Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter May 2002
From the Hide
The back pan is slowly receiving water from the Diep River and the Flamingos have responded! Nice numbers have been reported this month. They are mostly to be seen in the South Lake from the roadside on the R27. I seem to see the Fish Eagle pair most days this month, first hearing them as they call (while overflying my flat). Last week during a visit, our adult pair were each sitting on a pole very close to the hide, when a juvenile Fish Eagle flew over. It wasn't one of their offspring, so I thought they would chase it off, but they ignored it completely! The Marsh Harriers are doing plenty of quartering back and forward across the reed beds, and I saw a Mongoose catch first one Striped Mouse, kill it, then another, kill that one, and sit in a complete quandary not knowing which one to pick up and carry off! He wandered off, mouseless, having not found a solution to his problem. A male Rock Kestrel and lone Lanner Falcon have decided the boardwalk rails are a good resting place, but not when they both turn up at the same time!
We have pleasure in informing you that we now have a website! The site concentrates mostly on the Wetland but also has a short history of the Friends of Rietvlei. The address is above under our email address - please check out our site and let us know what you think.
 
BIG Project
The Cape Bird Club has started a new project, the Birds in Gardens Project (BIG). The sad reality is that a very small percentage of South Africa's land area is conserved. This means that most birds live and breed in areas transformed by man. The BIG Project gives you a chance to monitor birds in your garden - one of the most valuable man-transformed habitats for birds. This project is not confined to Bird Club members only, so if you would like to be part of BIG, contact Kirsten Louw on 021 794 1054 (H) or email kst@yebo.co.za .
 
Renewals
We have not received many membership renewals yet - if you have lost your renewal form, you can still post a cheque to our address as above, or email us or phone me on 557-4990.
 
Welcome to the following new members:
Ruth Bester of Bloubergstrand, Gordon Moir of Texas, USA, Mr. & Mrs. B. Weeks of Norton Square, Gary & Phyllis Van der Merwe of Table View, Paul & Patricia Hill of Flamingo View and Lance Howell & family of Flamingo Vlei.
 
Blouvlei (Intaka Island)
Many members who joined us on our outing to Blouvlei in Century City a couple of years ago, have asked when this area would be open to the public. Boats run infrequently, but you can now access the area from the Montague Drive side (the same way we entered on our outing). There is a parking area next to the bridge over the canal and entry is R5 per person. Please phone the Call Centre on 021 552-6889 for further directions.
 
Volunteers Needed
Once again, we are asking for members to step forward and volunteer their services as Committee Members. The same members serve year after year, but the work load grows larger annually. The rapid growth of areas north of Table View and proposed developments around Milnerton and Table View needs committed residents from the area to keep an eye on environmental concerns that might negatively affect Rietvlei Wetland. We are an influential group, but if we don't have members to represent us on various Environmental Liaison Committees, our concerns will not be heard. Please contact us (021 557-4990).
  
Snippets
The Wastewater Treatment Works Expansion programme and our objections to it are going to be detailed in letters to the Table Talk from Rob Robertson over the next few weeks and we urge all members to read these letters.
Most of the alien vegetation on the dune areas between the sea and the R27 has been removed and we will be organising a walk through this area in Spring to see how effective this removal has been.
Please note that we will not be having any evening meetings until September 2002, as we feel it is unfair to expect you to sit in a cold Aquatic Club hall!

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