Posted on the 1st November 2019


Normal club activities are going ahead as usual. Here are a few highlights of the period under review:
(1). The Xmas in July fundraising dinner was again a huge success and enough funds were raised for the production of nest warning placards for African Black Oystercatchers and White-fronted Plovers nests and more along the Overstrand shoreline.

(2). Club member Jessie Walton was the recipient of the prestigious BirdLife South Africa Owl Award for 2019.

(3). A huge effort was put in for International Coastal Clean-up and Recycling Week in collaboration with the Environmental Management Division of the Overstrand Municipality and Plastics SA. More than 20 organisations and agencies participated in the event along the Cape Whale Coast. The BLO monthly coastal clean-ups are now being sponsored by the People n Planet campaign of Pick n Pay.

(4). Anton’s monthly column in Landbouweekblad is ongoing and the Editor, Struik Nature and Anton are currently negotiating about the publication of a book featuring the first 30 articles published in the series.

(5). Fourteen “Flight for Birders” and “Flight Higher” bird identification and conservation courses were presented during 2019. The training of CapeNature employees is ongoing and a course is being presented on 26 & 27 October at Algeria for CapeNature staff from the Knersvlakte and Cederberg and tourism officers from local tourism offices. 

(6). Quarterly CWAC counts along all of the Overstrand estuaries finally got off the ground in August and the next one is scheduled for 9 November. We give more detail on some of these issues below.

The new hide at Jessie Walton's dam
Participants in a Flight Higher course










A PowerPoint presentation on the six projects forming part of BirdLife Overberg’s CleanMarine campaign was developed and a summary of the bullet points is as follows:

PROJECT 1: PROTECTING BREEDING SITES OF AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS AND WHITE-FRONTED PLOVERS ALONG OUR COASTLINE: The identification of key breeding sites of African Oystercatchers & White-fronted Plovers along Overstrand coastline went well during the previous two summers and we have a fair idea of key breeding sites along our coastline. It was decided to appoint “Oystercatcher Champions” – these will be individuals at specific spots along our coast who will take responsibility for applying the educational campaigns at their home patches. Training on this should ideally be done shortly.
1.1 OYSTERCATCHERS RAISING CHICKS Several members have taken photographs of breeding birds and adults rearing chicks. Progress was made with the collation of images to illustrate how the chicks develop until they fledge. Jenny Parson’s images of the breeding pair raising their chicks were well documented and disseminated through talks to bird clubs, the website and social media. The main feature of this was that it illustrated the extended period (90 days plus) during which these nesting sites, as well the area where the chicks are being reared need to be protected.

1.2 NEST WARNING SIGNS Officials from the Environmental Division of the Overstrand Municipality agreed in principle to have their red nest warning placards signs replaced to incorporate themes addressed in the placards developed by the Nature’s Valley Trust. At least three (3) placards will be put up around each nesting site and ropes will be used to further demarcate the area within which people or dogs should not be allowed. Discussions in this regard are progressing well and these placards will be rolled out for the next summer. The development of these placards will be financed through funds received from a grant from BirdLife South Africa and an auction at BirdLife Overberg’s 2019 Xmas in July fundraising event. Liezl de Villiers of the municipality indicated that she might also be able to assist financially as she has a budget for signage. This effort will be supported by a variety of educational campaigns. Mark Brown is scheduled to present workshops on this issue and the zoning of beaches for dogs along our coastline during November.

1.3 LARGE BEACH BEHAVIOUR POSTERS It was agreed in principle that these posters initially developed by the Nature’s Valley Trust will be adapted and erected at the Kleinbaai harbour, and the beaches at Grotto, Onrus, Hawston, Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay and Pringle Bay. Quotations for the development of these resources have been received and sponsors are being sought. These posters will be put in place for the summer of 2020/ 2021 due to a current lack of available funds.

1.4 THE ZONING OF BEACHES FOR DOGS Officials from the Environmental Division of the Overstrand Municipality agreed that a zoning system for dogs on beaches will have to be put in place. Such a system has been implemented with great success at various sites along the South African coast such as at Sedgefield, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley. The implementation of this system will however be dependent on the changing of by-laws and this matter is being investigated by the municipality. The development of posters, educational and information campaigns and the like and the financing thereof will be undertaken once the by-laws have been changed. Mark Brown will facilitate workshops in November to set up experimental sites for such zoning along our coastline.

NVT nest warning sign to be adapted
The protection of oystercatcher nest sites












2.1 THE METHODOLOGY Monthly coastal clean-ups have been undertaken during most months since October 2017 and previously between 2006 and 2008. Reports on these are being published on a regular basis. The results of the quantities of items gathered are submitted to Plastics SA and the Oceans Conservancy in the USA. We express our sincere appreciation to our managers Elaine Odendal and Helé Oosthuizen, to Plastics SA for the provision of equipment and to the People n Planet campaign of Pick n Pay for their sponsorship.

2.2 INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEAN-UP & RECYCLE WEEK Discussions were undertaken with the staff of the Environmental Division of the Overstrand municipality in view of developing a huge coastal clean-up along the entire Overstrand coastline for International Coastal Cleanup Day on 21 September. We thank Steven Nlokwana and Marco Cornelius of the municipality for co-ordinating this effort – more than 20 agencies, clubs and schools participated. It is proposed that such efforts be repeated regularly on a quarterly and maybe even monthly basis. The BirdLife Overberg CleanMarine monthly coastal clean-ups can be used as an ideal vehicle for this.

