From the Hide
We hope all our members
had a safe and peaceful Festive Season and also had a chance
to visit Rietvlei during the best time of the year for
birding. The water is drying rapidly now the heat of
February is upon us, although there is plenty to see on the
ever-wet South Lake. The back pan had all the usual migrant
waders over the Christmas Season and some can still be seen
on the thin film of water. The Fish Eagles don't seem to
have bred successfully during winter, as no juveniles were
seen with the adults.
A CWAC (Co-ordinated Waterbird Count) was done on the 17th
January 2003 and provided some good count figures. The back
pan yielded 37 Glossy Ibis, 35 African Spoonbills, 253
Egyptian Geese, 27 Spurwinged Geese, 333 Curlew Sandpipers,
743 Little Stints, 422 Avocets, 68 Blackwinged Stilts and 3
Pied Kingfishers! 321 Egyptian Gees were counted on the
North Lake, and 251 Spurwinged Geese were seen on the
Dolphin Beach Ponds. Anyone driving along the R27 during
December and January must have seen the huge number of
Spurwing Geese that invaded these two ponds, and it was nice
to be able to include them in the count figures. These
Dolphin Beach Ponds often yield our highest count figures
and this time was no exception. 87 Redknobbed Coot, 173
Hartlaubs Gulls and an amazing 6 Purple Herons were counted
here. The Milnerton Lagoon area had 85 Common Terns and 26
Cape Shovellers. But Egyptian Geese stole the show with
another 617 on the South Lake as well as 23 Pelicans. 16
Greater Flamingos and 23 Lesser Flamingos were also counted.
The large numbers of Egyptian Geese at Rietvlei at this time
of year is quite normal, as they are beginning their annual
moult and need a safe haven. They are unable to fly when
moulting which takes about a month. The South Lake at
Rietvlei is very protected and the birds are able to laze on
the banks or escape into the water if the need arises. Those
that are not yet moulting and can fly can be seen in large
V-shaped formations flying back and forward over Table View
from the farming areas just north of us. They usually fly
out during early morning and return in the evenings to
Rietvlei to roost.
Please note that there
will be no evening meeting this month. Due to pressures of
time and the workload on the four Committee Members as well
as unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to arrange an
evening meeting every month for 2003, so if there are any
potential new Committee Members out there, please contact
Please diarise! Our AGM will be held on Thursday 8th May
We welcome the following new members:
Ansie van Rensburg & Sue Cromhout (Table View), Wendy Fisher
(Table View), Henry Kieser & Jennifer Mercer (Parklands),
James and Ellen Finnie (Flamingo Vlei), Wendy Goode
(Flamingo Vlei), M. Dippenaar & J. Fuller (Table View), H.
Conradie (Table View), Kirsten Louw (Constantia), Owen &
Sandy Gush (West Beach) and Marita Nel (Goodwood).
We have three new Cape
Technikon nature conservation students at Rietvlei working
under Koos Retief now that Natasha Deare has moved on :
Jeremy Keiser, Kelly Greenwood, and Bronwen Foster. Bronwen
has worked at the Rondevlei Nature Reserve before and does
not have to submit any more reports to the Technikon. Both
Kelly and Jeremy will be undertaking their experiential
training here at Rietvlei as part of their National Diploma.
They have so far been involved in several management
activities including biological control of smooth prickly
pears, follow-up alien eradication, access control, etc.
They've assisted Louis Raubenheimer with field work. They
have also assisted in such monitoring activities as
quarterly CWAC counts, monthly water monitoring, and monthly
They will be undertaking as much environmental education
work as possible. Since Bronwen does not have to submit any
more reports to the Technikon she will be much more involved
with environmental education than will Jeremy and Kelly.
They will also serve on several advisory and technical
committees at which they will be expected to undertake
administrative duties. They also have to undertake a
research project as part of their training.
Vegetation removal is
still ongoing near the bird hide and we now plan to use the
chipped wood pieces to line the pathway to the hide.
A new proposal for Rietvlei Farm on Blaauwberg and Gie Roads
has been submitted and we will keep you informed on this
Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area are having great
success in their effort to curb habitat degradation by off
road vehicles. We congratulate them on their efforts.
|This newsletter comes to you with the kind
assistance of Caltex.