robots turn right into Belmont Road. Take first turn left into Erin Rd. Erin Hall is 50 metres in on the left..

Please park across the road from Erin Hall. If this is full there is a parking area on the same side as the hall but further up the road. Please do not park on the Erin Hall side, there are NO STOPPING signs. You will be fined and towed away.
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

Invasive species love the hustle and bustle of city life!
Speakers: Ulrike Irlich
Meet at 20h00. Ulrike is the Project Manager for the City of Cape Town's Invasive Species Unit.
We already know something of their work with House Crows and Mallard Ducks, but the problem is much wider than that as they battle daily with many other invaders – plants, animals, reptiles and insects. These are “illegal immigrants” of quite another kind!
Do come along this evening to learn more about this interesting aspect of nature conservation.

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 16 OUTING: Koeberg Private Nature Reserve
Leader: Peter Nupen ☎ 079 078 4696  or email
Meet at 08h45 for 09h00. This is one of our favourite venues – a lovely walk with plenty of birdlife and it's always especially good in spring.
Directions: Travelling out of Cape Town, take the R27 West Coast Road past Table View and stay on this road. Pass through the robot controlled intersection where one would turn left to Bloubergstrand. Continue on the R27 until you come to the entrance to Koeberg Power Station on your left hand side. The gated entrance is marked by white pillars where there is a security boom. Alternatively, take the N7 out of Cape Town and turn left on the link road to Bloubergstrand. After about 5 km, turn right at the robot controlled intersection onto the R27, and continue as above. The drive is 40-50 km, so give yourself plenty of time.
NB: Please take Identification Documents which are necessary to gain entrance to the Koeberg Nature Reserve, which lies inside the Koeberg grounds.
Once inside the Koeberg premises, proceed straight for about a kilometre, go around a small traffic circle, and we will meet in the car park immediately below the Koeberg Information Centre. Our walk starts at 09h00.

Wed 18 August WEEKDAY OUTING ―Two Rivers Urban Park
Leader:  Otto Schmidt ☎ 021 674 2381 / 073 043 2761 or email
Meet at 09h00. We shall initially bird along the stretch of the Liesbeek River opposite Hartleyvale, including the temporary wetlands which should be full at that time of year. Black Duck occur along this stretch and Giant, Pied, and Malachite Kingfishers have been observed. We shall then visit the bird hide located in the grounds of the Observatory. This overlooks a temporary wetland at the juncture of the Liesbeek and Black rivers and can yield a number of interesting species with Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, and Hottentot Teal having been seen. If time allows and for the more adventurous, a second bird hide can be visited at the confluence of the two rivers via the River Club.
Directions: Travelling from the Southern Suburbs on Liesbeek Parkway towards Observatory, continue under the Settlers Way / N2 flyover and at the next set of traffic lights (Station Road) – with the Hartleyvale Sportsfields on your left – turn right over the Liesbeek River bridge. Pass the turnoff to the River Club (on your left) and at the S.A. Astronomical Observatory entrance (on your left) turn right and follow the road to the Wild Fig Restaurant (with the river on your right). Take the right hand fork near the end of this road and park in the bays on the roadside below the restaurant where we will meet. Anyone coming along the N2 / Settlers Way either from Cape Town or Somerset West, take the Liesbeek Parkway off-ramp and at the bottom of the ramp turn towards Observatory and follow the directions above.


Sunday 2 August: Kirstenbosch BIRP Count. 
Meet at 08h00
Leader: John Magner (082 881 3845)

Saturday 8 August: Zandvlei Hack
Meet at 14h00
Leader: Gavin Lawson (021 705 5224)

Sunday 9 August: Strandfontein Count 

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

Thursday 13 August: Wildevoelvlei Count
Meet at 08h30
Leader: Eric Barnes (021 782 5429)

Thursday 20 August: Athlone WWTW Count
Meet at 13h00
Leader: Dick Bos (021 423 2546)
These counts will take place weather permitting

Saturday 22 August: Paarl Bird Sanctuary CWAC
Meet at 09h00
Leader: Yvonne Weiss (021 872 4972)



Tuesday 11 August

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 11 August
Meet at 09h00 at the Information Desk at Gate One.

Leader: Dennis Laidler
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.

We have started planning a Family Camp in October on the first weekend of the fourth school term. Families (parents or grandparents) with a youngsters of 8 - 15 years are encouraged attend.
Please note that non-members are welcome and we especially hope that young families will join us!
The Geelbek Stables are designed to accommodate school and community groups with dormitory-style units. One unit may be allocated to each family. There is a large kitchen equipped with fridge, microwave, and gas stove, and the ablution facilities (hot and cold water) are clean. You will need to bring your own bedding, food, cooking pots, crockery, and cutlery. There are good braai facilities.

The cost for two nights will be approx. R220 p/p.
Situated on the shore of Langebaan Lagoon, this is an excellent area for seeing waders and shore birds, however we are also planning other activities such as a dune hike, looking at the ecology of different habitats, and perhaps even a visit to the Fossil Park.
If you are interested in joining this camp, please contact Priscilla Beeton ( as soon as possible to be put on the mailing list that will keep you abreast of developments.
This will not commit you to joining the camp but will give us an idea if it is worthwhile continuing with the project. 

