Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter August 2003
From the Hide
There is still very little water in the pans at the time of writing, so we can go straight to our very good news - the Council has approved our Education Centre and we hope work will be able to begin very soon with completion by the end of October. We are studying the various quotes and meeting with our sponsors at the moment and it is now time to turn to our members for assistance. We will be in urgent need of a fundraiser to help raise money for furnishing the interior of the Centre. We need to purchase sufficient chairs, a desk or two, an overhead projector, blinds and various other small items. Gloria Wilson used to handle fundraising and held some very successful play evenings amongst other functions and we would like one of our members to take over this portfolio. If you have a talent for organising such events, please contact Nelis Visagie on 082 777 5708. Even if you are only able to assist, any help would be greatly appreciated.
Further news on the Education Centre will follow in each subsequent newsletter.
  
Evening Talks
We have two upcoming talks planned and you might like to diarise the dates now.
September 25th 2003 - A talk and slide show by one of our members, Ralfine Naegele. Ralfine travels extensively and also hikes in various parts of the world, and will be telling us about one of the countries she has hiked.
October 23rd 2003 - A talk by another member, Kirsten Louw, on Bird Calls. Kirsten is a student at the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of Ornithology and will tell us how and why birds sing. This promises to be a great evening so come along and ask any questions you may have on birdsong.
We will endeavour to get a newsletter out before each evening talk, but in case we don't, please make a note of the dates now. Times and Venue will still be 8p.m. at the Milnerton Aquatic Clubhouse.
  
Renewals
This will be the final newsletter for those who have not renewed their membership. Please contact Margaret on 557-4990 if you need details on renewing.
All new members should please remember that your membership only entitles only yourself, if you have individual membership, to free entry into Rietvlei. If you have family membership, your direct family members such as spouse and children will receive free entry. Your extended family members are not included, and neither is parking inside the Reserve. Friends of Rietvlei free entrance is a privilege granted to us by the City Council and we need to take care not to abuse it, or else we may lose it!
 
Total Rainfall for Rietvlei (mm) for 2000-2003
We thought our members might be interested in the following table, which shows just how badly we are faring this year. Where there are blank spaces, no data was available.
  2000 2001 2002 2003
January - 16 57.9 3.5
February - 2 10 6
March - 0 10.1 32.2
April 5+ 18.9 19.8+ 10.9
May 26.1 48.7 - 22.2
June 51.6 36.4 40.3+ 13.1
July 46.1 175.7 69.5+ 19.5
August 24.3 108.7 66.9 -
September 49.3+ 61.5 19.5 -
October 5.3 31.2 33.7 -
November 8.8 22.5 13.2 -
December 2.5+ 10.5 20.1 -
Sightings at Rietvlei
The recent waterbird count on 11th July produced some good figures in spite of dry conditions. 212 Whitebreasted Cormorants were counted as well as 39 Spoonbills, 297 Redknobbed Coot, 54 Lesser Flamingos, 92 Kittlitz Plovers and 2 Malachite Kingfishers. A Cape Clawless Otter was seen in the Diep River just below the Blaauwberg Rd. Bridge.
A new record has been found at Rietvlei - a Dusky Sunbird has been present in the garden area behind the ablution block for the past two weeks. These birds are found in arid regions, and were last recorded in Cape Town 20 years ago, also during a drought!
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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