FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 4

iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge

You will recall that in the last Newsletter we urged you to participate in the iNaturalist challenge on 26-29 April 2019. Well, some very good news! Cape Town won the competition on the categories that (we think) count:

  • the most number of species – an amazing tally of 4 145 – nearly 1 000 more than our closest rivals, Hong Kong!
  • the most observations - an astounding 6 787 - more than La Paz, our closest competitor, from super biodiverse South America.

 
Gigi Laidler from SANBI (Kirstenbosch) thanked everyone involved in her email:
‘A huge thank you to every one of you who made this achievement possible by participating in the Challenge of taking pictures and uploading them on iNaturalist, and then tackling the mammoth task of doing all the identifications. There are many unsung heros among you who went to great lengths to get those rare and unusual observations, often travelling to really remote parts of the City’s reserves to get one or two species, and those who burnt the midnight oil slogging away at the identifications, helping us reach our goals and making most (74%) of our species Research Grade.

And a special note of encouragement to the novices among you who dared venture into untested waters of using the App for the first time, and others who uploaded their images to iNaturalist on their computers for the first time – you did great, and some of you excelled with posting lots of fantastic observations. We could not have reached the heights we did without you. 

Granted, some observations do leave room for improvement, but only by doing, and practicing, and learning from mistakes, can your observations get better. So take heart, and take more and better pictures, and start practicing now for the next challenge when we get another chance to prove to the world that the Mother City is the best place to be. Even if we no longer have elephants, rhinos and lions roaming our wild areas, we still have a lot of very special wildlife to love and to protect, and you can only protect something if it is known, and that comes from sharing your observations on iNaturalist!

So, now that more of you are aware of the wonders of iNaturalist, please do take photos of the plants (and animals) you see in the undeveloped areas around you and post them on iNaturalist. Every contribution helps improve our understanding of the precarious status of our biodiversity.’

Our FoBCA CREW team also participated, and so did many of our FoBCA members. Of the FoBCA CREW group, Jan Wicht posted the most observations (276) and species (229). In total the CREW team contributed at least 887 observations, 501 species and helped provide 1748 identifications to the competition. 

Go to https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019 to read more about this exciting challenge. It is very easy to participate, so please involve your family, friends and children in downloading the app and start using it. The only category Cape Town did not win was the number of participants category. Let’s see what we can do in 2020! FoBCA 2019 AGM

The FoBCA’s AGM was held on Sat 1 June. It was a misty morning, but it did not dampen the spirit and we had a good attendance of 35 members! 

Click here to find the Chairman’s and Portfolio reports. Please read through the reports and realise how many aspects of the BCA we are involved in, and the work that the FoBCA does through its committee and members. Did you for instance know that our alien hacking team worked 541 man hours in the last year to clear and maintain the alien vegetation, or that our Event posts on Facebook reach 37 000 people (well, that is what they say!)? The financial statements can be requested from our Treasurer Pat Titmuss if you are interested.

The committee was elected unanimously again, except for the role of Secretary. Our long-standing Secretary Cindy Welch resigned, and we want to give her a heartfelt thank you to her for the many years that she served the FoBCA. She was involved from the inception of the FoBCA and will be sorely missed. On this note – we need a new Secretary and if you are interested, please contact our Chairman Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a discussion about what the role entails.

The highlight of the AGM was the talk by Ian van Oordt called ‘An analysis of two Paintings of the Battle Of Blaauwberg – Ian Van Oordt’. Ian is an expert on the Battle of Blaauwberg, and has conducted extensive research on the topic. He could apply this knowledge to the minute detail of the paintings to come to a hypothesis of who the artist was. Many questions were posed to Ian and it was clear that most attendees found it a fascinating analysis.

The AGM also gave the FoBCA the opportunity to say goodbye to Jacques Kuyler, the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve manager of the last 10 years. Jacques gave an interesting overview of his years as manager and the challenges he faced. He transferred from Tygerberg (a Renosterveld reserve), to the BBNR (a marine reserve), and within a few weeks of his new position in 2009 had to face the acid test of having to deal with the Turkish ship Seli 1 that lost its anchor and stranded at Bloubergstrand. Roy Fuller-Gee presented Jacques with a photo collage of his years at the Reserve and some heart-warming family photos.

