Birds in Uganda & Congo –...

Members of the Stanford Bird Club were treated to a feast of birding in the national parks of Uganda and Brazzaville Congo through the slides and live...

Wintry Wind Grootbos Outing May 26 ...

[caption id="attachment_2055" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chilly Twitchers![/caption] The wintry wind blustering through the fynbos and the Milkwo...

MOSAIC FARM OUTING APRIL 28 2015

   Members of the bird club spent a delightful morning at Mosaic Farm on Tuesday April 28th.  There was a nip in the air but it was a ...

STANFORD BIRD CLUB OUTING TO THE VE...

On March 31st, a glorious autumnal morning, eight eager birders set out for a morning’s bird-watching to the salt pan at Vermont – Outin...

Articles

Photo Richard Masson

WALKER BAY BIRD FAIR REPORT BY BRYAN BUTLER OF SOMERSET WEST BIRD CLUB

Bryan Butler's entertaining report on the Walker Bay Bird Fair can be seen on Western Cape Birding http://www.westerncapebirding.co.za/...

Walker Bay Bird Fair

Photo Richard Masson

WALKER BAY BIRD FAIR REPORT BY BRYAN BUTLER OF SOMERSET WEST BIRD CLUB

Bryan Butler's entertaining report on the Walker Bay Bird Fair can be seen on Western Cape Birding&n...

Events

Birds in Uganda & Congo – Mike Graham

Members of the Stanford Bird Club were treated to a feast of birding in the national parks of Uganda and Brazzaville Congo through the slide...

Outings

Wintry Wind Grootbos Outing May 26 2015

[caption id="attachment_2055" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chilly Twitchers![/caption] The wintry wind blustering through the fynbos and ...

Eagle Eyes

DSCN1983

Eagle Eyes – A view from the hide

  “Gang of five.” Class of first EE lesson in hide Proud gypo parents of six, on an ourting to “Coates Island...

Birds in Uganda & Congo – Mike Graham

Members of the Stanford Bird Club were treated to a feast of birding in the national parks of Uganda and Brazzaville Congo through the slides and lively presentation by Mike Graham of BirdLife Overberg, Hermanus, at the Club’s monthly meeting this May.  Mike travels far and wide to photograph birds that he has not yet added to his already very extensive list. There could hardly have been a member in the audience who did not wish to be able to pack bird books and binocs and head off into Africa’s wildernesses after enjoying Mike’s twitching and travelling, albeit vicariously!

Many thanks to Mike for sharing his superb images. More may be seen at http://scenicsouth.co.za/mike-grahams-presentation-at-stanford-bird-club-meeting/

Viv von der Heyden

Green-breasted Pitta

Green-headed Sunbird

Paln-nut Vulture

Papyrus Gonolek

Piapiac

Shoebill

Yellow-spotted Barbet

Wintry Wind Grootbos Outing May 26 2015

Chilly Twitchers

Chilly Twitchers!

The wintry wind blustering through the fynbos and the Milkwood forest did not detract from the enjoyment experienced by members of the Stanford Bird Club on their outing at Grootbos on Tues 26 May.

A group of about 12 ardent twitchers, led by guides Christoff and Jeslin from Grootbos, strolled through the woods alert for bird calls and movement in the trees.  We were rewarded with the winter calls (‘Willy!’) of the Sombre Greenbul and were interested to learn that the delightful call with its descending trill is only heard in summer.

A very inquisitive Southern Boubou hopped around within a metre of us, giving us a chance to enjoy him at leisure sans binocs.  Also hopping about in the forest was a Cape Batis.  Other birds present were furtive and less intent on allowing themselves to be observed.  A White-necked Raven called beyond the tree canopy.

From the forest we entered the beautiful indigenous gardens around which the charming stone cottages were unobtrusively perched.  Here the Cape Sparrow, Cape Robin Chat and Fiscal Flycatchers were at home and in the great Eucalyptus trees Cape Weavers had built their nests.

On a circular route through open fynbos a hunting Rock Kestrel engaged our attention for a while. Higher above a Jackal Buzzard soared on the thermals.  Greater and Lesser Sunbirds and Cape White-eyes fluttered about and Cape Francolin scratched in the undergrowth. The view over the fynbos towards Walker Bay is breathtaking.

Christoff and Jeslin not only shared their birding expertise but also their knowledge of the fynbos, pointing out interesting specimens and describing their medicinal and other uses.

