Judie Nel, Radiokop Ons was mal oor hierdie uitgawe van VeldTalk, veral die storie oor Refilwe - die gemors en die hulpprogramme wat hulle aanbied. Dis wonderlik om sulke goeie nuus te kan deel. Dit help die skaal balanseer.
Karen da Silveira, Gerhardsville Thanks for the May VeldTalk. Reading through it I came across a photo of one of our nursery school kids - Levi de Geus, at the Scorpion Walk. The caption states he is with a girl called Danielle. This little girl is in fact Jocelyn Kirwan from Hoogland Hydro. She’s another of our nursery school kiddies. Ed: Thanks Karen. Just shows you: never believe everything you read!
Astri Leroy, SA Spider Club
For me the most exciting find of the day was a MINUTE brown spider, an adult female about 2 mm from “nose to tail” which I failed to photograph because it was just too small and too fast. I cannot even place it in a family!
Alison Gitelson, Northcliff
I love reading VeldTalk. I lived for many years in the country - first in Muldersdrift and then Kyalami and even Pineslopes before all the development took place. The newsletter brings back lovely memories of veld, stables, snakes and goggas. We enjoyed the Scorpion Walk, both for the exercise in beautiful surroundings and for the opportunity to share in Jonathan Leeming's great knowledge and enthusiasm for his subject.
Jacobus van Schalkwyk, Gerhardsville
The Gerhardsville community made a superb job of cleaning up around the area in the Easter holidays. They collected a truck-load full of black refuse bags. Thank you to all who pitched in!
Roy Ncube, Zimbabwe
The March VeldTalk was a blast! I was laughing all the way from beginning to end with all those funny stories of snakes and frogs. The snake that added colour to the collection was the one the dog pointed out! What a lovely chap that dog must be!
Lynne Compton, Knopjeslaagte
I live on a smallholding and early one morning I went to feed our animals and to let them out. I found my donkey limping and saw something that looked like a broken pencil sticking out of her front leg. It turned out to be a porcupine quill. Our vet, Dr Hildegard Setzkorn, had to remove three quills, embedded five to six cms in the donkey’s leg!
On closer inspection I discovered 30 to 40 quills lying near the stable. I presume the donkey attacked the porcupine and came off second best?
The donkey made a complete recovery. It’s nice to know that there are porcupines out here!
Elise Bruwer, Pretoria
I get so depressed when I see those stunted trees trying to grow in the small circles allocated to them in shopping mall parking areas. I found this encouraging pic on the internet - go, tree, GO!
“Guineafowl”, Lammermoor Conservancy
It has been a long time since we last saw, or heard, any Guineafowl on our property in Lammermoor. When we moved here in 1995 we had flocks of more than a 100 birds with plenty of chicks each year.
In the past five years or so, due to increased poaching, we ended up with about 20 birds. Lately there have only been three chicks. I would be interested to hear from other residents in the area if perhaps they have the same experience?
Ian Wyethe, Doornrandje
Some quick feedback on the baby "hyena" our dog found in the veld (VeldTalk no 72). It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. It was a male jackal! Nonetheless, all is well with the baby. On the same day that we found the baby we saw an adult jackal that was killed on the R511. In all probability it was the mother of this little one.
Ginn Fourie, Lindi Fourie Foundation, Cape Town
What a gripping newsletter! I must say the photography is splendid and the script fascinating. Well done, I have put it under Favourites.
Alex Delides, Oori Private Nature Reserve,, Riverside Estates
Every year on the first of May a group of intrepid climbers tackle Rhenosterkop, the Conservancy’s landmark mountain. The view from the summit all round is magnificent. You can see half of Gauteng! We also spotted the white lions in the veld below Rhenosterkop.
Caption: The hiking group at the beacon on the highest point of Rhenosterkop. There were 23 climbers this year - five from the Oori and the rest from other areas in the Conservancy, including their friends.”
Carol Martin, Friends of Serene Valley and Adopt Moreletaspruit
Thanks for a most interesting newsletter. I really enjoy them. Our Moreletaspruit is also flowing strongly in Pretoria East. I will send you our latest news letters so you know what we are doing here.