Eye of the Pangolin Screening

Tuesday 30 July, 19:00

Erin Hall, Rondebosch
Co-hosted by WESSA Western Cape Membership and Pangolin.Africa

Eye of the Pangolin is the story of two South African filmmakers who travel the continent to find the elusive African pangolin, the most trafficked mammal on earth. As they travel the continent to learn more about those caring for and studying pangolins they are captivated by these strange, secretive creatures and document the race to save them from being poached to extinction. From the co-director of the 2015 award-winning documentary Blood Lions.

The 45 minute film will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker Bruce Young, along with Helena Atkinson & Catherine Ritchie from film production partner and conservation NGO Pangolin.Africa

pangolin

Please invite friends and family! 
Entrance: Free, but donations will go towards the distribution of the film to schools across Africa.
Tea/coffee and biscuits will be available.
RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

To watch the trailer of Eye of the Pangolin, click the image below.

Forthcoming FoBCA events

  • 6 July Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
  • 27 July, Sat - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk. Dave Honour, FoBCA registered tour guide and also an expert on KZN battle sites, is the leader. For more information or to book your attendance, please call/SMS Dave Honour at 082 906 4875 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 3 Aug Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details

 The calendar of events is always available on the Home page of our website, as well as on our Facebook page. What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....

pic07
Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter - only 2 left in stock here), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.

At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year. Bring your copy with you when you join the FoBCA CREW team on the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks the first Saturday of every month. See the events calendar for details.

Membership Renewals 

31 March marked the end of the FoBCA membership year. If your membership has lapsed this will be the last newsletter you will be receiving. See at the botttom of this newsletter for your expiry date. (Very recent renewals handed in at Eerste Steen or those paid directly into the FoBCA account without sending a proof of payment, may not yet be reflected in our records.) Please email any queries to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
In conclusion....
Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this brochure, which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member. Kind regards
Jackie Potgieter
FoBCA Membership Communication

P.S. - Have any friends who'd like to join? Print a copy of the new Membership form here, have them complete and email with proof of payment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to have their membership processed.

FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 3

iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge

This event, which was mentioned in our last newsletter, is taking place this coming weekend 26-29 April 2019! There have been many articles in the media about the Global City Nature Challenge and from listening to all the talk, it sounds like Capetonians are ready to take on the challenge! With the abundance and diversity of animal and plant life around us, we stand a good chance to win. 

To help Cape Town win this global challenge, the FoBCA’s CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) team has, together with Blaauwberg Reserve Conservation staff, organised an easy opportunity close by for you to participate in the Challenge. All you have to do is gather your family and friends and go to Eerste Steen this Saturday 27 April. There are 3 or 4 walks arranged to go in various directions in order to cover different areas, accompanied by volunteer CREW members. 

Date: Saturday 27th April
Start Time: 09h00, End Time: 12h30
Venue: Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. Meeting point: Education Cabin at Eerste Steen.  Google Map to Eerste Steen
Contact Person: Petra Broddle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
No need to RSVP, just turn up!

Timetable:
09:00 - 09:30 Registration, introduction, competition rules.
09:30 - 11:30 Walking and photographing the fauna and flora on the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve.
11:30 - 12:30 Back at cabin. Help with uploading of images, information sheet. 

Please bring hat, sunblock, water and snacks. Download the iNaturalist App onto your phone in advance (it is available on Google Play or Apple iTunes AppStore). Alternatively bring a camera and upload your images to the iNaturalist website at home. 

There is no reason to not participate in the Challenge if you can't make this particular bioblitz. Have a look on INaturalist - southern Africa's Facebook page at all the various events happening all around the peninsula. You can join any or as many as you can over the weekend. Or you can just have fun scouring the green (or blue, if you're in the sea) areas wherever in the demarcated area you live or find yourself on these days.
pic01
Good luck Cape Town!