The greatest number of birds were seen flocking in the bush alongside the stables: Yellow Bishops, Speckled Mousebirds, Cape Bubuls  and Fiscal Flycatchers.  Wagtails foraged amongst the horses. Heard but not seen was a Long-billed Combrec.

We arrived at the new lodge just as the rain started falling where we enjoyed tea and coffee and a delicious spread of scones and biscuits. Many thanks to the owners and staff at Grootbos for their warm and generous hospitality.

Text & Photo’s by Viv von der Heyden  (Who apologises for the lack of bird pictures – when looking at the birds completely forgot to photograph them!)

Indigenous garden, Grootbos

Indigenous garden at Grootbos

The view from Grootbos across Walker Bay

View from Grootbos across Walker Bay

Hedgehog Lily

Hedgehog Lily

MOSAIC FARM OUTING APRIL 28 2015

 

 Members of the bird club spent a delightful morning at Mosaic Farm on Tuesday April 28th.  There was a nip in the air but it was a bright, sunny and windless day, perfect for birdwatching.  Thanks to Marian for keeping the list.  We ticked just over 50 birds which was a very satisfying way to spend an autumn morning.  On the drive out Elsa had seen a raptor which was possibly a Marsh Harrier and Jeremy and I had either a sparrowhawk or goshawk which of these two it was we were unable to positively identify.

The venue has built a raised boardwalk which extends about 200 metres out into the lagoon.  This provides an ideal platform for viewing the water and shore-birds which were present in abundance.  Greater Flamingo, 3 cormorant species, Grey and Purple Heron, gulls, Cape Teal and Cape Shoveller, Yellow-billed Duck, coots, moorhens, stilts, lapwings and Spur-winged geese were all well represented.   A highlight was Jeremy witnessing Hatlaub’s Gulls harassing a Caspian Tern, causing it to drop the fish it was carrying.  There was excitement as a Giant Kingfisher landed on one of the boardwalk poles but unfortunately I was not quick enough to photograph it.  We also had good views of the brilliantly coloured Malachite Kingfisher as well as Three-banded Plover.

After about an hour on the boardwalk we headed ashore to search for the Milkwood Forest and garden species.   The birds at Mosaic are habituated to humans and we were able to get close to Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Batis, African Dusky Flycatcher, Karoo Prinia, Southern Boubou, Brimstone Canary and the 2 sunbirds.  Cape Wagtails were almost underfoot, Bokmakerie was located, Streaky-headed Seedeaters were feeding on tecomia and Sombre Greenbul were noisy in the forest.

Mosaic is a beautiful venue for an outing and is close to Stanford.   We rounded off the morning with coffee, tea and a choice of delicious cheesecake or lemon meringue pie served on the patio under umbrellas at the Spookhuis restaurant.   Our host graciously came out to enquire if all was satisfactory and mentioned that a Secretary Bird had been on the property earlier in the week.

Thanks to Elsa and Sarah for organising an enjoyable outing.   The list for the day and some photo’s follow…

Bird club members at SpookhuisBirding-and-Cheesecake

Richard Masson 

List for the day…….

1.       Apalis Bar-throated
2.       Batis Cape
3.       Bokmakierie
4.       Boubou Southern
5.       Brown-throated Martin
6.       Bulbul Cape
7.       Bulbul Sombre
8.       Canary Brimstone
9.       Canary Cape
10.   Cape Sparrow
11.   Cape Spurfowl
12.   Cape Weaver
13.   Common Moorhen
14.   Common Starling
15.   Coot-Red-knobbed
16.   Cormorant Cape
17.   Drongo Fork-tailed
18.   Duck Yellow-billed
19.   Fiscal Flycatcher
20.   Flamingo Greater
21.   Flycatcher African Dusky
22.   Goose Egyptian
23.   Gull Hautlaubs
24.   Gull Kelp
25.   Helmeted Guineafowl
26.   Heron Grey
27.   Heron Purple
28.   House Sparrow
29.   Ibis African Sacred
30.   Kingfisher Giant
31.   Kingfisher Malachite
32.   Lapwing Blacksmith
33.   Little Egret
34.   Malachite Sunbird
35.   Prinia Karoo
36.   Red Bishop
37.   Reed Cormorant
38.   Robin-chat Cape
39.   Seed-eater Streaky-headed
40.   Shoveller Cape
41.   Shrike Fiscal
42.   Southern Double-collared Sunbird
43.   Stilt Black-winged
44.   Teal Cape
45.   Tern Caspian
46.   Tern Common
47.   Trush Olive
48.   Wagtail Cape
49.   White-throated Cormorant
50.   Yellow Canary

 

 

 Southern-Boubou     Southern-Double-collared-SunbirdKaroo-PriniaCape-Batis

Brimstone-CanaryMosaicFarm Sightings Malachite-Sunbird

 

 

STANFORD BIRD CLUB OUTING TO THE VERMONT SALT PAN

VermontSaltPanVvdH

On March 31st, a glorious autumnal morning, eight eager birders set out for a morning’s bird-watching to the salt pan at Vermont – Outing report by Viv can be read here!

