FoBCA Member Newsletter – July 2018

1. Friends' matters

Being the eyes and ears: People often mention that Friends’ members are the eyes and ears that alert authorities about conservation matters.  A good example of this is a recent event where a member of the public saw road kill on the R27 between Melkbosstrand and Bloubergstrand and thought it looked like ‘an animal with a fluffy tail’.  It was reported to the Chairman of the Friends of BCA, who in turn reported it to the Conservation officer of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve.  It turned out to be the carcass of a Black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas).  This is a sad, but a very interesting sighting, as the last confirmed sighting of a Black-backed jackal in BBNR was in April 2013 on the Cape Flats Sand Fynbos restoration site, east of Blaauwberg Hill.  
Not an issue with fauna or flora, but just as disturbing, is the vandalism of BBNR signboards. Signs at Haakgat and Derde Steen were recently spray-painted, rendering them unusable.  If you see or hear anything that can help prevent this sort of costly destruction to City of Cape Town property meant to inform the Reserve users, please contact BBNR Management Staff.

The Flower Guide, product of our CREW members, has been selling very well at the various nurseries in Table View (Starke Ayres, Plants on 6th , etc).  With Spring coming, now is the time to get your brochure and take a walk on the Coastal Dune Trail.  As the flower guide is arranged according to colour of flowers, identifying flowering plants is easy!

2. WESSA BFG (Big Friends Group) event – Sat 4 Aug 2018

You will remember last year we reported back on the 2017 event, as it was a great success with fascinating lectures that elicited a lot of interest.  We have no doubt that this year’s event will again be of similar appeal.  All members of the Friends of BCA are welcome to attend.  The due date for booking is on 31 Jul 2018.

Click here for all the details including the programme for the day

3. News and call for suggestions from Nicky Rheeder, Councillor – Ward 107

Please read the excerpt from Nicky Rheeder, even though it is past the 23rd - perhaps your idea is so good they will still consider it:

'The budget for the renovation of Marine Circle has finally arrived and we are now ready to spend it. We would like community input and ideas on what we can do with the traffic circle at Marine Circle to make it look good! Please do share the request with your members and ask them to send any ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I’d like to have as many suggestions as possible by 23 July 2018 so that we can start the planning and action!'

4. Update on Reserve Fauna and Flora

We were always under the impression 10 Eland in the Reserve is something to brag about, but after confirmation from various sources, we can safely and proudly say that there are now 12!  Here are some pictures taken very recently, showing the two new arrivals:

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The last group of hikers on the Two Hills walk was very lucky to have seen them very close by.  Eland are naturally very curious and they were eyeing the group with keen interest.  They seem to be flourishing in their Reserve habitat.
 
The question is often asked – where do the animals in the Reserve find water to drink, especially in view of the recent drought?  The answer is that there are various small waterholes on the slopes of the two hills (Kleinberg and Blaauwberg Hill) that have water - albeit little - and they were cleared to allow for easy access during the dry months; Borreldam, the fountain close to Blaauwbergsvlei, also had a little water; a water tank was placed close to where the honey badger was housed during his rehabilitation just below the contour path; and the dune fields where the alien vegetation clearing is taking place, also have a few waterholes.
 
With the recent rains, pans in the Reserve, that have been low or totally dry in the last few years, are all suddenly filled up with water!  Here are a few examples of these beautiful sights: 

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According to Petra Broddle, the vernal ponds ON Blaauwberg Hill are also full of water.  On Thursday 19th July the BCA CREW found Miniature Waterblommetjies  Aponogeton angustifolius in one of the ponds.  A small and delicate species, it is less than half the size of the Waterblommetjie that people eat in waterblommetjiebredie.  This species is red listed as Vulnerable, and is of conservation concern.  These pools have been dry for a long time, but these plants managed to survive.

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Two new Quarterly reports, for Blaauwberg Nature Reserve (BBNR) and Table Bay Reserve, have been added to the BCA website on the Reserve Management page.  Please take time to read them.  Have you for instance heard of the Ocellated Thick-toed Gecko or the Obese Lily Weevil?  Well, they have been spotted in the Reserve.  The BBNR report also contains more background information to the Caracal/Atlantic Beach Estate issue.

Feel like some colouring in?  We recently noticed this lovely colouring-in book:

pic07Colouring-in is a favourite children’s pastime and has become a therapeutic form of adult relaxation.  This new addition to Struik Nature’s ‘Read, colour and keep’ series will give hours of fun, while also expanding the reader’s knowledge of the natural world.

Why is Bulbine such a useful plant? Which flowers can we eat, and which are poisonous? What is South Africa’s national flower? Why do some flowers give off a rotten smell? Who pollinates our beautiful flowers?  Children and adults alike will learn interesting facts while enjoying hours of fun colouring in this selection of our most striking flowers. They can consult the colour guide in the middle of the book when choosing which shade of crayon or paint to use for the more than 40 outlined images – or make up their own fantastically-hued flowers! Now available here or check your local book store.

6. Forthcoming events

  • Sat 28 Jul   - Two Hills Family Walk - (More info)
  • Sat 4 Aug    - WESSA BFG Big Bash - (More info)
  • Sat 4 Aug    - CREW Coastal Trail Botanical Walk - (More info)
  • Thu 23 Aug - Battle of Blaauwberg presentation at Rietvlei cabin.  Dave Honour, whom you will know is our resident expert on the topic, has some research and new findings to share.
  • Sat 25 Aug  - Two Hills Family Walk
  • Fri 14 Sep    - Launch of coastal area of BBNR as a Green Coast site (More detail will follow at a later date)
  • Sat 22 Sep   - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk
  • Sat 29 Sep   - Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run.  A few people have been working hard behind the scenes planning for this annual event: the new routes starting at the southern BBNR gate close to Table Bay Mall have to be measured out; a fun walk is being planned; there will be a promotion of the event held over the preceding days inside Table Bay Mall; etc.  Please diarise this date and spread the word, so we can have a good turnout - the event is open to everyone: trail runners, fun walkers and all their supporters.