Battle of Blaauwberg Archaeological Survey Finale

Saturday 30th March 2019 saw the final Battle of Blaauwberg battlefield survey by the archaeologists led by Willem Hutten. Having completed his Masters thesis, Willem wanted to have a last get together with fellow enthusiasts, researchers and metal detectorists to thank them for the hard work of the last 6 years in unravelling the hidden details of the Battle.
On a lovely day several members of FoBCA assisted with the last search for any objects still not discovered from previous hunts in the area of the Highland Brigades’ advance on to the Batavian defence position. In particular, Willem requested that the team looked for cannon balls so that additional information could be included to his already comprehensive document of finds. This was well received by ballistics expert, Ian Van Oordt, who was interested in locating evidence of the explosive shells used by the Batavian artillery. Ian requested that he should be notified of any finds whilst still in the ground so that he could examine the features in the soil to assess direction and impact velocity of the projectile. In an amazing feat of metal detecting, Ian was kept busy most of the morning with cannon balls and fragments being discovered at regular intervals.

pic02Ballistics Expert, Ian Van Oordt, explaining the finer details of the shell fragment to metal detectorist Robert. pic03Comparison of fragment against a whole cannon ball.

 
A number of other good finds were made during the morning, including the normal musket balls and in particular, a flint that was researched by the finder Alan as originating from a Charleville musket.

The hunt came to an end with a lunch hosted by Willem. At the lunch he again thanked everybody for their support over the years and conveyed how much he and Louisa had enjoyed the experience. As a mark of his appreciation Willem presented all with a small gift to remember the experiences they have shared. The group of archaeologists have grown over the time to become a group of friends all with a common aim, to reveal information on the Battle of Blaauwberg.

pic04Exceptional find of a French amber flint from a Charleville musket. pic05Lunch in the Reserve hosted by Willem Hutten

Willem and his wife Louisa have been instrumental in shedding a lot of light on what happened on the battlefield, with their in-depth research and recording. It is very sad to see this project come to a close with the permit ending later this year. Hopefully, another archaeological student will soon find a reason to carry on the work started by the Huttens and Marius Breytenbach, and will uncover additional history relating to the Battle.

From all of us at FoBCA we thank all the archaeologists for their fantastic work.

A deep, geological and archeological history of the Cape

The above evening talk was advertised in our last newsletter, and attracted a considerable amount of interest, with over 60 people braving the chilly March evening to attend! Those who missed this fascinating talk by Prof John Compton, can read about the topic on Prof Compton’s website www.johnscompton.com. You can also order his books from the website (those available on the evening were all sold out!). The books are easy to read and very insightful – must-have guides for the Western Cape heritage enthusiast. Kamfers Dam flamingo chicks at SANCCOB

This was posted on 16 April on SANCCOB's Facebook page:
"Not quite the little #FlamingoChicks we admitted 11 weeks ago; they are ready to spread their wings in the wild. 42 #LesserFlamingos are boarding an early morning flight tomorrow, returning to the #Kamfersdam breeding site in the Northern Cape. Keep an eye on our page for more pics as it transpires. We couldn't have done it all without your support - Thank You! 49 will stay behind until our Veterinarian gives the all clear & we are so excited to have reached this point. #savesflamingos #savesseabirds#savetheflamingo #marineconservation"

Here is the formal thank you letter addressed to Friends of BCA. Forthcoming FoBCA events

  • 26 - 29 April - Global City Nature Challenge (see above for details of BBNR bioblitz 27 April, Sat)
  • 27 April, Sat - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk. Dave Honour, FoBCA registered tour guide and also an expert on KZN battle sites, is the leader. For more information or to book your attendance, please call/SMS Dave Honour at 082 906 4875 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 4 May, Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
  • 25 May, Sat - Two Hills Walk in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. To participate in the walk, contact Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or SMS 083 679 4642
  • 1 June, Sat – AGM of the FoBCA.  Please diarise this Saturday morning. We will send out a formal notification as per the Constitution, next week.

The calendar of events is always available on the Home page of our website, as well as on our Facebook page.

What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....

Did you see the article about the Brunsvigias in Table View and the important role the FoBCA played in rescuing these beautiful plants from areas to be developed? Click here to see the Table Talk article. A number of Table View residents contacted the CREW team after the article appeared, and it elicited some interesting discussions.

If you look around you this time of the year, you might just spot Phylica ericoides or commonly called Hardeblaar. This plant has a lovely honey smell, so look out for it (picture below). You can read more about it on the website of SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute): http://pza.sanbi.org/phylica-ericoides


7a60b6c4-80ff-41e1-b774-80ae17d1f41f

Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter - only 2 left in stock here), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.

