Cape Bird Club celebrates 75 years

The Cape Bird Club celebrated its 75th anniversary at Kirstenbosch last week.

The Cape Bird Club celebrated its 75th anniversary last week, at an event hosted by Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.

The guest of honour and speaker was Michaela Strachan who co-hosts Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, a BBC TV series with more than two million viewers.

The nature-loving BAFTA-winner moved to Hout Bay with her dogs and partner, Nick Chevallier. She has appeared in Good Morning Britain and Wide Awake Club.

Ms Strachan showed video clips from the numerous cameras used to capture previously never-seen wildlife behaviour on the nature series.

Cape Bird Club chairman Mike Buckham said the Cape Bird Club was one of 32 national affiliates of BirdLife South Africa and the branch boasted more endemic birds than any other area of the country.

Mr Buckham said the club held monthly meetings and bird counts and, during the anniversary year, it would be donating R140 000 to some of the projects it supports, including education programmes at no-fee primary schools and the Cape Parrot Project.

The Cape parrot is endemic to South Africa and its BirdLife South Africa’s Bird of the Year for 2023.

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Wearing the 75th anniversary Cape Bird Club buffs, from left, are Kristi Rossouw, Joel Simons, Theo Rossouw, Keasha Wentzel and Doreen Vizat.
Past and present Cape Bird Club chairpersons, from left, Otto Schmidt, of Newlands; Trevor Hardaker, of Table View; Priscilla Beeton, of Noordhoek; Mike Buckham, of Claremont; Callan Cohen, of Scarborough; and Vernon Head, of Oranjezicht.
Penny Dichmont, Cape Bird Club vice chair; Dr Alistair McInnes, manager of the seabird conservation programme; Callan Cohen, director of Birding Africa; and Christina Hagen, who is responsible for BirdLife South Africa’s efforts to establish new African penguin colonies.
Birders Sylvia Ledgard, of Edgemead, with Simon Fogarty, of Kirstenhof.
Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson, who heads BirdLife South Africa’s terrestrial bird conservation programme; Dr Alistair McInnes, manager of the seabird conservation programme; and Joel Radue, who heads the Cape Bird Club’s youth programme.
Jenny and Peter Steyn, of Newlands, cutting the cake with Michaela Strachan, co-host of the BBC series, Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch.
Master’s students in biology based at the Institute of Ornithology, from left, Choolwe Mulengwa, Lawrence Steyn, Wambui Waibochi, Mpho Havhi and Maggie Mwale.
Past and present Diocesan College bird club members, Peter Steyn, from the 1950s, and Grade 8 pupil Kaleb Pillay.
Jo Hobbs, of Brackenfell, who has been a Cape Bird Club member for about 40 years, with Mel Tripp, of Gardens, who, after 37 years, continues to mentor new twitchers.
New to birding but dedicated after only three years, Zoe Lunau-Johns, with editor of African Birdlife magazine, Anton Crone, and Sarah Crone, all from Claremont.
Adam Buckham enjoys the challenge of photographing birds as does his father, the chairman of the Cape Bird Club, Mike Buckham, from Claremont.