Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter September 2005
Spring has finally sprung and the rain has continued to fall. This winter has been more like winter used to be in Cape Town , with days and days when the rain fell and it was impossible to get the laundry dry, and the wettest part of winter would always coincide with when you were trying to get hockey/rugby clothes dry. The model aircraft club at Rietvlei has had a river running through it and at one time was more like a harbour that an airport. The daisies are flowering and the birdlife continues to amaze. I spotted flamingos in the Milnerton lagoon near the wooden bridge one Thursday evening in August.
Sad news is that another otter was killed by a car on Otto du Plessis at the beginning of August. Maybe we should start an effort to raise funds for a fence to channel the otters to an underpass so that they don't have to cross this very busy road.
We are having a beach cleanup on Saturday 17 September from 9am to 11 am to support International Coastal Cleanup Week running from 12th to 17th September 2005. Data collected during this program is used to educate the public and develop solutions to solid waste management practices. Through co-operative efforts among government agencies, private industries, community and environmental associations and local citizens, changes in behaviour and practices result, which help to conserve and protect the environment. The annual cleanup is how continued success is measured. Data cards filled in on the 17 th will be sent via Marine and Coastal Management to The Ocean Conservancy in the USA . The plan is to meet at the Rietvlei coastal section gate on the R27, just north of Sunset Beach (but before Dolphin Beach ) at 9am, work on the cleanup until 10.30am and then enjoy a picnic on the newly cleaned beach. PLEASE BE THERE TO SUPPORT THIS GLOBAL INITIATIVE!!
In addition to the Saturday cleanup Friends of Rietvlei is sponsoring the bus transport for Marconi Beam School to send 40 children to do a beach cleanup on Monday 12th September. The children will be going to Dolphin Beach and will be guided by the Rietvlei conservation staff.
Our last Open Day was scheduled for Sunday 7 August. This was abandoned as it was wet and the wind was icy. Our next Open Day will be on Sunday 2 October , meeting at the Education Centre at 2:30pm for tea or coffee and cake (please bring a plate of something to share if you can), followed by a walk at 3pm. Bring friends & family to our education centre to read, chat and look - please come, all are most welcome!!!! If you don't have your own binoculars, the Education Centre has some for you to borrow. Tel 557 3748, Pat, for queries.
A recent evening talk consisted of a talk and a video showing the work that is being done on the Cape Flats . Following on from this, Julie from Cape Splendour Tours led about 12 members on a tour of the nature reserves. We started with Edith Stevens Wetland Park where Zwai Peter treated us to a most informative guided tour and followed up with a tour through Wolfgat Nature Reserve and the Macassar Dunes and then through Khayelitsha and Gugulethu and on to Lungi's restaurant for an authentic African lunch. Altogether it was a most interesting and fascinating tour. Thank you, Julie and thank you Zwai. Your passion for nature is wonderful to experience.
In August a talk was given by Ken Botes of Whale Mark on Whales of Our Coast and their protection. He touched on the hunting of whales that led to the dramatic decrease in the number of these fascinating marine mammals, and the fact that although most countries have banned whale hunting, Japan continues to hunt them.
He passed samples of whale teeth and baleen around the audience and told of his dream of the Whale Museum he is establishing in the old synagogue in Parow. It was a most interesting talk, made very relevant by the fact that the Ken worked at a whaling station in Durban before South Africa stopped the hunting of whales.
Our next EVENING TALK is yet to be finalised. Watch this space! We are possibly combining with Friends of the BCA for a talk on the Battle of Blaauwberg.
Burning of stacked dead brush material will take place on suitable days until the end of September at the bird hide block.
7 000 plants (specially grown up from cuttings taken in the area) have been planted in the bird hide block as part of the Working for Wetlands project.
The July CWAC (Co-ordinated Waterbird Count) saw a good number of birds on the Central Pan, including 120 Great White Pelican, 547 Greater Flamingo, 105 Egyptian Goose, 567 Redknobbed Coot, 584 Blackwinged Stilt, 144 Hartlaubs Gull.
Table View Primary School has sent all of its Gr3 pupils to visit Rietvlei in September. These enthusiastic learners have enjoyed our centre and binoculars.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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