A diary of a retired South African Water Ranger.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spur-winged Goose

Rietvlei, Cape 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The White-throated Swallow nest

White-throated Swallow nesting under the jetty at Rietvlei (2007-01-07)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Garden Birds 12-12-2008

One of the masked weaver chicks - hatched

My Garden Birds 9-12-2008

My home Garden

The masked weaver chicks are squawking like mad.

We noticed both the male and female feeding on Sunday.

Since then a domestic cat killed the female. I heard the frantic distress call of a bird, but was too late to save her.

We could hear the persistent cries from the hungry chicks demanding for food. The male was doing his best to supply the demand.

He managed to rear both chicks.

Posted by Wally Water-ranger

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rietvlei 1-12-2008

The Heron is OK. The plastic is no longer stuck to its beak

Birds at Rietvlei - 27-Nov-2008

27-Nov 2008 Rietvlei

  • Spotted White-throated swallow with one chick.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Intaka Island, 24-11-2008

We went on a very enjoyable walk around the island. We took lots of photographs of birds.

The bird islands are great.

Many nests of mostly Ibis.

Other birds seen were:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coot chicks - Intaka Island - Century City - Cape Town

17-11-2008 Intaka Island – Blouvlei

They have lots of birds to view from close up at their nature reserve.

  • The Snipes were not there yet, but I saw a stunning photograph of them.

A must-view nature area in the center of a concrete jungle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rietvlei birds 10-11-2008

Birds spotted:

Photograph Whiskered Tern flying over Rietvlei dam 10-11-2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bird Report 7-11-2008

Rietvlei 7 11 2008

Birds spotted:

Caspian Tern 2

African Marsh-Harrier 2

Banded Martins (breeding)

Pied Kingfishers are breeding in the bank of the South-vlei on the point.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Puzzled by frogs

Rietvlei 7 11 2008

About two hundred river frogs appeared in Santie's backyard pool, bordering on the vlei, after a 5 mm rain shower the night before.

They were identified as

Clicking stream frogs

Banded stream frogs

Common river frogs

We managed to catch most of them. The frogs were released into the vlei.

The question is

"How did 200 fully grown frogs end up in a fully enclosed, well maintained, backyard pool when there is no other water source within he enclosure?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008



I spotted some birds (about 8) with black body, red beak, grey tail, black cap and white a stripe across the eye.

We forwarded a photograph to Trevor Hardaker from www.zestforbirds.co.za to confirm the ID of the bird. His reply was

There is no doubt that it is in fact a Whiskered Tern, which is in full breeding plumage. The potential confusion candidate, White-cheeked Tern, has a deeply forked tail and not a squarish ended tail like the bird in the photo and is also not quite as dark on the underside as is the bird in the photo.

Water Thick-knee nest


The Water Thick-knee (Water Dikkop) nest in the boat-park contains only one egg.

return to home page

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Birds at Rondevlei 4-11-2008

Tuesday 4 November 2008,

We visited Rondevlei for a fire-fighting course.

In South Africa Fire-fighting is an important element of Nature Conservation.

The following birds were spotted:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mother Goose Died

Mother Goose, our resident Egyptian Goose, started making her nests on Commodore's point, about eight years ago.

Every year she would delight us with the antics of her chicks. We loved watching them grow up and move on. Mother and Father Goose remained to breed on the same spot every time.

Their nest often got flooded after heavy rains. Sometimes her eggs would disappear either through human or animal interference.

This year her first attempt to breed failed because the eggs got stolen. The next two nests got washed away after heavy rains.

Out of desperation she decided to build her nest higher up for a change. We all thought it was a good idea.

They got so tame that they used to come right up to the gatehouse asking for food. The guys at the access control gate would put some food out for them in the mornings.

Last Thursday 9 Oct. she did not come for her food, which was not unusual when she is on the nest, but Clinton, my co-worker, noticed that Father Goose was behaving strangely. He was not guarding the nest. He went to investigate and made the gruesome discovery. Mother Goose fell prey to a predator.

Photographs by Wally (Oct 2008)
  • Mother Goose on her last nest.
  • Mother Goose fell prey to a predator.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bird Activity 1 October 2008

1 October 08

Bird Activity:

I spotted a Grey-backed Cisticola,

Two Hartlaub's Gulls have been squabbling all day long.

Mother Goose (Our resident Egyptian Goose) is on the nest again. She chose a better spot for her nest this time.

She has about five eggs at the last count and has been sitting since 27 October

Sparrowhawk upset gulls

29 September 2008

Noticed the Hartlaub's Gulls all in flight and squawking. I looked around for the reason for this disturbance, and saw the Black Sparrowhawk sitting in the grass. I ran for my camera and got a quick snap of it.

Working away from the vlei 23 Sep 2008

23 September 2008

At the Diep River corridor, (on the Tableview side) most of the invasive alien vegetation has been removed, leaving a wonderful carpet of wild flowers and fynbos.

