FoBCA Member Newsletter – April 2018

~ The WESSA BFG (‘Big Friends Group’) event that we advertised in our last newsletter, was held on Saturday, 17 February, and well attended by FoBCA members.  Below is an overview of the event that appeared in the Argus 26 February.  It was a great opportunity to meet members of all the different Friends groups across the Peninsula, all with a common purpose – to protect and conserve.  The speakers were all well received.  Get your hands on a copy of Cormac Cullinan's book "Wild Law" - it's highly recommended reading.  The next BFG will be held on Saturday, 4 August – please diarise it so that you can be sure not to miss out on this very informative and entertaining social event.

Standing together for nature

pic01

pic01

pic01

~ The Battle of Blaauwberg Walk held on 24 March was once again well attended by a number of people, with some becoming repeat attendees!  Also on a historical note, the FoBCA  hosted the ‘Orde van den Prince’ (a society for people of Dutch origin in South Africa) monthly meeting on 17 March at Eerste Steen Educational Cabin, where Dave Honour gave an overview of the Battle of Blaauwberg from the Dutch angle.

~ The Coastal Walk Flower Guide 2ed, produced by our enthusiastic CREW team, is proving to be very popular.  As an invaluable educational reference, it has been presented to all the local public libraries, as well as the Kirstenbosch Gardens' library.  You can get your personal copy, not only at Eerste Steen and Starke Ayres Garden Centre (ask at the information desk as is it not on the shop floor), but now also at Plants on 6th in Melkbosstrand.  With its colour-coded index, it is a fun guide to use, and makes a perfect gift at only R100.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS:

NB - AGM - SAVE THE DATE!
Please diarise 26 May 2018 for the next FoBCA Annual General Meeting.  We will let you have more detail in due course, but as usual, we plan to have a guest speaker, and to give an overview of the many activities in which the FoBCA are involved.
 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY APRIL BRANCH MEETING:
The FoBCA also focuses on heritage conservation, and the following event might interest our members:  The April branch meeting of the Genealogical Society will be held on Saturday 14 April 2018 14h00 at SASNEV Building, Central Square, Pinelands (directions).  Gavin Cowley (well-known Commentator and former Rugby player) is the speaker and his subject is “The Cowleys – from Derbyshire to Plettenberg Bay” and it will outline the family history of many families in the Southern Cape.  See attached leaflet with more information.  The Dutch library in the SASNEV building is very interesting in itself, and has the FULL “ATLAS AFRIKA” available to read.

INTERNATIONAL CITIZEN SCIENCE DAY!
SANBI’s CREW Citizen Science Programme
, together with partners in Cape Town, will be hosting a Citizen Science Fair in Cape Town to showcase the wonderful projects that people can get involved in and create a platform for people to connect with these projects and hopefully inspire new citizen scientists to get involved:

pic01

Citizen science has played a significant role in collecting biodiversity data in South Africa. We have many examples of successful programmes that have generated impressive biodiversity datasets and contributed to distribution mapping, understanding population trends and conservation prioritization.  Advances in technology also provide new opportunities to connect and share observations, and have made it possible to engage a wider community for more varied projects. These technologies and citizen science projects have engaged members of the public in innovative ways and provided many opportunities for informal education.
Click here for more information.  Click here to RSVP.

YOUR TICKET TO TOP WEST COAST PLACES:
West Coast Way will be launching the West Coast Way Wildflower FAm Fest on Wed 18 April at 15h30 (for 16h00) – 17h00 at the annual WTM (World Travel Market) Show, CTICC (Stand J09).  All FoBCA members are invited to attend the exciting launch.  This unique event is held to showcase the West Coast’s tourism talents and attractions and to network with 77 countries, 1000's of visitors and people in the travel and tourism industry.  Click here for the event programme.
GUESTS OF HONOUR:

  • Shadow Minister of Tourism James Vos - speaker
  • Di Brown - the Roaming Giraffe - speaker
  • Guy McDonald - MC .

