BIRDLIFE OVERBERG COASTAL CLEANUP ON 13 JANUARY 2018
Posted on the 13th January 2018
Eight members of BirdLife Overberg participated in the second coastal cleanup along the eastern shoreline of the Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve. It was the fourth monthly cleanup undertaken by members of the club. This is certainly one of the most stunning stretches of coastline along the Cape Whale Coast shoreline and needs to be experienced. We started from Brekvisbaai and worked westwards towards the first bay that we previously named “Tern Bay” and for obvious reasons.
Let us just give context: This is being done in collaboration with and in support of Antonio De Silva-Swart’s work with the Coastal Cleanup Conservation Trust. We also thank Whale Coast Conservation for providing the bags sponsored by Plastics SA. This monthly cleanup forms part of BirdLife Overberg’s broader campaign on the conservation of the Overstrand coastline and estuaries. The other projects are the identification of key breeding sites for African Black Oystercatchers and White-fronted Plovers and regular bird counts along the three main estuaries in the region. Fishing line and cigarette butt bins will also be installed at key spots along our coast. Several environmental education initiatives are also being planned for 2018, with the African Black Oystercatcher as the central theme of the year. This is done in support of BirdLife South Africa’s Bird of the Year campaign.
Hoek van de Berg coastline 1 - Carin Malan
Hoek van de Berg coastline 2 - Carin Malan
It was a beautiful clear and windless morning and the birds were very active. Species heard calling continually from the coastal thickets included Bar-throated Apalis, Bokmakierie, Southern Boubou, Cape Bulbul, Sombre Greenbul, Karoo Prinia and Southern Tchagra. There were coastal birds flying all over the place and with several oystercatchers being prominent. There were not as many coastal birds around as in October, but we were able to identify species such as Cape Cormorants, Common Greenshank and Whimbrel. In the end I managed to log 35 species on BirdLasser, even though this was not the purpose of the day.
The cleanup was interesting and very rewarding. We worked in threes with one marking off the litter items collected. This is done on the standard form developed by the Oceans Conservancy, an international agency based in America. The information will be forwarded to them, as well as Plastics SA. This is done to gain a better world-wide understanding of the negative impact of plastics on our oceans.
Oy feeding chick - Wessel Uys
White-fronted Plover - Charles Naude
An Excel spreadsheet of the littler collected is available from us, but we hereby merely highlight a few findings. We were very surprised with how clean the area was compared to the cleanup in October 2017. Last year we estimated that just less than 500 meters of fishing line was removed from the rocks. Today we only collected about 30 meters of fishing line. It is also significant that only very short pieces of fishing line were collected today. This might suggest that if we clean a stretch of coastline properly it has a fairly lasting effect.
Other prominent items during October included plastic bottle caps – the 105 caps were today down to 19, plastic straws and stirrers – down from 86 to 17, plastic beverage bottles – down from 87 to 21 and small pieces of plastic – down from 262 to 91! This is very encouraging and leaves one with the feeling that these coastal cleanups are really worth the trouble. We all agreed that this section of coastline will only be cleaned again after the first big winter storms.
The bags of litter will be delivered to the recycling plant where it will be sorted and processed. We all agreed that this is a very satisfactory and rewarding exercise and we are looking forward next month’s cleanup along the Onrus and Vermont shoreline. This will be done on Saturday 17 February, when the children from the Hermanus SwopShop will again join us.
My appreciation goes to everyone who had participated and we are looking forward to welcoming those members who could not make it today to next month’s cleanup. We appeal to all members to become involved in this campaign and see how many friends and other interested parties you can involve. Also let us know if you want to clean a specific section of coastline close to where you live on a regular basis and we will assist you to get going. Contact Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 455 8402 to volunteer your support.