Posted on the 21st February 2017



Notice of the meeting was given well in advance, together with the Agenda and the Chairman's Annual report that were disseminated through the club's website and the BLOBirdNet.

Members present were welcomed and apologies noted.
APOLOGIES: Anita de Jager, Margaret Graham, Mike Graham, Mike Heyns, Mark Lane-Jones, Dawid Malan, Peta McAdam, Barry Moult, Colleen Naude, Estelle Neethling, Jenny Parsons, Steve Peck, Cherry Rombeck, Hugo Slabbert, Wilana Smidt, Annie Spratt, Madeleine Swart, Johannes en Elaine van der Merwe, Conrad van Heerden, Wilmien van Heerden

MEMBERS PRESENT: Titia Ballot, Barbara Baughan, Keith Baughan, Ruth Bester, Ilse Bigalke, MC Botha, Charel Bruwer, Marlien Bruwer, Chris Cheetham, Paula Combrink, Ingrid Grundlingh, Clifford Heys, Mattie Heys, Elsabé Ketteringham, Richard Ketteringham, Fanie Lombard, Vivie Lombard, Carin Malan, Maureen Moult, Charles Naude, Chris Neethling, Anton Odendal, Elaine Odendal, Helé Oosthuizen, Michelle Papke, Almari Robbertse, Aletta Robbertson, Frank Spratt, Stan Steyn, Cynthia Strunck, Carl Swart, PC Theron, Anthony van Hoogstraten, Carol van Hoogstraten, Jenny Westwater.

There were no matters arising from previous minutes noted and the minutes of the 2016 AGM were therefore accepted.

The meeting took the form of a PowerPoint presentation prepared by Anton reviewing the year's activities.


SPEAKERS: The committee was again able to put together a varied and entertaining series of lectures focusing on visits to fascinating birding sites, critical conservation issues and usually very entertaining guest speakers.
# 18 January: Richard Masson told us about his BIRDING BIG MONTH – his travels through several Western Cape Reserves, the Karoo, Marekele and Kruger National Parks, the Bloemhof Dam and many more.
# 8 February: BirdLife Overberg ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2016.
# 14 March: Dale Wright, the Western Cape conservation manager of BirdLife South Africa, gave feedback on progress with his work, as well as the HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL research project.
# 11 April: Andre Botha, the manager of the Birds of Prey Program at the Endangered Wildlife Trust, focused largely on the conservation status of AFRICAN VULTURES.
# 9 May: Our annual talk on a topic not related to birds highlighted the work of the CAPE LEOPARD TRUST. We would like to thank the committee, as well as members who had all contributed to sponsoring a camera trap for the Cape Leopard Trust. We were delighted to receive the first images taken by our camera trap, which confirmed that Scott, the dominant male leopard in the Kogelberg region is still fit and well.
# 13 June: Prof Peter Ryan, the Director of the Fitz at UCT, spoke on PLASTICS IN OUR OCEANS. This talk attracted a record crowd for our club meetings.
# 11 July: Annual FUN BIRD QUIZ evening.
# 15 August: Jessie Walton and Rob Martin on the BROWN-BACKED HONEYBIRD AND KAROO PRINIA brood parasite interplay – fascinating research findings from the Overberg region.
# Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September: Andre Botha, the Manager of the Birds of Prey Program at the EWT presented a workshop on the identification of raptors. This workshop attracted 50 participants. Venue: Fernkloof Nature Reserve, Hermanus.
# 12 September: The birding delights of the TANKWA KAROO by Anton Odendal.
# 10 October: Brenda du Toit and colleague of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust spoke on recent developments at the Trust and progress with the AFRICAN PENGUIN AND SEABIRDS SANCTUARY (APSS).
# 14 November: Rick Nuttall on the WAXBILL FAMILY.
# 19 November: Year-end dinner.
We express our sincere appreciation to all speakers who shared their considerable experience and knowledge with us. We will once again do our utmost to get top quality speakers at our meetings during 2017.

CATERING: The catering at the monthly meetings is still very well received. We thanked everyone who had contributed to this great effort as this is still injecting a lot of new energy and enthusiasm into our meetings. The committee recommends that the R 80.00 fee per meal be maintained for 2017 - ACCEPTED

APPRECIATION TO MOLLERGREN PARK: We have indeed been privileged to have been able to present our monthly meetings and Flight for Birders courses at Mollergren Park. This is a marvelous venue and most of our speakers have commented on this. Our appreciation goes to the Mollergren Park management.