At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year. Brush up your knowledge in preparation for the Global City Nature Challenge and before the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks start in May.

f970a69d-7bd7-4616-b65e-176d220c72b7

New Membership Year 

31 March marked the end of the FoBCA membership year. A renewal notice was sent to your inbox - please let me know if you did not receive this. Please send me your forms and fees as soon as possible for processing. Thank you, if you have already renewed. See at the botttom of this newsletter for your expiry date. (Recent renewals handed in at Eerste Steen or those paid directly into the FoBCA account without sending a proof of payment, may not yet be reflected in our records.) Please email any queries to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New fees with effect from 1 April 2019:
1 year / 5 years / 10 years
R30 / R150 / R300 - Youth (under 18 or dependant student)/ Pensioner (60 or over)
R80 / R400 / R800 - Individual
R100 / R500 / R1000 - Family (2 adults plus 2 children under 18)
R400 / R2000 / R4000 - Corporate (4 cards issued for 4 adults per card)
Any donations are appreciated, thank you.

In conclusion....

Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this   document brochure (9.22 MB) , which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member.

Friends of BCA save Brunsvigias

scan 2019 04 12 05 50 11 254 001

FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 2

 

March 2019

  • It was great to see those of you who came to touch base at our FoBCA Get-Together on Saturday, 2 Feb.  Thank you to our braai-ers - the boerie rolls went down very well. If you couldn't make it, don't worry, this sort of casual gathering/braai was so enjoyable it could easily become a regular thing.
  • The Big Friends Group we co-hosted with WESSA at Atlantic Beach Estate on 16 Feb was a huge success.  The pre-meeting guided walk through the estate, led by Ruan Janse van Rensburg and Dale Slabbert, was a pleasant stroll with stops to impart the trials of having a residential golf estate in a nature reserve.  Between the presentations, MC, Phil McLean slotted in some speakers who briefly discussed the Kamfers Dam flamingo chicks at SANCCOB (see below); the degradation of biodiversity along our West Coast; and the upcoming Global City Nature Challenge (see below); etc.  Afterwards, guests could enjoy a delicious lunch provided by the Atlantic Beach Country Club kitchen. Take a look at these photos from the event:  

Ruan gives an overview at the clubhouseRuan gives an overview at the clubhouse

 

MC of the day, Phil McLean

 

...and presenters: Gary Avery, Margo and Prof George Branch, Dale Slabbert and Roy Fuller-Gee

 

Other speakers included:

 

Evanne Rothwell (SANCCOB)                     Prof Eugene Moll (botanist)                Dr Tony Rebelo (SANBI)           Natania Botha (WESSA National Membership)    
      

FoBCA and FoR displays outside at the lovely venue

    
During the breaks guests were able to purchase a range of botanical and zoological books, cards, print and magazines.
 
The last presentation of the day - Roy speaking passionately to an audience of 100 people about being the first implementer of WESSA's Green Coast project and the importance of this status.

Public Participation – role of FoBCA
 
The mission of the Friends of BCA, is to conserve, protect and enhance the unique, natural, historical and cultural resources of the West Coast region of Cape Town for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations.
 
It is therefore one of the FoBCA’s duties to comment on developments or other matters in the area that affect the natural, historical and cultural environment.  Members can imagine that with the pace of growth in Cape Town, that the FoBCA is kept very busy with this aspect of conservation.  Here are the matters and developments that we are currently involved in:
 
No Item
1 Proposed mixed-use development on a portion of Erf 1694, Melkbosstrand
2 Support of the motion to parliament to ban public fireworks
3 Cultural Building behind Blue Peter (Highclere Cottage)
4 Cape Nature Call for Comment: Dassen Coastal Complex Management Plan
5 Proposed Boreholes and associated infrastructure on Remainder of Farm 33 and 152, Melkbosstrand
6 Additional storey on Erf 10967 – 9 Shell Road, Table View
7 Proposed mixed-use development on Farm 1, Grootte Springfontein
 
In most cases, the FoBCA gets involved upfront in the formal public participation process by registering as an Interested and Affected party (IAAP), and is from then on considered a stake-holder in the development. 
 