Ed: Your news will be most welcome, Carol.
Rouxlé Ferreira, Nyani Conservancy
I love reading this newsletter - always very informative and interesting. I usually forward VeldTalk to our Conservancy members for them to share as well. Keep up the good work!!!!
Henry Schultz, Laezonia
VeldTalk is a mine of information! Its base should be broadened to many more people.
Ed: Henry, it is sent to 1 800 addresses on the distribution list.
Rebecca Haynes, Midrand
Please add me to your distribution list for this newsletter. I am in the Blue Hills, Midrand area. I think the newsletter is great and would like to see it circulated to our community.
Kathryn Goetsch, Hennops River
This is the state of the Hennops River, almost every day - just varying amounts of foam. I suspect dumping of excess chemicals and/or sewerage spills. The river upstream, where it comes from Centurion and above, is absolutely disgusting. The pollution is noticeably worse just after it rains. It could be that the water is more rapid and causes more foam or it could be that whoever is dumping thinks it will be less noticeable when it rains.
Willem Snyman, Hennopsrivier
Die Hennops is besig om dood te gaan. Daar is dik skuim en op plekke ‘n dik laag bruin sediment waaruit stinkende borrels opstyg.
Stella Meldau, Woodrock Kennels, Hennops River
We hosted a Mandela Day for the Hennops Soccer Club which plays every Wednesday night. The guys were given a talk on pet care, the need for sterilisation and then we handed out togs, balls and boots to the value of R16 000, plus lunch. The spirit was euphoric, to put it mildly! And they have not lost a match since then! After our talk 70 animals were brought in to be sterilized.
Alan, Hills and Dales
The Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy also pitched in for Mandela Day. Together with members of the Gekco Conservancy and other environmental organisations they helped clean up a section next to a wetland in Diepsloot. It was heartwarming to see how willingly the Diepsloot kids got into the spirit of things and pitched in to pick up litter - a huge truckload of rubbish.
Yolandie Johnson, Hennops River
I estimate that 90% percent of the fires occurring in the Conservancy every year are started with malicious intent - either by poachers, dog-hunting groups or grass cutters. Huge areas have been burnt this year and I don't think we have seen the end of it because the veld is so dry. We need support and cooperation from all local landowners. I have great appreciation for those who are always ready to help, even outside their own areas, such as Howard Bichard and Noel Malangano from Doornrandje. Thank you guys!
Brett Horn, Durban
I used to live in the Rhenosterspruit Conservancy (no rhinos!) and I was delighted to be part of the Barrows Design Company’s team who erected a four-metre rhino horn at King Shaka International Airport recently. It was covered by drawings collected by the renowned adventurer, Kingsley Holgate, from thousands children in southern Africa who voiced their feelings about rhino poaching.
Ed: The drawings, part of the Rhino Art - Let the children’s voices be heard project - will be handed to the United Nations and Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). About 150 000 messages were received.
Dropping in for a bite
“What an unusual visitor!” Deon and Liz Greyling of the Hartebeesfontein Conservancy on the southern slopes of the Magaliesberg discovered a Southern White-faced Owl sitting in a Karee tree, a mere 30m from their house. “Our dog, Luna, drew our attention by staring fixedly into the tree,” says Liz. “On closer investigation we noticed the owl perched among the dense leaves in camouflage mode. We could get so close that we could almost touch it. Perfect for a photo. It did not fly away - it only puffed itself up and growled at us, almost like a cat.”
“They have an unusual way of camouflaging themselves,” says Deon. “They stretch out their bodies against the tree trunk, slit their big eyes, and then pounce on their prey on the ground - usually rodents.”
Mark Comninos, Chairman, Doornrandje Sector Policing Forum
We’ve had a tough year behind us and to say thank you to the members of the Doornrandje SPF and the Erasmia Police we arranged a community braai. These events bring us together and strengthen our sense of community and if that is the benchmark, it certainly was an overwhelming success.
The Forum took it one step further and asked for donations of 150 cupcakes to deliver to the Erasmia SAPS. Our visit on 3 December was received with surprise and deep appreciation by the SAPS members, who do a thankless job night after night patrolling our neighbourhood.