WALKER BAY BIRD FAIR REPORT BY BRYAN BUTLER OF SOMERSET WEST BIRD CLUB

Bryan Butler’s entertaining report on the Walker Bay Bird Fair can be seen on Western Cape Birding http://www.westerncapebirding.co.za/news/2069/walker_bay_bird_fair_report_by_bryan_butler_of_somerset_west_bird_club

 

 

Fair Raffle Winners

Debbie Alexander, John Gordon (winner of Swarovski Bino’s) and Liz Hochfelden

Fair Raffle Winner

Congratulations to the lucky winners of the Walker Bay Bird Fair raffle.   The editor of the Hermanus Times kindly performed the draw for us!  

  • Swarovski Binoculars – John Gordon (Stanford local!)                              
  • Richie Ryall artwork (numbered print ) – Ian Oliver
  • Blue Gum Dinner, Bed and Breakfast  – Stefaan Loubser
  • 12 bottles of Raka Wine – Simon Oliver

 

Visitor Comments on 2015 Walker Bay Bird Fair

Peter, Liz and the Bird Fair Committee,

I would like to thank you for organising a fantastic Bird Fair!

  • From the Dyer Island Sea Bird Cruise (which was fabulous, even though we didn’t see many sea birds, it was wonderful to see Dyer Island)
  • To Mel Tripp interviewing Vernon Head
  • The Strettons/Zeiss prize-giving and auction.
  • The bright and early bird ringing at Fernkloof – which I found so interesting.
  • The talk by Peter Ryan on Gough Island
  • Fynbos Corridors by Bongani Mnisi, he’s doing such amazing work with school children.
  • Tim Appleton’s talks about birding in the UK and the British Bird Fair, were so interesting. We enjoyed meeting him too. (Ditto from Bob)
  • And last but not least the Zeiss Bird Brain quiz with John Maytham, which was great fun.

Thanks again I had a great time!
Nicky Ross


Dear Liz and Peter

Stuart and I would like to congratulate you both on organizing a 5-star Fair this past week. From the layout of the marquees to the professional programme , the outings, the photographic competition, the festivities – we thoroughly enjoyed being there and learned so much from the passionate and knowledgeable presenters. We know how much work goes into a week such as this – it literally takes a year to plot and plan. Well, we thought it came together fantastically.

Sincere thanks to your entire team who worked so hard to make it the success that it was.

Well done- and thank you. You even organized the good weather!

Regards
Denise and Stuart Anderson


Hi Liz,
Hope you have had time to relax a bit after the Fair. Thank you for inviting us. I was glad that Christine and Lesbury could join me as I found it quite lonely in 2013. We really enjoyed it and have learned so much and have quite a few lifers to add to our list. Your speakers were great and very informative. I wanted to chat at the quiz when I registered, but decided to do it at the end but you were gone when it ended. Next time I will definitely make time to chat now that I know who you are. We are having our outing on Monday and will be promoting next yrs. event with enthusiasm.
Looking for to 2016.

Best wishes for a job well done.
Gill Ashlin


 

 

Hello Peter & Liz
I need to place on record – by way of recognition – the magnificent job you two did in ‘curating’ the recent Walker Bay Bird Fair. If Oscars were due both of you would have been recipients!
I know there are many people involved in a project on this scale but someone had to take the lead. You, Peter, and you, Liz, deserve the warmest and sincerest admiration for your efforts, culminating in a highly successful Fair which will be talked about for some considerable time. I can only surmise how days must have been long (nights even longer!) with the many loose ends having to be tied in readiness for what was, undoubtedly, a splendid affair.
Again, your efforts were mighty and congratulations are entirely in order.
Regards
Guy Winchester-Gould

 
Hi Peter,
Firstly I would like to thank you and Liz for a very enjoyable weekend and fair! Please also convey our thanks to the rest of your committee and all the other people who were involved. Special thanks also to Royd for the comfortable accommodation.  
Thanks and regards, 
Albert & Marietjie Froneman

 

Liz – Many thanks were made at the weekend to the team, Peter and yourself for putting on a great show. It was a wonderful weekend and you treated us like ‘royals’… It was lovely and to say again, Huge Thanks to you both.

