Somerset West Bird Club Weekend Outing to Oewerzicht Farm and Greyton
Posted on the 3rd August 2017
As club secretary, I had the privilege of arranging a weekend stay from 5–7 May for 18 of us at Oewerzicht which is a fully operational farm, 9kms from Greyton, harvesting apples, pears, broccoli and cauliflower for most of the year. A few of us stopped, en-route, to explore the interesting and historic village of Genadendal, the oldest Moravian mission village in Africa with church buildings and a school dating back to 1738. Some of our party were housed in the Safari Tents, whilst the majority of us were in 3 adjoining cottages (see above). Typical of birders, we had all started birding from the moment we left home and there were reports of Blue Cranes, Spotted Eagle-Owls and African Stonechats. Friday evening there was a group braai at one of the cottages where there was much eating, drinking and “bird talk”. Saturday was an early morning start with a walk through the farm. Our first call and sighting of the morning was the Blue Cranes flying overhead. Giant Kingfisher, Brown-hooded Kingfisher and Levaillant’s Cisticola were all on the menu that morning. The farm is beautifully situated with panoramic views of the surrounding mountain range and a river flowing through the farm. The best way to explore it is to amble which is just what we did; spotting a few more birds as we strolled along. Somehow the farm dog found us and was a huge source of entertainment and a bundle of energy (he may have frightened some of the potential bird spotting we could have had). He was great company, nonetheless. Later on in the morning we all set off to Greyton to visit the well-known food market (slight diversion from birding but great fun as it was lovely to know we were supporting the locals). Everyone had free time then and some of us went to the Greyton Nature Reserve, whilst others walked the streets of Greyton where many birds were spotted. For lunch we met up at Fiore’s Coffee Shop for a snack. What a lovely spot; set within a small, quaint but pretty nursery. There were Lesser Double-collared Sunbirds flitting about and birds chirping all over the place. We were well received and each of us left with a little plant given “on the house”. The evening turned into a cacophony of much laughter, chatting, wine flowing freely and the men making great big fires with all the complimentary wood we had received. Copious mounds of food were served up and shared amongst us all. Fellowship was happening in a big way and everyone was in jolly good spirits. Consequently many of us woke up with a throbbing headache the next morning! Sunday was a really slow start and the only one really out and about was the Bokmakierie who was royally entertaining himself by flitting from one car’s wing mirror to the next. A few brave souls went for another stroll and were treated to a few more birds that we could add to our list. Our group disbanded late morning and everyone made their own way home via varying routes. My little party returned to Greyton to visit the reserve as it was cool and we wanted to visit it as none of us had been there before. So pleased we went! Proteas blooming, the most stunning walks with streams and views of the mountains. Lots of Sunbirds again and finally a few Cape Sugarbirds were spotted. An absolute gem of a place – really beautiful. Perhaps not the best bird-sighting weekend but certainly a great one for socialising, making new friends and building strong bonds between members. One thing is for certain; we are all passionate about birding, nature, wine and braaing. (Not necessarily in that order!).