SPEAKERS CONFIRMED FOR 2017 – Duncan Butchart on BIRDING IN BORNEO (January)/ BirdLife Overberg AGM (February)/ Dr Sally Hofmeyer on LARGE TERRESTRIAL BIRDS & CITIZEN SCIENCE (March)/ Carin Malan on SUBJECT OF HER CHOICE (April)/ Johan Rothman on the RAMSAR SA project & the state of the country’s ESTUARIES (May)/ Dieter Oschadleus on the WEAVER FAMILY (June)/ A CHRISTMAS IN JULY CELEBRATION (July)/ Workshop on our ESTUARIES AND COASTLINE (September)/ Anton celebrating the SHRIKES OF SA (September)/ Duncan Butchart on the WOODPECKERS OF SA (October)/ NB! 18 November – Year-end function. 

# 9 April: PELAGIC BIRDING CRUISE from Kleinbaai with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.
# 11 June: Strandfontein Sewage Works cancelled due to weather.
# 10 July: PELAGIC BIRDING CRUISE from Kleinbaai with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.
# 30 July: Birding hike at ARABELLA ESTATE.
# 18 September: Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust near De Hoop Nature Reserve cancelled due to poor weather.
# 20 September: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
# Saturday 8 October: Danger Point Peninsula, to include a visit to the African Penguin & Seabirds Sanctuary (APSS) cancelled due to bad weather.
# 5 November: BERGSIG WINE ESTATE and Bainskloof Pass along the Breede River.
# 19 November: Fynbos and birds at FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE.
# 26 November: BirdLife South Africa's annual Birding Big Day. Team Rockjumper achieved second prize nationally for seeing the second most endemic species on the day.
# 11 December: Birding hike at ARABELLA COUNTRY ESTATE.

# 11 to 14 January: Gys se Plek in the KOUE BOKKEVELD – Anton and Elaine.
# 14 January: Formation of the WITZENBERG BIRD CLUB in CERES – Anton and Elaine.
# Sunday 24 January to Friday 29 January: Midweek outing to Duinepos in the West Coast National Park. GROUP LEADER: Chris Cheetham
# Carin, Ilse and friends on a road trip to the KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK.
# Sunday 16 to Friday 21 October: Midweek outing to the Algeria section of the Cederberg Wilderness. GROUP LEADER: Chris Cheetham.

CONFIRMED AWAY OUTINGS FOR 2017: Sunday 29 January to Friday 3 February: Midweek outing to Kostaplenti in Nature's Valley./ Friday 24 to Sunday 26 February: The Wader Bash in the West Coast National Park/ Friday 24 to Tuesday 28 March: Flock 2017 aboard the MSC Sinfonia/ Friday 31 March to Sunday 2 April: Tankwa Karoo Birding Bonanza/ Mid-year outing to Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve to be finalised/ Sunday 15 to Friday 19 October: Midweek tour to Mount Cedar and the Tankwa Karoo.

# Anton will start a birding column entitled DIE VALKOOG in LANDBOUWEEKBLAD in March. 

# Eleven Flight for Birders identification and conservation courses were presented during 2016 at Hermanus, Swellendam, Pinelands, Franschhoek, Villiersdorp, Tulbagh, Intaka Island, Century City (2), Mossel Bay, Betty's Bay and George. (248 participants).

# The launching of the upgraded birdfinder web page for the Cape Whale Coast region was done at the beginning of December. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Table Mountain Fund, WWF-SA and the Agulhas Biosphere Initiative for the grant that enabled us to complete the work. The same applies to the staff members of the Flower Valley Conservation Trust who were responsible for the administration of the project on behalf of the sponsors. On a personal note I would also like to thank all club members and other specialists who evaluated the provisional text of many of the top bird-watching destinations in our region. Herewith brief feedback on the marketing campaign during December 2016: We posted the links to the four completed web pages, together with a list of the 10 top birding sites in each area. These posts achieved 72,000+ views on the WesternCapeBirding & BirdLife Overberg Facebook pages alone. An average of 250+ pageloads and 120+ first time visits per day on An average of 26% of these pageloads were done from overseas. Significantly, an increase in inquiries and requests for guiding, etc five times more than December 2015.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain sponsorship to complete similar projects in other target areas in the Western Cape Province and members are requested to assist in this regard by suggesting potential sponsors or donors. Several project proposals and budgets in this regard have been completed.