If FoBCA members want to become involved in any of these items and contribute to either the heritage, botanical, cultural or environmental commentary, please contact Roy Fuller-Gee at @This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If members become aware of any items that SHOULD be addressed, then contact Roy as well.
Media release - Prescribed ecological burn at Blaauwberg Nature Reserve

The City of Cape Town’s Blaauwberg Nature Reserve plans to conduct a prescribed ecological burn between February and April 2019. Read more below:

Approximately 40 ha will be burned on the eastern slope, on the Blaauwberg Hill side of the reserve. The actual date of the burn is dependent on weather conditions.  Staff from the City’s nature reserves, assisted by the City’s Fire and Rescue Services section, will manage the burn.  Blaauwberg Nature Reserve staff will ensure that the procedure is conducted efficiently and safely. Fire breaks have been maintained and widened where necessary, and firefighting equipment including fire hydrants have been tested to make sure that everything is in working order.

An application has been made to obtain the required burning permit from both City Health’s Air Pollution Control Section and City Fire and Rescue Services. Comments or objections should be sent to: Air Quality Management, 246 Voortrekker Rd, Vasco, 7460, Tel: 021 590 5200, Fax 021 590 5215, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For safety reasons, the Reserve will be closed to the public on the day of the burn and surrounding residents are advised to keep their windows shut while the burn takes place.  Flammable items, such as gas canisters, should be removed from outside areas and laundry should be taken off washing lines to prevent odour contamination from smoke.

The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve conserves one of the largest remaining areas of critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld and Cape Flats sand fynbos. Prescribed ecological burns are crucial for the management of these highly threatened vegetation types and fire plays a fundamental role in its lifecycle.  Swartland Shale Renosterveld should burn every five to 10 years. By removing the canopy created by the mature vegetation, sunlight is allowed to penetrate at ground level, which helps with seed germination. Fires that take place frequently can lead to a decline in slow-growing species, whereas fires that are too infrequent (over 20 years) lead to the domination of mature plants. Carefully managed burns are therefore necessary to obtain maximum species diversity. Another advantage of burning old vegetation is that it reduces fuel loads which in turn reduces the risk of wild fires.

Blaauwberg Nature Reserve is one of many nature reserves and natural areas managed by the City of Cape Town. The nature reserve is renowned for its diversity of plant life, and the 1 445 ha reserve boasts 620 recorded plant species and new species are continually being discovered.

The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve management thanks residents in the area for their understanding and cooperation.

For further information, please contact Blaauwberg Nature Reserve on Tel: 021 444 0454 or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town 17 January 2019
 

Trail Running Group

FoBCA members who enjoy trail running can join the group of WCAC trail runners who meet on certain Thursdays at 5.45pm at Table Bay Mall to run in the Reserve for an hour of challenging terrain.  Please let us know if you'd like to be added to the mailing list/WhatsApp group in order to receive details.

Friends of BCA and Friends of Rietvlei team up to host presentation
 

A deep, geological and archaeological history of the Cape

Presented by Professor John Compton, Emeritus Associate Professor at the Dept of Geological Sciences, UCT

The Cape has a deep history that stretches back millions of years. This deep history can be read from the rocks exposed in the area, which tell of the many events leading up to the landscape that we see today. The breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, uplift and erosion, changes in climate, changes in sea level, these all played key roles in understanding the deep geological past. The Cape has also been home to our ancestors for the better part of the last one million years. Stone tools scattered over the landscape and cave sites tell us about human evolution from Homo erectus to modern Homo sapiens.

This talk will include some of the major events recorded at the Cape in the evolution of our species, in particular the role of changes in climate and sea level.

Professor John Compton is an associate professor (emeritus) in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Cape Town where he has been since 1996. He has written over 60 scientific papers on the West Coast and is the author of two popular science books: 'The Rocks & Mountains of Cape Town' and 'Human Origins, How diet, climate and landscape shaped us’. Copies of his books will be available for purchase at the talk (R150 and R300, respectively, or both for R400, cash sales only). Visit his website: johnscompton.com for more information.
 
