Sacred Ibises Collecting Nest Material at Rondevlei

It is nearly spring and all the birds at Rondevlei are building nests. It has always amazed me the amount of building material
an ibis will carry in its beak to the nesting site. These pictures give you a typical but brief day
in the life of a nest building ibis.

First off, they seem to do quite a bit of hanging about with the mob on any warm sandbar

But then some or other time the impulse to build gets going.

Here is an ibis coming in to land. Not very gainly, but they seem to survive which is all that really matters.

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This is a dense reed patch and they pull it apart to get building material.

Hey! Don’t stand on me. The terrapin at the feet of this ibis never moved an inch in the time I was there,
so I guess he wasn’t really concerned about being stood on.

This guy got himself all tied up in knots.

And, off they go, carrying the bits and pieces to a reed bed in the middle of the vlei.

Hiking in the Gammkaberg

Near Calitzdorp is the Gammka Reserve and the reserve has a number of trails. The Tierkloof trail is a two day hike, up to some very basic huts and back the next day. The trail is interesting because it starts out in the Succulent Karoo biome and as your get higher you find the Fynbos starting to predominate until you are in pure Fynbos and the Succulent Karoo plants are pretty much gone.

As wthl all Cape Nature reserves the base camp is well appointed and fully equipped. Soft beds for weary limbs and a pool to cool off afterwards.

The chalets at the top are very basic and you have to carry pretty much everything with you.

If you like dark skies with a million stars, the top camp is well away from any major light pollution with George in the very distance being the only real ligh pollution

If you want to do the hike, go to the Cape Nature site and book. If you are an ardent hiker this one is for you.

Sunset near Komani

Or Queenstown as it was known previously
The pictures were taken from the top of the Nonesis Nek Pass on the Road between Komani and Cacadu (Lady Frere)

The dam here is the Cacadu Dam
Cacadu which means “Bulrush Water” and is the Xhosa name for the White Kei River
Part of the cutting of Nonesis Nek Pass

Poem: Theewaterskloof

The Western Cape was hit by a crippling drought. The level of the main storage dam, Theewaterskloof dropped to 25% and vast tracts of it were just dust and loose sand instead of water. I had this poem rattling around in my head and it just demanded to be written.

Dust bowl dam. Sun light glitters, stark on pale
Bone white surfaces, black stark tree skeletons,
Dry shod, heat struck, sand blasted we cross
The sparkling dam that once was and is no more
Oven heat scrapes roughly across our exposed skin
Slitted eyes blink against the wind hurled dust
No breath to spare for the pointless vital question
What have we done? What have we left our children.

Theewaterskloof