3. EDUCATION: The four bird identification brochures are still being handed out at schools and bird courses. We have also committed to do a once-off environmental educational day on birds for the youth of the Mthinkulu Village in Kleinmond during the year

# THE MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN BIRDLIFE OVERBERG AND CAPENATURE: This agreement was terminated due to Keir Lynch resigning from CapeNature. The completion of the Birds in Reserves Project (BIRP) cards was also discontinued and several members registered with BirdLasser and started submitting atlas records on a regular basis. 

# BIRDLASSER: Members are encouraged to participate in the BirdLasser project and it proposed that a workshop in this regard be presented during 2017. Chris Cheetham is putting together a series of workshops in this regard and details will be announced shortly.

# ARNISTON SPA HOTEL APPLICATION FOR BEACH DRIVING PERMIT: Anton gave feedback on our objection to this application and expressed his appreciation to all BirdLife Overberg and Western Cape Birding Forum members for their letters of support and guidance in this regard.

5. THE WESTERN CAPE BIRDING FORUM: We still participate in the meetings of this Forum particularly as far as the development of the provincial birding routes is concerned. Note should be taken of the fact that this is a BLSA sponsored Forum and that we will continue punting the BLSA cause at these meetings. Anton and Carin's new roles as Chairperson and Secretary of the Forum are taking up a lot of their time and they will reconsider their possible involvement in this in future. They have at least managed to sort out several problems that they had inherited from the past such as formulating Operational Rules and Procedures for the Forum and getting this accepted by the Board of BirdLife South Africa. They were unanimously re-elected for another term at the Forum meeting on 18 February.

6. COMMUNICATION: Communication through the BLOBirdNet continues and is doing well, even though there are still several members who have not yet registered on the BirdNet. This is creating unnecessary administration and time-wasting and all members are requested to register with the service. Formal invitations will again be forwarded to members.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Paula Combrink for having created a WhatsApp rare bird reporting service for members. This has created “pop-up outings” where members set up outings on short notice – this is proving to be extremely popular. All members are invited to contact Paula in view of joining the group.

The club website as part of the Overberg Birding Route site on is doing well and events and reports are being updated on a continual basis. Members are encouraged to visit the website regularly to stay abreast of events. We have introduced a section on trip reports and this has proven to be extremely popular. Kindly submit reports of all your trips, even if it is only a morning outing. The committee decided to investigate the possibility of reviving the club photographic competition and Carin Malan will co-ordinate this. We need help with the administration of the website and members are requested to volunteer their services – contact Anton in this regard.

Our Facebook and Twitter accounts, for BirdLife Overberg, Western Cape Birding and Flight for Birders continue. This is hugely successful and has more than tripled visits to the website. Members not yet part of this are encouraged to send a Friend Request to Anton Odendal as this is by far the most effective and rapid way of communicating on events, sightings and the like.

7. FINANCIAL REPORT. Vivie Lombard presented the financial report as approved by J. de W.Koegelenberg & Co. Copies of the report were made available at the Annual General Meeting and members can contact us in view of receiving copies if needed. The financial report approved and accepted. We thanked Vivie Lombard, Elaine Odendal and Mr. Koegelenberg for their hard work in this regard. It was proposed that J. de W.Koegelenberg & Co remain our auditors and the motion was carried.

Note that BirdLife Overberg donated R 10,000.00 to the Nature's Valley Conservation Trust during our recent visit to the area.

It was further proposed that name tags be printed for members for use at meetings and outings. This proposal was rejected by members present.

8.MEMBERSHIP FEES - 2017: It was proposed that the membership fees be increased by 7 % and this was accepted. Members who had not yet paid their membership fees for 2017 are requested to do so at their earliest possible convenience.

9. DONATIONS: We express our sincere appreciation to all members have made donations during 2016.

10. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE FOR 2017: We thank all members of the 2016 committee for their dedication and hard work during the year. It was accepted that the current status quo and format of committee meetings be maintained.

The meeting ended at 20: 25 and dinner sponsored by the committee was enjoyed by all present.

(Images to follow)


CAROL VAN HOOGSTRATEN (posted: 2017-02-21 21:14:55)
And a BIG thank you for all your hard work and passion for conservation. We so admire you and your team.
CAROL VAN HOOGSTRATEN (posted: 2017-02-21 18:34:21)
So many familiar faces but often one doesn't know the names. Name tags would be very helpful. The main objection came from a young lady with a good memory!!