Venue: TBNR Boma, Table Bay Nature Reserve, 10 Sandpiper Crescent, Flamingo Vlei, Table View (Boma is adjacent to the TBNR admin buildings - Friends of Rietvlei will erect banners so you won't get lost.)
Date: Thu 28 Mar 2019
Time: 19h30 for 20h00
Visitors are welcome.  For more information contact Dave Honour on 082 906 4875.
iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge

For the first time, Cape Town will be taking part in the annual Global City Nature Challenge, where cities from the around the world compete to record the most observations of local planet and animals over four days.

The City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member of Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, is encouraging locals and tourists to get involved in the competition.  “We are extremely proud to participate in this globally-important biodiversity competition and look forward to this exciting challenge. We are inviting all Capetonians to ‘bioblitz’ our nature reserves and natural open areas to record everything alive over those four days,” she says.

Running from 26-29 April 2019, the challenge is open to residents and tourists of all ages. It is the first year African cities are taking part, and these include Cape Town, Nairobi and Port Harcourt.

Activities will be held in conservation areas and reserves around Cape Town.  Anyone who is interested in recording and mapping species of flora and fauna and would like to take part in the challenge can head to these reserves.  Tours and ‘bioblitzes’ of the reserves will take place during the challenge. These will be headed by local experts and managers.

Nieuwoudt says the event will encourage locals to get out and about in the city’s abundant nature.  “With over 150 cities taking part, we know this challenge will be no small task for Cape Town. Our city is incredibly blessed with vast nature reserves and many natural open areas, but it is now up to us to showcase and display our fauna and flora. This challenge will provide residents and visitors with a fun opportunity to get outside and actually look for nature in this beautiful city.”

Participants can record any animal, plant, fungi, slime, mold, or evidence of life such as scat, feathers, tracks and shells they find in Cape Town.

How to get involved: 
Participants can register for the challenge on iNaturalist and upload all of their findings. The iNaturalist app can be downloaded here

Article written by Ishani Chetty for cape{town}etc February 26 2019
 

With all the wonderful different species of flora and fauna around us, WE CAN DO THIS!  Quote from ecological burn article above: "The nature reserve is renowned for its diversity of plant life, and the 1 445 ha reserve boasts 620 recorded plant species and new species are continually being discovered."  The FoBCA would love ALL members and non-members to get involved.  Check out the event on Facebook here. Also, we will keep you posted about a repeat of last year's iNaturalist workshop presented by the very capable Tony Rebelo.  In the meantime diarise those dates: 26 - 29 April 2019.
 
World Pangolin Day

The day of the BFG, 16 February 2019 was also World Pangolin Day and attendees were shown a very disturbing trailer to the film being made to highlight the pangolin's plight.

Most people never see a pangolin, let alone understand the critical need to save them from becoming extinct - which could likely happen in our lifetimes.  Conservationists estimate that one pangolin is taken from the wild every five minutes due to the huge demand from the African and Asian traditional medicine markets.  

Conservation NGO Pangolin.Africa is currently making a film to tell the world about pangolins and the challenges they face.  You might be interested to know that two of the people behind Pangolin.Africa are Helena Atkinson and Catherine Ritchie, who previously held the positions of WESSA conservation manager and communications manager respectively. 

Helena and Catherine are working with award-winning filmmaker Bruce Young - who co-directed the 2015 documentary Bloodlions that exposed the canned lion hunting industry in South Africa.  Bruce, along with cameraman Johan Vermeulen, has been travelling across the African continent for almost a year to track down all four pangolin species and to learn from those caring for and studying them. 

Their goal is to make The Eye of the Pangolin film the most watched wildlife documentary ever.  Therefore, rather than approaching specific networks or broadcasters, the film will be made freely available as an open-source documentary.  In this way it will be accessible for viewing by millions of people around the world via online platforms, through educational establishments and at screenings supported by international and local conservation organisations, including WESSA.  There is also an outreach plan which includes screening translated versions of the film to youth in rural communities in high-poaching areas across Africa. 

The full film is due for release on World Endangered Species Day on Friday 17 May 2019.
 
(Published for WESSA W Cape-FoBCA BFG 16 February 2019)

Kamfers Dam flamingo chicks at SANCCOB
 
As SANCCOB are close neighbours of ours, we thought you may like to help with donations in your personal capacity. 

