FoBCA Newsletter 2020 No. 1
A not-so-new year anymore, and many natural events which have had substantial impact are occurring everywhere: the bush fires in Australia; the floods in other parts of our country; the extensive drought in areas like the Northern Cape and the Karoo - all to make us continually aware of the important role that nature and climate change plays in our economy and the well-being of our country.
Albeit slightly late for New Year's wishes, we do wish you a prosperous and successful 2020.
Here at the FoBCA, the year started with a bang!
FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 7
It is the end of the year, and we are all doing our best to finish tasks, commitments and goals before we go on holiday. Christmas is around the corner, and I am sure you are also looking forward to a well-deserved break. Looking for the ideal Christmas gift?
Why not give someone our FoBCA Flower Guide as a Christmas present? This colour-coded light-weight booklet at R100 only, is handy not just when walking on the Coastal Dune Trail, but all over the Western Cape. It contains beautiful pictures of the fynbos species, while highlighting important characteristics of each plant. At the back of the book is a Quick Guide, so get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year and go find it!
FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 6
Spring has sprung and the veld around us is abundant with flowers. This is evident right on our doorstep in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. Please take time during the day to walk the Coastal Dune Trail starting at Eerste Steen, using our handy Flower Guide that is for sale at Eerste Steen (or at selected nurseries in Table View) – you will not be disappointed. As Walt Whitman wrote: ‘After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains.‘
Heritage Day celebration
The FoBCA is pleased to announce that Willem Hutten will be giving a talk on Heritage Day (Tue 24 Sep). Willem has completed his Masters degree on the Battle of Blaauwberg, and will give a detailed perspective of his findings.
FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 5
Good news! Montispectus, the accommodation facility on the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve is available for bookings again. The chalet offers beautiful views down fynbos slopes, across the city, to seven kilometres of rocky and sandy coastline and the ocean and beyond. It is the only place in the world from where you can see two proclaimed world heritage sites, namely Table Mountain and Robben Island. To book, visit the BCA website’s Accommodation page.
FloraDoc App for iPhone now available
The CREW group is happy to announce that the long-awaited FloraDoc app has been released for iPhone – though we do still need to wait a little longer for the Android version which is still in the development phase.
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.
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
No need to RSVP, just turn up!
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.
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.
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.
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)
- 4 May, Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
- 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.
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
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.
New Membership Year
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.
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.