2.3 FIGHTING SINGLE USE PLASTICS We are continuing with a sustained campaign to minimise the use of single use plastics and have recently reached the total weight of 125kg of plastics in ECOBRICKS. These plastics now do not go to landfill sites or pollute the environment and the bottles are being delivered to the People n Planet campaign of Pick n Pay and being used in a community development project in the Cape Flats. We thank all members and other participants for their continued support in this regard. We will continue with our fight against FISHING LINE along our beaches and the use of PLASTIC STRAWS and BALLOONS.

EcoBricks delivered to Pick n Pay
Dog zoning poster at Sedgefield









3.1 The BirdLife South Africa BIRD OF THE YEAR EDUCATIONAL POSTERS AND RESOURCES of the last two years (the African Black Oystercatcher and the Secretarybird) have been disseminated to many schools in the region. This project will be ongoing.

3.2 TRAINING COURSES A review of the CleanMarine campaign has also been incorporated into both the Flight for Birders and Flight Higher courses and has been presented in 14 courses until now. It will also be included in all future courses. Several members have also presented talks on related topics to a variety of bird clubs, school groups and other organisations. 

3.3 COASTAL BIRDS BROCHURE The BLO identification brochure on the common coastal birds of the Western Cape was revised to include text describing our conservation campaigns focusing on the African Black Oystercatcher. The new brochure was developed and printed through a grant from the IBA division of BirdLife SA. The use of these brochures and subsequent reprints will form the cornerstone of several of our future educational efforts in support of the CleanMarine campaign.

3.4 SCHOOLS COMPETITIONS MARINE MONTH COMPETITION BY THE DYER ISLAND CONSERVATION TRUST. DICT in partnership with Overstrand Municipality, CapeNature and BirdLife Overberg run an annual competition with the schools along the coast from Kleinmond to Gansbaai. The aim of the competition is to create awareness about our MARINE ENVIRONMENT, PLASTIC POLLUTION, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and CATCHMENT TO COAST. The competition celebrates MARINE MONTH. We thank Tobie and Runette Louw who represented BLO as judges earlier this month – the awards event when the 30 winners will be taken on a whale watching cruise is scheduled for November.

The last ten fishing line bins will be set up at identified spots along the Hermanus cliff path and at Sandbaai before December. This will imply that the entire Overstrand coastline will be covered after employees of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust had covered most areas east of Hermanus. Regular media releases and radio interviews will continue. Our thanks go to DICT & Plastics SA for the provision of the bins and other materials and for their ongoing support. We also express our sincere appreciation to Frank Spratt and Tom Casey for assisting us with the installation of the bins.

Fishing line bins ready for installation
The updated coastal birds brochure









Coordinated Water Bird Counts along all the Cape Whale Coast estuaries were finally undertaken during August 2019 and the hope is expressed that these counts will be done on a regular quarterly basis. These replace the quarterly Big Bird Counts undertaken by BLO members over the last three years. The results go to the Estuaries Managers of BLSA & CapeNature for discussion at the meetings of the various Estuary Management Forums. These counts should enable the forums to make more meaningful decisions regarding the conservation of birds & other issues along these estuaries.
THE FOLLOWING ESTUARIES APPLY: Palmiet River Estuary/ Kleinmond Lagoon/ Botriver Estuary (5 different sites)/ Vermont Salt Pan & Onrus Lagoon/ Klein River Estuary (2 sites)/ Uilenkraals River Estuary.
The Tygerberg, Kleinmond, Hermanus and Stanford Bird Clubs, BirdLife Overberg, CapeNature, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and other volunteers participate in this.
We express our sincere appreciation to Carin Malan for coordinating this huge effort.

The setting up of cigarette butt bins along our coastline is under investigation and consultations in this regard were undertaken with various local organisations. It was decided that an alternative plan to address the problem of cigarette butt pollution will have to be developed. A detailed project proposal for an in-depth qualitative study to investigate cigarette butt littering behaviour was developed and is currently being circulated in view of possible funding. One of the big tobacco companies expressed interest in possibly sponsoring this project and a date before the end of November is being sought for the start of negotiations in this regard.

ANIMALS & BIRDS STRANDING NETWORK: Note should also be taken of talks that were undertaken on the possible development of a more integrated system of reporting the stranding and injury of sea creatures and birds along the Overstrand coastline. Several agencies were involved in these discussions and all reporting will in future be coordinated by the African Penguin and Seabirds Sanctuary (APSS) at DICT. We thank Theanette Staal of APSS for coordinating this project in future.

# It is evident that significant amounts of money will have to be raised in order to sustain and support these projects. The BirdLife Overberg committee is in the process of registering as a NPO & PBO. A Special General Meeting was held on 14 October where appropriate changes to the BirdLife Overberg constitution were approved by more than 66% of the membership by being present or through proxies. These changes were needed for the mentioned registration process.
# The usual fundraising efforts such as the annual Xmas in July dinner, the charity golf day and donations from members & others will however continue.
# We thank BirdLife SA, Plastics SA, the People n Planet campaign at Pick n Pay & several members for their support until now.

24 October 2019.

The Onrus River estuary
At the Bot River estuary







Coastal clean-up at the Hoek van de Berg Reserve









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