The West Coast Way will be launching its invigorated Swartland Tractor Route as well as the brand new Cape Way Route, making up a total of 101 road trip stops on 6 Routes: Cape Way, Culture, Berg, Foodie, Tractor and Wild Routes.  West Coast Way Wildflower FAm Fest will have performances, artists, sustainable foods like oysters from Saldanha and famous craft beer like Darling Brew, to serve guests to the stand. 
It is important to register BEFORE 16 APRIL and download your ticket. Note: without the ticket, you will not be allowed to enter.  Click here to register.

ARE TORTOISES YOUR SPECIAL INTEREST?

The FoBCA is in the process of arranging a Tortoise Talk at Eerste Steen by well-known Prof Retha Hofmeyr from the Biodiversity and Conservation Biology Dept of UWC.  There are many interesting facts about tortoises, and as many misconceptions, especially with regards to domesticated tortoises – their habitat, nutrition, etc.  We will let you know the date as soon as arrangements are in place.

FLOWER POWER!

Please remember our regular first-Saturday-of-the-month Coastal Dune Walk with our CREW members who will give you up-to-date information on what is flowering. 
At the moment, for example, there are some red-listed species to be seen at Derde Steen, and, as you might have noticed, the Brunsvigia orientalis has just started flowering on the dunes east of Kreeftebaai.  See if you can spot the Brunsvigia along the R27 between Sunset Beach and Dolphin Beach, on the Rietvlei side and also keep a look out for the pink March Lily Amaryllis belladonna in full flower along the burnt section of Rietvlei. 
To join the walk contact Petra Broddle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info.  Don't forget to bring your Coastal Walk Flower Guide along with you.

pic06pic07

TWO HILLS WALK:
The next Two Hills Walk will be on 5 May.  Spread the word to family and friends about this is ever-popular event, but please book well in advance, as numbers are limited.  Contact Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your place.

Battle of Blaauwberg Commemoration event, held on Sat 6 Jan 2018

The year started off with a bang, and a puff of smoke! 

pic22

For the second time since the 210th anniversary of the Battle of Blaauwberg 1806, in collaboration with the local staff of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve and with the kind permission and hospitality of the owners of Blaauwberg Farm, the Friends hosted a commemorative event on Saturday, 6th January 2018 at the Blaauwberg Farm.

Read more about it under Special Events.

Spotted Harlequin Snake

pic21Pssst..

This beautiful specimen was seen during a recent Archaeology Survey being done in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve.  Nobody was prepared to put their pinkie next to it for size reference!

Spotted Harlequin Snake

Coastal Walk Flower Guide: 2nd edition now available

pic20On 16 Dec 2017, the FoBCA held its year-end function at Eerste Steen Resort, where Friends gathered to enjoy having their olfactory senses stimulated by the aromas from the braais wafting on the "gentle" Southeaster breeze. 

The occasion was marked by the launching of the newly published 2nd edition of the Coastal Walk Flower Guide.  This guide is for the novice to easily identify flora according to its colour on the Coastal Dune Trail in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve (the 4.5km loop trail that starts opposite Eerste Steen Resort - map inside cover) and can be used on many other walking routes that have Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation along the West Coast.  It contains beautifully clear colour photographs of approximately half the species recorded on the Dune Trail itself.  Here and there throughout the guide are little extra fun facts and at the back is a Quick Guide to the flowering months of each species. 

Read more ...

Update on our Eland herd

Small Eland calfSince December, some Eland were released in the Reserve, and to everyone’s surprise, the one Eland cow was found to be pregnant.  The Reserve was blessed with the newcomer a few weeks ago. Keeping very close to mother all the time. 

For more information contact Jacques Küyler, Biodiversity Area Co-ordinator: Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, T + 27 21 444 0454.

Baboon Spiders…

baboob spiderThese harmless giants are often negatively portrayed.

They are called baboon spiders due to their hairy appearance and the black scopulae pads on its "feet" resembling the pads on baboon feetThey are not dangerous to man although they can inflict a painful bite.  South African species are terrestrial occurring in underground burrows or scrapes under rocks. The scrape is lined with thick silk, which is attached to the rock and keeps out troublesome insects such as ants.

Read more ...