Our job today was to burn the dry branches of the invasive Port Jackson trees previously chopped down.

Among the birds spotted there were:

Golden Bishop

Cape Robin


Fiscal Shrike

I also saw a mole snake.

At Atlantis dune fields we burned some more Port Jackson branches.

This area has a few dams and the fynbos flowers are in abundance but there is so much to work here to do still.

Birds spotted:

Jackal Buzzard

Egyptian Geese,

White-breasted Cormorant

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sept 08, 2008

A few people reported seeing the Grysbok and lamb in the conservation area.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ducklings swimming around 6-9-008

(photograph Cape Shoveler - Wally/Rietvlei - Cape)


Went for a walk behind Mac Phearson’s Plant Nursery.

We saw a lot of nest building activity as the weavers were building their nests in the trees

There were lots of ducks with duckling.

Yellow-billed Ducks with 8 and another with 3 ducklings.

Cape Shovelers with 6, 4 and 8 chicks

Otters in North Vlei 8-9-2008

(photograph by Wally - Hartlaub‘s Gulls at Rietvlei, Cape)


It rained 30mm so far in the last 24 hours.

The Otters have been seen swimming in the North Vlei.

As usual the Hartlaub‘s Gulls were following them all the time

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pond at Horse Trails destroyed


Big Bay Walk (Horse Trails) 05-09-2008

The pond is totally destroyed by the flood after the heavy rains and high seas.

The Sand Plovers are still there on the beach, what is left of it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nature Corner 4-Sep-2008

Walked to the bird-hide, but the path is still waterlogged.

The Hadedas are breeding in the area for the second time.

The first time we noticed them breeding at the vlei was five years ago, on the island, when there were trees on it.

Among the birds spotted

4-Sept-2008 RietVlei -The bird-hide path.

Birds spotted:

  • 2 Purple Herons.
  • 1 Marsh-Harrier
  • 2 Caspian Terns
  • 2 Greater Striped Swallows

The Hadedas are breeding

(Above a Caspian Tern photographed on the jetty at RietVlei recreational facility, Cape Town - Table View)

(The photographs (birds in flight) are of Hadedas flying over Rietvlei recreational facility, Cape Town - Table View)

Photographs by Wally

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rietvlei 3-Sept 2008

3-Sept 2008

  • The daisies are blooming. The sun is shining and there is no wind for a change.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The “Cape of Storms”


The “Cape of Storms” really lived up to its name this time.

Mother Goose’s second batch of five eggs was washed away.

At home our Masked Weaver “Boytjie” lost his nest containing two chicks.

I tied Boytjie’s second nest down, using nylon cord.

During the storm the poor nest did a somersault but remains hanging (a bit tighter around the branch)

We are not sure if the young birds survived.

Among the birds spotted at the vlei were 2 Caspian Terns.

Egyptian Geese are very territorial


The Egyptian Geese are very territorial and aggressive during breeding season.

A pair of juvenile geese were brought to the vlei and released near “Father Goose’s” territory. He immediately went into attack mode. Luckily for them they were old enough to fly and get out of the way.

Spotted: One Caspian Tern.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Some Notes from my old iblog blog

17 August 2008

One White-Throated swallow arrived

I spotted:

  • two Red-billed Teals,
  • Two Cape Shoveler

Two Great Crested Grebes were seen in a mating dance.

They were facing one another,

beak to beak, and shaking their heads.

15 August 008

Swallows were swirling around in the air over Rietvlei.

11 August 2008

Peter H brought a little dead bird, found in his garden, to the vlei for our interest.

He correctly identified it as an Orange-breasted Waxbill.

It possibly escaped from someone's aviary.

10 August 2008

Birds spotted

One Black Sparrowhawk and a March Harrier were spotted behind McPherson plant nursery.

6 August 2008

Birds spotted

  • One Black Sparrowhawk
  • Ten Yellow-billed ducks flew passed

5 August 2008

Birds spotted

  • Four Red-billed Teals
  • Six Yellow-billed ducks

4 August 2008

The vlei is very quiet.

Birds spotted:

  • One Black Sparrowhawk
  • Three Pied Kingfishers

2-August 2008

Birds Spotted

  • +- Fifty White-breasted Cormorants. Some of them are sitting on the jetty and some feeding in the middle of the vlei. There must be lots of small fish.

29 July 2008

Another wind-free day

Birds seen:

  • Two Yellow-billed Kite soaring on a thermal - just gliding and enjoying the trip.Later
  • A pair of crows was doing the same.
  • Four flamingos flew passed. Lost maybe?
  • Burchell's Coucal

24 July 2008

It is another pleasant day.

Went for a walk to the bird-hide.

Mother goose has seven eggs to date.

Birds seen:

  • One Grey Heron,
  • One Purple Heron,
  • One Black-shouldered Kite,
  • Four Great Crested Grebe in mating plumage.
  • A Bird identified by sound: Burchell's Coucal

20 July 2008

Mother goose is building a nest on commodore's point. Will go and count her eggs when I get a chance.

