21 October 2012

Whiskered Terns

Whiskered Terns have been observed for the past few days in the flooded areas at Nethercourt, between the river and the farmhouse on the N side of the road. A first for our area.

02 November 2011


Hello all. I have submitted the Greyton Nature Reserve as a public MyBirdPatch,  drawn the map in for anyone to see, and a quick first list submitted. Go to http://mybirdpatch.adu.org.zaStuart

05 September 2011

July bird outing

There was a surprisingly good turnout for the July trip considering the choice of destination - Caledon sewage works, where permission and access had been previously arranged. The intrepid birders made their way down past the oxidation pans and ending up at the clean water dam to the north of the site. Mother Nature smiled on us and kept the wind in the right direction. We saw the expected array of ducks, teals, and herons with a few waders. Much better birding can be expected in the Summer so a return trip will be arranged.  There was much discussion about the erection of a hide at the bottom dam. This has been proposed to the municipality in the past and representation made by BirdLife Overberg, but to no avail. Avitourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, and a bird hide here would undoubtedly enhance local tourism.  There is easy and reasonably concealed access, with adequate parking. It need not be a complex or expensive structure, preferably made from alien woods as at Rooisands - any volunteers? The morning was rewarded for the newly-named Greyton Gastrobirders with a delicious lunch at Driefontein. 

03 August 2011

Check out our new animated weather window - click on it to go to full screen then click on days and use the arrows to move through time.

14 July 2011

Guidelines for bird monitoring at wind farms


Guidelines for bird monitoring at wind farms
Johannesburg, 11 July 2011: BirdLife South Africa (BLSA), the largest bird conservation NGO in South
Africa, fully supports the responsible development of a renewable energy industry in South Africa.
Wind energy, although good for the environment, is not necessarily always good for birds. The most
important impacts of wind energy facilities (WEFs) on birds are displacement of sensitive species
from development areas, and mortality of susceptible species primarily through collisions with the
wind turbines. The nature and extent of these impacts is highly dependent on both site- and speciesspecific
factors and, as there is no detailed understanding of the possible effects of wind energy
developments on South African birds, conservationists are currently making use of the experiences
learnt from Europe and North America.

For all new wind energy facility developments, Environmental Impact Assessments are conducted,
and these include detailed bird impact assessments. The current bird assessments however do not
necessarily provide sufficient information for a decision to be made on the potential impact on birds.
BirdLife South Africa and its partner, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), have therefore produced
and released the “Best Practice Guidelines for Avian Monitoring and Impact Mitigation” to bring the
assessment in line with internationally accepted best practice.

BirdLife South Africa is confident that this proposed advanced monitoring will allow for informed
decisions, and allow wind farms to be developed at sites where impacts on birds are unlikely.
BirdLife South Africa encourages the wind energy industry to show that it respects not only the
carbon and economic benefits of wind farms, but also South Africa’s biodiversity. Globally, the
placement of renewable energy facilities are treated as important and BirdLife South Africa urges
the Department of Environmental Affairs and the financial sector to consider renewable applications
in South Africa no differently.

“The environmental community must work with the renewable energy industry in effectively
managing the environmental and social impacts of energy options to help it understand, avoid and
manage risks,” says Juan Marco Alvarez, Director of the IUCN Economy and Environmental
Governance Group. “We must ensure that renewable energy is developed in the right places,
meaning not just technically and financially, but also environmentally and socially.”
BirdLife South Africa and the EWT are proactively approaching the interaction between birds and
bats and wind energy through the development of the monitoring guidelines, an Avian Wind
Sensitivity Map and a “South African Good Practice Guidelines for Surveying Bats in Wind Farm

“The avifaunal impact assessment must allow for the collection of adequate relevant field data to
support precautionary and strategic decision making,” says Dr Hanneline Smit, BirdLife South Africa’s
Conservation Manager. “This would translate into a baseline survey through pre-construction
monitoring over a minimum of 12 months, which is in line with international best practice,” adds Dr
Andrew Jenkins, representative of the Birds and Wind Energy Specialist Group (BAWESG).
Further, according to Jon Smallie from the Wildlife Energy Programme (WEP) of the EWT, site
alternatives must be considered as part of the pre-feasibility study, or desktop scoping process, for
all projects, particularly given that correct WEF positioning is widely agreed to be the primary means
of mitigating wind farm impacts on birds.