Mel Tripp


Hi Liz
Just a note to say thankyou so much for the Bird Fair . Had a marvellous relaxing time . Well done and to Debz as you call her also ta so much. The sea trip was awesome , the captain was ecstatic about the sardines and Gannets and dolphins . Hope to be there next year .
Best wishes .
Sinclair Collett

 

 

UILENVLEI CONSERVANCY BIRDING OUTING

Tuesday 27th January 2015 turned out to be a lovely cool day – perfect for bird watching.   Nine birders met up at the Stanford Garage at 6.55 am before setting off in two cars for our destination.

There were masses of sea birds on either side of the bridge so we first climbed down to the water on the western side where we had our breakfast snack.  Jeremy Rickett had kindly got permission from Tony Weaver (Uilenvlei Conservancy) for us to walk in the bush on the eastern side, to the water’s edge to get a closer look at the numerous birds.  See list below:

Avocet Pied, Cape Bulbul, Jackal and Common Buzzard, Red-knobbed Coot, Cape and White-breasted Cormorant, African Darter, Red-eyed and Rock Dove, Little Egret, Greater Flamingo, Fiscal Flycatcher, Egyptian and Spur-winged Goose, Sombre Greenbul, Common Greenshank, Hartlaubs, Kelp Gull, Black-headed Heron, Rock Kestrel, Pied Kingfisher, Black-shouldered Kite, Blacksmith Lapwing, Speckled Mousebird, African Black Oystercatcher, Three-banded and White-fronted Plover, White-necked Raven, Common Starling, Black-winged Stilt, Barn, Greater-striped and White-throated Swallow, Caspian, Common, Sandwich and Swift Terns, Ruddy Turnstone, Cape Wagtail, Common Whimbrel, Fiscal Shrike.

Another perfect birding outing.   Home by 12.30 pm

Sarah James

BIRDING AT VILLA FELICITA

BIRDING AT VILLA FELICITA by Richard Masson

For my birthday this year I spoilt myself and spent 2 days at Villa Felicita (Italian for Absolute Bliss), a private farm with guest house, not quite 10kms outside Stanford towards Salmonsdam Nature Reserve.
This 100 hectare farm, complete with milkwood forest, perennial stream and krantz, has over the past six years been restored to pristine alien free fynbos by owner Wayne Gordon. I stayed there on 24 and 25 September 2014, just after having learnt of the tragic passing of Brummer Olivier, who died in a helicopter accident in the Underberg while carrying out alien vegetation surveys. There was some comfort in the thought that this endemic bird rich environment with alien free vegetation pays tribute to what this greatly respected and admired man stood for.
As always I was there for the birds! The weather was not particularly kind with some late winter rain about, but that did not dampen the spring spirit of the birds. Over the 2 days I identified 103 species with a remarkable count of 21 endemics and 7 near endemics.

THE FULL ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD HERE

River Rat Outing October 2014

Stanford Bird Club enjoyed a lovely morning on Ernie’s boat, The River Rat, last Sunday, the 5th October, 2014. We saw a total of 34 birds, made it all the more worthwhile! The first bird we saw before the boat departed was an African Hoepoe, which was very special, and the last two unusual birds we saw, as we arrived back, were 2 White-Faced Whistling Ducks!! I had never seen them before, and nor had Ernie.

List of birds seen:

1. African Hoepoe

2. Red Bishop

3. Cape Weaver

4. White-Throated Swallow

5. 2 African Fish Eagles
6. White Breasted Cormorants

7. Jan Fiskaal

6. Three yellow-billed ducks with 2 ducklings

8. Pin-tailed Whydah

9. Guinea Fowl (roosting up in tree)

10. Reed Warbler

11. Black Headed Heron

12. Fork-tailed Drongo

13. Spur-winged Geese

14. Dabchick

15. Water Dikkop and chick

16. Little Bittern

17. Red-Knobbed Coot

18. Moorhens

19. Cape Wagtails

20. Blacksmith Lapwing

21. Starlings

22. Blue crane

23. Turtle doves

24. Rock Kestrel

25. Sacred Ibis

26. Little swift

27. Lesser Striped Swallows

28. African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene)

29. Hadeda’s

30. Reed Cormorant

31. Giant Kingfisher

32. Pied Kingfisher

33. Two White Faced Whistling Ducks

34. Darters

Terrapin (small water turtle) also seen swimming in water.