Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter October 2005
Our next Open Day is planned for Sunday 6 November, meeting at the Education Centre for refreshments (feel free to bring a plate of something to share if you can) at 2:30 pm before setting out for a walk at 3 pm. Bring friends and family to our centre to read, chat and look – all are most welcome. If you don't have your own binoculars, the Education Centre has some for you to borrow, and there are newly updated bird lists if you are unfamiliar with the bird-life of Rietvlei. Telephone Pat on 557-3748 or Barbara on 554-1455 for queries.
We are combining with Friends of the BCA for a talk on the Battle of Blaauwberg. In light of the bi-centenary of the Battle of Blouberg in January 2006 the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area (BCA) will be hosting a talk by Gary Thompson on the Battle on Tuesday 18th October, 7:30pm for 8pm . The meeting will be held at the Cabin at Eerstesteen. Please contact Cindy Welch on 084 9201160 if you have queries.
A date for you to diarise : our last evening talk for 2005 (that time already!) is planned for Thursday 17th November, 19h30 for 20h00, which will combine our end of year social with a report-back by the Students.
I have been attending the Ward 4 council meeting representing the natural environment. The whole of the Rietvlei PNE is included in this ward and is our main focus to manage properly. To enable the municipality to do this, an amount of R20 000.00 (operational budget) & R50 000.00 (capital budget) was proposed for alien clearing and fencing respectively for the 2006/7 budget of next year. Both these actions are labour intensive and skills can be taught for those people who are in need of jobs.
Nelis Visagie
Spring has come to Rietvlei!      by Kareemah Jacobs
  Great news! A vast number of plant species have been added for Rietvlei this year. The list is currently at 215! Of the 215, 5 plant species are listed in the Red Data Book, i.e. they are threatened with extinction. Three of these are quite common at Rietvlei: Hermannia pinnata (poproos), Arctotis stoechadifolia (Gousblom) and Psoralea repens . The latest addition is a beautiful vygie, Lampranthus sociorum (RDB), near the Bird Hide Block. Since the Bird Hide Block has been opened by alien clearing and brush burning, a number of bulb species have been seen, including Romulea obscura and Moraea species. The list includes 13 beautiful Irid (bulb) species! There are a number of pressed herbarium specimens for all to see, in the Rietvlei Education Centre.
  So, the next time you visit Rietvlei, take a walk through the Bird Hide Block, and you might come across something new.
Fauna Introduction.    by Koos Retief
  During September the City of Cape Town nature conservation staff introduced two porcupines ( Hystrix africaeaustralis ) to the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve. Porcupines are thought to have occurred here naturally, but recently none have been seen. The first porcupine was trapped on 12 September outside the Tygerberg Nature Reserve (where it had been causing a problem in a neighbouring resident's garden) and released at Rietvlei on the same day. The second one came from near Die Oog Nature Area, Bergvliet, and was released on 29 September. Both were released in Rietvlei's bird hide block and have been dubbed "Asterix and Getafix". At Rietvlei, these borrowing nocturnal rodents' main diet will consist of Arum lily ( Zantedeschia aethiopica ) bulbs, but may include many other types of vegetable matter as well. Signs of their presence in the field will include detached q uills and evidence of diggings.
Friends of Rietvlei joined in the International Coastal Cleanup initiative by holding a beach cleanup at Rietvlei Beach (opposite North & South Vleis off the R27) on Saturday 17 September. We filled 20 large garbage bags with various types of litter and filled in data sheets that will be forwarded via Marine and Coastal Management to The Ocean Conservancy in the USA .
Our cleanup yielded a huge number of plastic bottle caps, by far the biggest culprit at this time. No metal can-pulls were found and considering what a problem these were in the past, this is thanks to cans now having pull-tops that remain attached to the cans. Very few glass bottles were picked up and this is due to the increased emphasis on recycling. So now, manufacturers of plastic bottles need to develop lids that remain attached to the bottles. In addition to plastic litter, we picked up discarded shoes, a Tupperware mug and toothbrushes and items such as shampoo bottles that probably washed up on the beach after having been thrown into the sea from passing ships. It was a beautiful day, and having done our duty, we sat on the newly unlittered beach and enjoyed a picnic while enjoying the scenic beauty of the sea with Table Mountain as a backdrop. We hoped to see whales frolicking, but apart from a single spout, saw no sign of these huge mammals. We did, however, see a seal surfing in the waves.
In addition to our cleanup day, school groups from Marconi Beam School and Ysterplaat Primary School , have come to do beach cleanups as part of the initiatve. Friends of Rietvlei assisted with bus transport and refreshments for these cleanups.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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