These requests were posted 4 and 7 March respectively on their Facebook page
  
"This is not a yolk! We use 450 free range egg yolks per day for feeding formula given to the #FlamingoChicks. We are reaching out for donations once again please. If you can assist then please drop off at 22 Pentz Drive in Table View. We’ll have to gauge expiry dates so let us know of your intended support by calling 021 557 6155."  

 

"This fellow is referred to as 'Gigantor'! It's the first one to reach the 1kg mark of the 94 strong Lesser #FlamingoChicks in our care. Feeding regimes have been adjusted over the last couple of weeks as they are feeding themselves more often and we are so proud to see them develop. Thank you for the continued support. At an average of R250 per chick per day for the next 2 months, we need all the help we can garner. They are growing tall & the new daytime enclosure on the premises is apt for their exercising. (Photo credit: Chloe Garland)
For more info & to donate to their care, please visit 
https://sanccob.co.za/#savesflamingos #kamfersdamflamingo #conservation #wildlife"


Other news relating to the Kamfers Dam chicks was reported in the Cape Argus 4 March:  
Flamingo chicks not to be relocated

Forthcoming FoBCA events
  • 28 March, Thurs - Brunsvigia and Bulbs Walk and Talk: A walk led by our botanist and CREW coordinator Petra Broddle to look at the Brunsvigia in the area, followed by a talk on bulbs at 11am.  Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701
  • 28 March, Thurs - Presentation by Professor John Compton at Rietvlei Education Centre, TBNR, 10 Sandpiper Crescent, Flamingo Vlei at 19h30 for 20h00.  Visitors are welcome.  For more information contact Dave Honour on 082 906 4875.  (See article above.)
  • 30 March, Sat - Two Hills Walk in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. To participate in the walk, contact Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or SMS 083 679 4642.
  • 26 - 29 April - Global City Nature Challenge  Further details of an iNaturalist workshop to follow
  • 27 April, Sat - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk.  Dave Honour, FoBCA registered tour guide and also an expert on KZN battle sites, is the leader.  For more information or to book your attendance, please call/SMS Dave Honour at 082 906 4875 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 4 May, Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am.  Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details.
 
The calendar of events is always available on the Home page of our website, as well as on our Facebook page.
What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....
 
Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.

At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year.  Brush up your knowledge in preparation for the Global City Nature Challenge and before the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks start in May.

New Membership Year approaching

Please be reminded that 31 March is the end of the FoBCA membership year - keep an eye on your inbox for your renewal notice.  See at the botttom of this newsletter for your expiry date.

New fees with effect from 1 April 2019:
    1 year / 5 years / 10 years                                       
     R30 / R150 / R300        - Youth (under 18 or dependant student)/ Pensioner (60 or over)       
     R80 / R400 / R800        - Individual
     R100 / R500 / R1000    - Family (2 adults plus 2 children under 18)
     R400 / R2000 / R4000  - Corporate (4 cards issued for 4 adults per card)
 
In conclusion....
Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose.  If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this   folder brochure , which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member. 
Kind regards
Jackie Potgieter
FoBCA Membership Communication

P.S. - Have any friends who'd like to join?  Print a copy of the new spreadsheet Membership form here (339 KB) , have them complete and email with proof of payment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to have their membership processed.
 
 

FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 1

FoBCA NEWSLETTER - JANUARY 2019A hearty welcome to 2019 to everyone!  We trust our FoBCA members have returned from their holidays fully refreshed and ready to embark on new beginnings.   This year promises to be an exciting one, and I hope we will see a lot of our members at our various events and projects.  Please get involved in the various projects of the FoBCA, and if there is not a project that interests you, create your own!

Welcome to our first newsletter of the year…

Read more ...

FoBCA Member Newsletter – October 2018

FoBCA wins the National Award for Groups!

The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), paid tribute to a wide range of outstanding environmental achievements with the presentation of the organisation’s Annual Awards at the 92nd Annual General Meeting which was hosted by WESSA’s Eastern Cape membership branch at Cape Recife near Port Elizabeth on Saturday 15 September 2018. The WESSA Awards, which have been presented since 1974, enable WESSA to recognise and honour those who have made a significant contribution to the environmental conservation or environmental education sector in South Africa over the past year in an exceptional and sustained manner. The WESSA Group Award was presented to the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area under the leadership of Roy Fuller-Gee.

Read more ...