Posted on the 10th December 2015


It is impossible to give a comprehensive description of all the great events of the last year. I therefore only post some of my personal highlights and outings and trip reports that I enjoyed. Keep in mind that most of the events reported on here briefly (and many more) have been described extensively on the BirdLife Overberg club website. Go to

- Anton

Our first outing of the year on 10 January took us to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus:

Klaas's Cuckoos - Riaan
Beautiful Fernkloof - Anton










Southern Double-collared Sunbird - Riaan










On 31 January we visited the Hawston sewage works and Meer-en-See:

Members along the Botriver Estuary - Anton
Greater Flamingos - Riaan









Elaine, Marlien, Charel & myself spent four days between 12 and 15 February at the BIRDERS self-catering Birder Friendly Establishment in Velddrif and enjoyed outstanding bird-watching:

Early morning view from the patio
Waders on the salt flats















Greater Flamingos
Lunch - Images by Anton











Riaan Jacobs spent some time at sea with Dyer Island Cruises illustrating the great potential for pelagic birding off our shores:

Cape Cormorants
White-chinned Petrel
Southern Giant-Petrel










On 19 February we enjoyed a morning outing to the highly underrated Agulhas National Park:

The Springfield homestead beyond the salt pan
Flowers in bloom - Images by Anton















Some of us also attended the official opening of the African Penguin and Seabirds Sanctuary (APSS) at Kleinbaai towards which our club had donated R 30,000.00:












In March our guest speaker was Gerald Wingate who took us on a guided birding tour of Namibia and Botswana. In April Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson discussed the work of BirdLife South Africa's Conservation Division:









A small group of members spent the weekend of 14 March at the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve near Heidelberg:

Grootvadersbosch forests
Images of Liesel Kershoff provided by CapeNature








Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher - Carin
Red-necked Spurfowls - Anton










The morning outing on 19 March took us to the Helderberg Nature Reserve at Somerset West:

Cape Batis - Riaan
Owl - Riaan











Some members attended the Tankwa Karoo Birding Bonanza weekend early in April and Richard Masson returned with some stunning images (as usual):

Namaqua Warbler
Cinnamon-breasted Warbler!!!!!!!!!!










Fairy Flycatcher
Red-capped Lark 










At the monthly meeting in May Brian Vanderwalt and Gerald Wingate presented a workshop on "TRICKY BIRDS" and in June Ian Sinclair told us about birding in Madagascar:

















A small group spent a weekend at De Hoop Nature Reserve between 22 and 24 May:

Caspian Tern
Karoo Korhaan - Images by Richard










On 11 June a group hiked through the beautiful Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve from the Palmiet River to the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens:








On 13 July we presented our annual fun bird quiz as part of the winter soup and sherry evening:

The 2015 winning team: Anita, Hele, Elaine and Paul, with quiz master Mel Tripp














In August we launched the birdfinder web page for the Witzenberg region. This area that includes Wolseley, Tulbagh, Ceres and the Tankwa Karoo is now receiving many more visiting birders and a BirdLife South Africa affiliated club is to be established there early in 2016:
















A small group participated in a day outing to the Bontebok National Park near Swellendam on 6 August:

Secretarybird - Riaan























Our monthly meeting in August took the form of a workshop on the identification of LBJs:

Chat Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher











African Dusky Flycatcher
Ashy Flycatcher - Images by Anton










On 5 September we presented a morning workshop on the identification of summer migrants:


























We also presented eight Flight for Birders courses during the year. The courses at Tulbagh and Ceres resulted in a BirdLife South Africa club being formed for the Witzenberg region on 14 January 2016:

At Grabouw
At Intaka Island, Century City










At Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve, McGregor
At Ceres










At our monthly meeting on 14 September Dr Phoebe Barnard discussed some recent trends resulting from the research programme on climate change and fynbos endemics:

Orange-breasted Sunbird - Anton
Phoebe with Cape Batis at ringing session











Cape Sugarbird - Carin










The very popular midweek outing to Nature's Valley was fully booked as usual and it now seems as if this is going to become an annual event:

Kostaplenti at Nature's Valley
Grootrivier mouth at Nature's Valley











Part of one of the dawn chorus patrols
Circles in a forest










Knysna Turaco
Chorister Robin-Chat - Images by Anton











On 12 October Dr Odette Curtis discussed the latest developments at the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust:

Dr Odette Curtis









Denham's Bustards at nest - Anton










On 3 November a group visited two of the top bird-watching destinations in Cape Town - Kirstenbosch and Strandfontein:

Cape White-eyes
Sunbird & ericas










Great White Pelicans
Out of range African Jacana - Images by Riaan










On 9 November Dr Giselle Murison, the Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Manager at BirdLife South Africa discussed the implications of her programme:

Question time - Carin
The Onrus River Estuary - Anton












Many participants described our day outing to De Mond Nature Reserve on 15 November as our best ever - what a place and what outstanding birding!:

Group briefing
Damara Tern - MC











Massed terns - MC
Flamingos & terns - Richard









Whiskered Tern hunting over wheat - Dawid
Ladybird on molesnake - MC











BirdLife Overberg again pushed a team into the field for BLSA's Birding Big Day event, even though for just the morning - Carin, Ilse, Chris & Anton participated. 115 species in five hours were more than satisfactory

Team members with researchers Jessie & Rob
Early start at Arabella








Black-crowned Night-Heron at Vermont - Carin
Immature Brown-backed Honeybird - Carin









Our year-end bash on 5 December was again a huge success. Thank you to Hele, Marlien, Colleen, Elaine, Carin, Titia & Maureen for preparing a brilliant dinner and Dave & Felicity of Newton Johnson Vineyards for again sponsoring the wine. 

BLO Master Chefs


























Thank you to all who had contributed to making this year such a huge success. Wishing you all a peaceful and safe festive season with your families and friends and amazing birding in the New Year. May BirdLife Overberg go from strength to strength in 2016!


CAROL VAN HOOGSTRATEN (posted: 2015-12-14 10:30:52)
And thank you Anton for all your enthusiasm and efforts. Die voeltjies moet ook baie dankbaar wees.
May it be a cheerful Christmas and all the best for the upcoming New Year.
With love
Hoogie and Carol
MC BOTHA (posted: 2015-12-14 10:22:04)
Baie dankie vir al die leersame oomblikke.
CHRIS CHEETHAM (posted: 2015-12-13 10:40:49)
Great overview..thanks Anton..2015 has been an outstanding birding year in our area..