by Bryan Butler

Not every outing can deliver a substantial bird count and sometimes our outings are about more than just birds (important though they are!).

This outing was visualised as an opportunity to see the special Fernkloof Flower Show and also to explore the birdlife of the area.

As such it appealed to around 15 of us and we met as a group at the Fernkloof Entrance at around 09h00 on Saturday morning, 25th September.

Bearing in mind that this was a long weekend the turnout was impressive. Our outings planner had cleverly arranged for a member of the Hermanus Bird Club to be there to meet us and to guide us.

While we were still fresh the plan was to take a short hike into the reserve and then return to see the show. The hike turned out to be a little longer and steeper than most of us had planned for and the birding en route was unfortunately disappointing.

Orange-breasted Sunbird, African Dusky Flycatcher and Southern Double-collared Sunbird was just about it. Back at base the birdlife was more prolific and we gathered round a picnic table to revive our spirits with a hot coffee and rusks/sandwiches.

A Fork-tailed Drongo checked us out, a Jackal Buzzard was spotted circling overhead and a Cape Sugarbird was seen in classic pose atop a Protea bush. There were two marquees with exhibitors and exhibitions but what fascinated the group was the display of indigenous flora beautifully laid out at the beginning of our hike.

Back in the marquees, the Hermanus Bird Club hosted a display which included a work by one of their talented members – a montage identifying some of the terms used to describe the various parts of birding anatomy.

After coffee the group dispersed with some members going on to spot whales while others spent more time absorbing the finer details of the Fernkloof Flower Show.