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.
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
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)….
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
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!
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!!
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.
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!
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.