Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter July/August 2002
From the Hide
I visited the hide late July after good rains and walked across the boardwalk out over a vast lake. Wonderful to have Rietvlei full again. The water level is already dropping so we live in hope of plenty more rain. Hundreds of birds had responded and flocks of Ducks, Gulls, Ibis and Plovers were enthusiastically going about their business.
Good birding areas at the moment are the Dolphin Beach ponds and the river below Blaauwberg Rd Bridge. I saw three Painted Snipe in the Dolphin Beach north pond, also known as Waves Edge pond a week ago. Two pairs of Grey Herons are attempting nest building in one of the reed beds right in the middle of the water - not a good idea, if water levels rise too high. The recent bird count at Rietvlei produced large numbers of Shelduck, which are recorded as uncommon at Rietvlei. One of the Fish Eagles put on a wonderful display for us, frightening hundreds of Ducks and Ibis out of the reeds just in time for us to count them. Due to low water levels at the time of the count, count results were also low.
Evening Meeting
We hear a lot about Environmental Management Plans when large constructions works are underway, but have you ever wondered what an EMP is, and what an Environmental Site Officer actually does? Construction at the Milnerton Racecourse is under way and Guy Musson of Mpangu Environmental Services is the Environmental Site Officer and is going to be our Guest Speaker at our first evening meeting of this summer. He will also tell us about the Racecourse development.
Date: Thursday 22nd August 2002
Time: 7.30p.m. for 8p.m.
Venue: Milnerton Aquatic Clubhouse, off Pentz Drive, Table View
Speaker: Guy Musson on Environmental Site Management.
Welcome to New Members:
Jack & Marie Mangan, Piet & Joy Slabbert, Tony Hill & family all of Table View.
Walk and Work Party
Set aside Sunday 1st September 2002 at 3p.m, for a get together, work party and walk to the hide. We meet at the Amphitheatre and hope to plant a few bushes for Arbor Week, have a picnic tea and if the weather is good, take a walk to the hide. Hopefully, we will see plenty of birds and some spring flowers. Please bring garden tools, refreshments and binoculars. Remember to bring your Membership Card to allow you free entry. This is a great opportunity for new and old members to meet and if you have not yet been to our bird hide, this alone is a good reason to join us.
Education Centre
We have some very exciting plans which will be detailed in later newsletters. At present we can say that we hope to have our long-awaited Education Centre up and running by the end of the year. One of our Corporate Members has expressed an interest in sponsoring a small wooden cabin-type structure behind the amphitheatre to be used for the purpose of educating school groups visiting Rietvlei. Such a structure falls within the Rietvlei Management Plan and will be a boon to those educators (and pupils) who battle with the elements! The structure (about the size of a double garage) will provide shelter from the rain and wind and we may even use it for our evening meetings. We are still in the process of applying for plan approval and further details will follow. We will need plenty of help furnishing and fitting the interior and hope that many members will want to become involved. We are also in the process of designing and printing some beautiful posters of birds specific to Rietvlei.
Over 300 school pupils have already visited Rietvlei this year in the care of Natasha Deare, the Nature Conservation Student working at Blaauwberg Administation and some schools have cancelled due to adverse weather conditions! If you know of any school who would like an educational outing to Rietvlei, please contact Natasha on 550-7564.
Intaka Island (Blouvlei)
Your committee is represented on the Blouvlei Environmental Committee and has been involved in this area since its sandy beginnings. August is a great time to visit, flower season is in full swing and the birds have followed suit and started breeding in the heronry area earlier than previous years. At the moment there are over 30 nests, including those of Grey Heron, Blackheaded Heron and Reed Cormorant. A R5 entrance fee will buy you a map and trail brochure. You can get to Intaka Island by travelling up Montague Drive and across Bosmansdam into Century City grounds. Go through the security boom, round the traffic circle and turn left into the gates on the opposite side of the circle. We will organise another outing to this area during October for those unsure of the way.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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