Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter January 2005
FROM THE HIDE
As is normal for this time of summer, water is drying up rapidly around the back pan. Considering the drought and scarcity of rain this past winter, however, I am surprised the water has lasted this long. If you want to get to see the bird life, plan your visit quickly! We have had huge flocks of Flamingos over summer and some of them are still here. At the moment large flocks of Avocets are on the back pan with the Flamingos. While the Flamingos wade knee- deep and hundreds of Ducks and Coot swim in the shallow water, Swallows, Martins and Terns dip over the water searching for insects. There should be plenty to see up until early February. The hide has been fairly busy over the holiday season, both tourists and locals have been through the gate and I have received many reports from people who really enjoyed their visit. The Tygerberg Bird club visited recently on a beautiful windfree morning and were thrilled to have great views of our Fish Eagle as well as visiting European Bee-eaters.
Remember that if you would like to help with the quarterly bird count for Rietvlei, you can contact Koos Retief on 550-1086. The next count will be on the 21 January, but this newsletter might be too late for that date. You don't need to be an expert at identifying birds; scribes are also needed to fill in the forms! Future dates are 15 April, 15 July, 21 October 2005.
 
EVENING MEETING
Our first meeting of the year takes place in February and we would like to meet many of our new members as well as the faithful ones who always attend. This evening meeting is also being held to celebrate World Wetlands Day (2 February every year). Wetlands are threatened ecosystems worldwide and once a year special attention is paid to the importance of wetlands.
Date: Thursday 3rd February 2005
Time: 7.30 p.m. for 8p.m.
Venue: Rietvlei Education Centre, behind MAC Clubhouse, off Pentz Drive
Speaker: Weston Barwise, Educator
Topic: 'Understanding how Wetlands Work'
Enquiries: Margaret on 557-4990
Weston Barwise is an educator at the Two Oceans Aquarium, and has a wide knowledge of many subjects, so this promises to be an interesting talk. Bring your family and friends. A special farewell to Margaret Maciver will also be held on this evening, so all members who have had contact with Margaret over her many years of service to Rietvlei, are urged to attend (see below)….
 
FAREWELL
It is with great sadness that I have resigned from the committee of the Friends of Rietvlei. I will be moving to Tokai in mid February for family reasons and will, no doubt, get involved with other Friends groups in that area! I have been visiting Rietvlei weekly for almost 12 years and been a Friends member for 10 of those. I joined the Committee in 1996, took over as Treasurer a year later and started writing the newsletter in 1998. I have represented the Committee on seven other environmental liaison committees over this period. I have learnt so much from so many people and enjoyed every moment of my involvement. A major highlight has been the construction and establishment of our Rietvlei Education Centre, which was only a dream 10 years ago. There were many hiccups along the way, and yet, there it stands - we achieved it, together with Caltex.
I would like to thank all the members who regularly email or phone to tell me what birds or mammals they have seen at Rietvlei, our regular volunteers, and members who always attend our evening meetings. Thank you to Koos Retief, our Conservation Officer, and Wally Wolhuter, Water Ranger for all your assistance in Friends of Rietvlei projects. Particular thanks to my three fellow committee members, Nelis Visagie, Pat Titmuss and Pauline Potton. These three have stuck at the huge task of representing the Friends and guarding our Rietvlei wetland in sometimes very adverse circumstances.
They need your help. The newsletter still has to be written, and four local liaison committees need Friends of Rietvlei representation. Our appeals for new committee members have so far fallen on deaf ears, so this is my final appeal - please come forward and get involved, there are now only three Committee members - Rietvlei needs you!
MARGARET MACIVER
 
ALIEN VEGETATION HACK
Louis Raubenheimer has been keeping his watchful eye on the growth of alien plants along the eastern side of the R27 road in the vicinity of the model aircraft club. He says that it is time for our members to spend an hour there pulling up all the seedlings that persist in coming up. For an hour of exercise in the fresh air on the edge of Rietvlei please meet on SATURDAY 5 FEBRUARY AT 08H00 AT THE GATE TO THE MODEL AIRCRAFT CLUB ON THE R27. Please bring garden gloves and refreshments. Queries? Louis on 554 2221. !! ALL WELCOME!!
 
NEWCOMERS
We haven't had space to welcome new members for some months now, so we now extend an extra special welcome to: Estelle Derksen of Bloubergstrand, Kieran Vels and family of Table View, Paula du Toit of Table View, Roland and Pat Desmarais of West Beach - all joining in September 2004. Joining in October 2004 were: Angus and Nella Jeannes of Flamingo Vlei, Yvonne Kenney and family of Table View, Barbara Banks of Bloubergrand and Willem Oosterbaan and family from Pinelands. December's new members:David Scholtz of Flamingo Vlei and Gavin Ralphs, Evelyn and Ingrid Kidder of Milnerton. Sheila Burland and family of Plettenberg Bay.
 
OTHER NEWCOMERS
Rietvlei welcomes three new students, who will be doing their third year practical, as part of the requirements for obtaining a Diploma in Nature Conservation, in and around Rietvlei. They are Cassy Quinton-Sheasby, Jenine Liebenberg & Morne Carstens.
Rietvlei is also fortunate to get the services of Kareemah Jacobs for a year. Her position is funded by the Table Mountain Fund. Kareemah did her third year practical at Zandvlei last year, receiving her diploma in December 2004.
All four newcomers will be based at the City of Cape Town's Milpark office, under Koos Retief. We welcome them and it will be great to get to know them during 2005!
 
RAINFALL FIGURES
As you all know by now, the City of Cape Town is suffering a shortage of water and restrictions on its use are now in full effect. Rietvlei received a total of 425mm during 2004, with only 3mm falling in November and 6,5mm in December. Play your part in conserving water! Everyone living in Flamingo Vlei is waiting to see when and if the central pan will dry up and become dusty again.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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