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.
Wednesday 11 November 2015

You are invited to join us at the
Theatre on the Bay for a witty and
irreverent look at South Africa
and the world around us, in

An Audience with 
Pieter-Dirk Eish

Please support this CBC Fundraiser
proceeds of which will go towards CBC conservation projects.

Bring your friends and family - non members are welcome

Bookings are open.
For tickets contact Helen Fenwick
082 705 1536


Weekend Camp at Swellendam

Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 September 2015

We are planning a weekend camp at the municipal chalets and camp site in Swellendam.
John Magner will be our camp leader and we will be birding within the camp, at Bontebok National Park, Grootvadersbos, and one or two other areas.
Thursday 24 September is a public holiday and for many Friday 25 will be a holiday too, so this will be a 3 night camp.
Accommodation: Fully equipped self-catering chalets sleep four (2 beds in the bedroom and 2 in the lounge area). You can make up your own party of four or else come alone and be allocated to a chalet to share. Bedding and towels will be supplied but you will need to bring your own food and drinks. We have reserved 10 chalets.
Cost: R475 per person for 3 nights in a chalet. This cost is calculated for four people sharing, and includes firewood for the communal braais. If you choose to have fewer than four people in your chalet, the balance will be for your account. Campers can also be accommodated so let John know if you would prefer to camp.
Cost for 3 nights camping: R600 per site plus R40 per person for firewood for the communal braais.
Bookings open on 1 July 2015.
To book, or for more information, please contact John at or 082 881 3845.


SUNDAY 19th JULY by John Magner

After several days of bad Cape winter weather, on Sunday things improved somewhat and although it was a cold and partly cloudy morning a good turnout of 35 members arrived at the meeting point at the shops in Rooi Els for the early winter start of 8 am.
Before going on the “Rockjumper walk” we walked down to the road bridge over the Rooiels River where I had seen a number of terns when driving in. On our way down to the bridge we were treated to a low flypast by a Jackal Buzzard.
The terns (if you will excuse the pun) turned out to be Swift Terns. There were a great number of them making quite a racket with many juveniles amongst the adults - some of them were being fed.
Also present on the estuary were 4 African Black Oystercatchers and 2 White-fronted Plovers.
We returned to the cars and sharing where possible we drove to the entrance gate of the walk. The birding was slow in the cold morning, but a number of Orange-breasted Sunbirds soon cheered us up. We soon came across a pair of Cape Rock Thrush and shortly afterwards a male Sentinel Rock-thrush enabling us to compare the difference between the two birds, both nice birds to see.
As we proceeded slowly on our way ever searching for the elusive Rockjumper we saw literally dozens of Orange-breasted sunbirds, a few Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Grey-backed Cisticolas and Grassbirds. Reaching the end of the distance we wanted to walk we turned around and started back with still no sightings of the prized Rockjumper.  
However about halfway back along the track we found our prize!
A beautiful male Rockjumper in all his glory! And then another! Also a male. By this stage our group was well spread out up the track behind us, but a radio call to alert them brought them hurrying to the spot. The two birds gave us very good views for 10 or 15 minutes, giving everyone a good chance to see the birds, a lifer for many!
We  left Rooi Els for Harold Porter Gardens very satisfied with our success.  We arrived at Harold Porter to discover they were under load shedding, and so most of the facilities were not available. Undeterred we set off on our walk and hearing the sounds of an African Goshawk we were soon able to locate it in a nearby tree, and although he kept his back to us we had a good view of the bird.
Nice views of an Amethyst Sunbird were among the highlights of our walk through Harold Porter, which was somewhat curtailed by the fact that the Disa walk to the waterfall is still closed about halfway along from the flood damage caused last year.
We returned to the car park and found a grassy spot to have our tea and make a bird list.
We only had a total of 48 species, but this is not too bad for a winter’s day, especially as one of them was the elusive Cape Rockjumper!

A special vote of thanks to John Magner for leading the outing, and to the other expert birders who helped make it a special day for us all.

The following  pictures were taken by Graham Pringle, thanks Graham!

Cape Rockjumper
Picture taken by Graham Pringle
Sentinel Rock Thrush
Picture taken by Graham Pringle
Cape Rock Thrush
Picture taken by Graham Pringle
There were plenty of Orange-breasted Sunbirds about
Photo taken by Cheryl Leslie
Keen birders scanning the area for the elusive Rockjumper.
Photo by Cheryl Leslie
Mission Accomplished!!

Photo by Cheryl Leslie


Good news from the Endangered Wildlife Trust is that a Secretary Bird has been released back into the wild after a lengthy period of treatment to one of its eyes at Freeme.
The bird was originally fitted with a tracking unit in December 2014 on a nest in the vicinity of Nylsvlei, Limpopo. After leaving the nest it wandered a distance of 96km over a period of 5 months before it ended up in Soshanguve where it was rescued by Lukas Marima who found the bird being chased and harassed by community members.

Mr Marima contacted the EWT who took the bird to Freeme for treatment and rehabilitation. On examination it was found that its left eye was not functioning properly. After being assessed and treated by the ophthalmic veterinarians at the Johannesburg Animal Eye Hospital the bird was ready for release back into the wild during July 2015.

The iconic Secretarybird is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), so the EWT are grateful to Mr Marima for contacting them about this bird which has been treated successfully.

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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