Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter June 2002
From the Hide
There is a film of water almost right up to the hide at the time of writing, and every morning just before sunrise, I see Pelicans standing ankle deep in this water, surrounded by hundreds of Kelp (Cape) Gulls who have roosted there overnight. In summer, when the pan is dry, the number of Gulls roosting rises to over 1500, and I often wonder where these birds go once the pan is full of water. A visit later in the day usually produces the Lanner Falcon, who likes to use the dead trees or boardwalk rails as a perch.
The Flamingo flock is more than 100 strong and seems to divide its time between the south lake and the back pan. We are fortunate to have both Greater and Lesser Flamingos in one flock - most years we only see Greater Flamingos at Rietvlei. I've watched this flock flying often over the past weeks and been thrilled, even though they're usually flying as they are being harassed by light planes and helicopters!
I had the unusual pleasure of watching one of our Fish Eagles flying across the South Lake with a fish firmly clasped in its feet - while I was driving from Table View to Milnerton on the R27 recently! I often see the Fish Eagles while driving on this road, as I know where they hunt from, so if you would like to see them, follow these directions. If you are driving towards Milnerton, pull off into the yellow line just past the point of the peninsula, which divides the North and South Lakes. Look across to the right hand side of the peninsula into the trees and look fairly high up near the top. The Eagles sit there between fishing forays across the lake. Please don't do as I do, which is a quick two-second glance as I'm driving! This could be extremely hazardous, especially if there are vehicles right in front of or behind you! I am not guaranteeing you will see them, as they don't sit there all day, but I've been lucky most days from about 11a.m. onwards. Seeing one carrying a fish was a real thrill, even though I couldn't stop as the traffic was heavy. Not quite what one expects to see from a busy roadway.
Did you know that the Friends of Rietvlei are represented on the following Committees?
Rietvlei Management Group
Blouvlei Environmental Committee
Potsdam Group
Parklands Environmental Liaison Committee
Big Bay Liaison Committee
Milnerton Race Course Development Environmental Committee
Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area
While the above are ongoing Committees with monthly meetings, we also attend Public Meetings concerning any new developments in our area which may affect Rietvlei, and register ourselves as Interested and Affected Parties (IAP's).
Louis Raubenheimer's Alien Vegetation Removal Report for June 2002
We are making progress clearing Rietvlei. As advertised, a hack was held in Rietvlei on Saturday morning 27 April. Although poorly attended, it turned out to be a rather successful morning. While Nelis Visagie tended to the area where shrubs were planted last year, Kees de Jongh and I cleared the area between the model aircraft field and the robot at Sunset Beach. Hundreds of small Port Jacksons were pulled, also in the road reserve along the fence. And that within one and a half hours!
On 27 January I pulled 428 small Port Jacksons within a hundred meter radius from the gate leading to the model aircraft field. On 13 April I repeated the exercise in the same area and removed 350 more small plants. Another follow-up is needed again. This area still has not stabilised.
On Tuesday 12 February a worker and I spent three hours halfway between Sunset Beach and Dolphin Beach in an area I somehow missed last year. We removed a number of fairly large Port Jacksons and three large Manatoka, which we treated with herbicide. I am happy to report that the Manatoka all died. On Saturday 20 April the same worker spent the whole day removing more Port Jacksons from the same area. And on 23 May I used two workers from my Municipal team for three hours to take out some more large trees in this area. Which all goes to show how important immediate follow-ups are. Cleaning the same area last year would have been much simpler and quicker.
We have now also started on the east side of Rietvlei. A team of five highly motivated workers has been making great strides in clearing certain areas.  While clearing along an artificially dug ditch, we discovered a lot of water lettuce in the water, as well as a whole area covered with young sour prickly pear (Opuntia monacantha, previously known as O. vulgaris). The water lettuce was removed but the prickly pear still has to be attended to.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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