Friday 18 July

Bird count

  • One Black Sparrowhawk
  • Two Hadedas building a nest
  • Four Darters

  • Four Cape Shoveler
  • Six Crested Grebes
  • Eight Yellow-billed Ducks
  • Fourty White-breasted Cormorants
  • Two hyndred and fifty Pelicans

11 July 2008

  • One Fish-Eagle is back and perching on the last remaining branch on the island.
10 July 2008

The Fish-Eagles seem to have left.

It must be all the activity, on the island, starting at 7.30 am and continuing throughout the day that drove them away.

They are busy with cleanup work.

Hope they return when tranquility returns

7 July 2008

The Hadedas are still building nests.


Birds spotted:

  • One pair of Fish-Eagles just fifty meters away.
  • One Pair of Black-shouldered Kites.
  • Thirty seven Avocets
  • Fivehundred Flamingos (LESSER)

There are signs that the grysbok has been feeding on the young Port-Jackson bush shoots.

At 1400 soft soaking rain came down. We are experiencing some real winter weather.


A fossil was found at Rietvlei today.

It appears to be the fossilized remains of a tooth of a large animal.

I shall give it to my friends at the museum for identification and dating.

Perhaps it can add another paragraph to the history of the aria.

I shall post more information about it after it has been examined properly.

Visit my photo album to see larger views of the fossil (http://s224.photobucket.com/albums/dd264/gardenbird/Rietvlei/fossil%20find/)

14 June 2008

OTTER PAW MARKS at the fishing spot

Monday May 19 2008

Rietvlei (North vlei) Bird Count

It is a super morning.

There is no wind and the vlei looks like glass

  • 3200 Kelp Gull
  • 150 Flamingos
  • 70 Pelicans
  • 30 Coots
  • 26 Oystercatchers
  • 23 Hartlaub's Gulls
  • 15 Cape Shovelers
  • 10 Blacksmith Plover
  • 10 Egyptian Geese
  • 8 Yellow-billed Ducks
  • 6 Spotted Dikkops
  • 6 Darters
  • 4 Water Dikkops
  • 3-Pied Kingfishers
  • 2 Grey Heron
  • 2 Great Crested Grebes
  • 2 African Sacred Ibis
  • 2 Fish-Eagle (at the point)
  • 1 Dabchick
  • 1 Reed Cormorant
  • 1 Little Egret

14 June 2008

Walking the dog Saturday

This morning while taking Onesock for a walk, a Peregrine Falcon swooped down and strikes a Racing Pigeon.

The Pigeon fell to the earth.

I ran up to it and found it still to be quivering.

The only mark on it was a little blood on the inside of the wing.

After examining it I left it on the grass and watched the Falcon diving down to claim it's prize about 20 min later.


I saw otter paw marks at the fishing spot.

  • The Fish-Eagles are still very prominent
  • The Hadedas have increased in numbers and are very noisy.

I went for a walk around the vlei, as per usual, this morning. Some large carp were feeding near the shore and coming close to land and I like to sneak up to them and prod the fish with my finger.

The fish startles into a panic and with a sudden swish of it's tail attempts to escape with water splashing and turmoil '

It was toss-up for who got the biggest fright the fish or me.



With winter on our doorstep most of the migrating birds left our shores for greener pastures, although, I still saw about

  • fifty little stints on the shores of the North-vlei.
  • About thirty PELICANS seem to stay all the year round. They sit and sun themselves on a small island, in the South-vlei near the West-coast road and at sunset they come and feed in the shallow waters near the club.
So all water users please leave the water at sunset sharp.

The water level of the lake is very high for his time of the year and if we have a long cold and wet winter get ready for a flood or two.

There are signs of otters all around the shores of the vlei. These creatures are mostly nocturnal and can be seen very early in the morning or just after sunset.

  • The white DOMESTIC GOOSE'S ten goslings have left and in the meantime she has adopted Mother goose's four goslings and is still flying to and fro.

Every time before it rains

  • about a thousand Lesser Black-backed / (Kelp) Gulls fly in and just about cover the whole body of water.

A reminder to all fishermen: Fishing is only allowed from the designated Municipal sites, and every fisherman has to pay R55.

Birds seen in the area:

  • Egyptian Geese (many),
  • Sand Martins (30),
  • Fish-Eagles (2),
  • Sacred Ibis (8),
  • Blacksmith Plover (20),
  • Caspian Tern (3),
  • Flamingos (3),
  • Spur-winged Geese
  • Hadedas
  • Herons
  • Oystercatchers
  • Darter
  • Yellow-billed Duck
  • Three-banded Plover
  • Kittlitz's Plover

Other Animals

  • Steenbok,
  • Grey Mongoose,
  • Water Mongoose,
  • Chameleon,
  • Marsh Terrapin,
  • Angulated tortoise


Birds eye view from the island at Rietvlei. Photogrash taken 2002