Smit and Smallie recently returned from a Wind Energy and Wildlife Impact Conference in
Trondheim, Norway. The conference dealt with the global and case-specific wind turbine/farm
impacts on birds and bats. Ernst Retief, BirdLife South Africa Gauteng Regional Conservation
Manager, presented the Avian Wind Sensitivity Map, developed by BirdLife South Africa and the
EWT, at the conference to showcase South Africa’s advanced approach of mitigation to minimise the
impact on our country’s birds. Attendance at the conference has strengthened BirdLife South
Africa’s approach to conform to international best practice and guide the wind industry in the
proposed development of wind energy facilities in South Africa.

28 March 2011

The Landmark Foundation

Thousands of animals die each year in gin traps and other predator eradication practices on South African farms.The commonly used methods (e.g. gin traps, killer traps, dog hunting and poisons) are ethically unacceptable and ecologically damaging. New legislation proposes to keep them legal and even rename gin traps as "soft traps".
More than 80% of South African land is under commercial agriculture. This legislation (The Norms and Standards for the Management of Damage Causing Animals) affects the management of all wildlife on agricultural land. 

27 March 2011

Hamerkom sighting

On Saturday morning I saw a hamerkop fly into the Gobos River at the jeep
track crossing for the Maermanskloof /Boesmanskloof Trails. I've never seen
one around here before so wondered if it was unusual - although their
designated area is pretty much country wide.
Jan Burtt

25 March 2011

Position statement on Avifaunal and Bat Impact Assessment for Wind Energy Facilities in South Africa

Position statement on Avifaunal and Bat Impact Assessment for Wind
Energy Facilities in South Africa

Endangered Wildlife Trust & BirdLife South Africa

March 2011

To read this new and important statement please go to: Statement Link

16 July 2010



On Monday 12 July Trevor Hardaker entertained members of Birdlife Overberg with a beautifully illustrated talk on their trip to Argentina and the Antarctic peninsula. This was our traditional winter soup and sherry evening. Our thanks go to Trevor and the ladies who prepared the meal for a very entertaining and enjoyable evening.
The BLO committee decided to bestow honorary club and BLSA membership on four individuals who have made enormous contributions to the conservation of birds and their habitats over the last six months. These are:
Local artist Angela Key donated a fantastic painting of an African Penguin called “Surf Report” that we are currently raffling to raise funds for the development of educational programmes for this endangered bird. This painting added real spice to BLO's first golf day on 10 June and details of the painting and the raffle could be found elsewhere on this website. Angela has contributed to several similar fund raising efforts in the past and to crown it all she has also sold the most raffle tickets up till now. The organizations that will benefit from this effort are BLSA's Seabirds Division, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and SANCCOB.
Glenda is the owner the Mission House Art Gallery in Onrus and has framed Angela's painting mentioned above free of charge. Besides this she has started participating in the raffle aggressively and it is fairly difficult to leave the gallery without buying a raffle ticket. These are the types of contributions to the conservation of species that often go unnoticed.
Stuart is a BLO member who resides in Greyton and has in recent months become heavily involved in commenting on EIA processes related to the alarming number of applications for the development of wind farms in South Africa in general and our region in particular. He has assembled a team of experts to assist him in this regard and their work now represents the “state of the art” on how such comments should be done. An example of one of these comments could be found under the Conservation section of this website and is dated 14 July.
Lee has been a loyal member of BLO for many years and has recently brought her considerable graphic design skills on board. She has designed a series of colorful posters of common birds in specific Overberg habitats such as mountains, fynbos, the wheatfields and coastal areas. These posters have been very well received at our golf day, expos and exhibits and are assisting us tremendously to broaden our membership base.
The committee members of Birdlife Overberg hereby express their sincere appreciation to Angie, Glenda, Stuart and Lee for the considerable contribution that they have made to our club activities. It is hoped that this small gesture of bestowing honorary club and BirdLife South Africa membership to them will lead to a long association with BirdLife activities.
Anton with Angie Key, Trevor Hardaker, Lee Wepener, Glenda Pope and Dr. Stuart Shearer