Col. Killian (Station Commander) expressed his gratitude to all members of the SPF for their tireless assistance in the fight against crime this year. “The extra patrols and vigilance have sent a clear signal to criminals that unwanted movement will not be tolerated and, in doing so, it becomes more difficult to target the neighbourhood,” he said.
Astri Leroy, Spider Club of SA
Thanks so much for continuing to send Veld Talk to me. Make no mistake I read it from end to end, leaving nothing out. The latest, No 68, is the first time I have heard really good news about Pompom weed eradication. PLEASE keep us informed or let me know when and where we can get Liothrips tractabilis for our Ruimsig Butterfly Reserve. (Ed: Try the Plant Protection Research Institute: www.agis.agric.za/wip)
Please note that the Animal Demographic Unit in Cape Town also has SpiderMAP up and running. It isn’t yet complete because we still need to go over common names (most of which we had to make up) to be sure we have the same name for the same spider! So far the baboon and trapdoor spiders on SpiderMAP are working well because there are far fewer of them and are fairly easy to identify from photos because, for spiders, they are big enough to get detailed pictures. As you know most spiders have leg spans smaller than your pinkie finger nail!
Wendy Kruger, Knopjeslaagte
We ride out on the horses on weekends and have been coming across a small buck which we think might be a Klipspringer. The last few weeks we have seen it every time we go. I worry dreadfully about it as it has been closed in by development and it is only a matter of time before it gets caught in a snare or worse - becomes dinner. It has always been alone and we used to see it infrequently. Is there anyone we could contact who could relocate it? I really think it needs help before it meets a sticky painful end. I think even putting it down at this stage would be better than letting it get snared.
Vanessa Reynolds, Cape Town
Thank you for still sending me the VeldTalk. So nice to hear and experience everything happening in Doornrandje and the surrounding area. Makes me homesick! Be blessed in the efforts to keep raising awareness for our beautiful areas.
Carol Martin, Friends of Serene Valley
Thank you very much for the VeldTalk No 67 - I always find these newsletters so interesting and full of inspiration and really appreciate getting them! I loved the deer-shaped power lines and I wish there could be a movement to put similar ones around the country – a bit like the tree-shaped cell phone masts.
Kristin Kallesen, Kyalami
Fantastic newsletter as always… Rhenosterspruit Conservancy is a true gem.
Nick Foster, Doornrandje
The Bradshaw family in Crystal Mist suffered a horrible blow when their house on our property was totally demolished by a fire. The fire appears to have been started by a small child playing with a lighter. The family was left with the clothes they were wearing and their car. Neighbours all pitched in to help.
As always I appreciate receiving this wonderful newsletter - a great way to start my day with a cuppa at the computer!
Danelle Murray, Owl Rescue Centre
It was with great sadness that we read about the death of the Oori giraffes, George and Gigi (VeldTalk no 66). I just wanted to inform you that the electrocution of George can be reported to Eskom to avoid further incidents. We release many of our owls from our premises in Hills and Dales and realised that the Eskom transformer boxes are a problem. We found an electrocuted owl on one of the boxes. We contacted Eskom and are now working with Endangered Wildlife Trust to have these problem boxes insulated to make them safe for birds. It is unfortunately very costly and only a few will be done, but it is a start.
Birgitta van Lierop
As a Chartwell Country Estates resident, I am delighted to be added to your mailing list. I know how much time and effort it takes to put together such a publication and congratulate you whole-heartedly. Would you mind if some of your articles appeared in our CCE Newsletter?
Ed: With pleasure.
Alex Delides, The Oori, Riverside Estates
There were 39 people and a dog on the traditional 1st of May climb to the top of Rhenosterkop, the Conservancy’s beloved landmark. It took us less than two hours to reach the summit where we had a picnic. The kids were looking through binoculars at the lions and the hyena in the Lion Park below, which appeared like little spots to the naked eye. The view is amazing! We were back at Nikita’s restaurant by lunch time, where the cold beer tasted like never before!
Daniel Martin and his friend on top of Rhenosterkop
Thanks for a lovely newsletter. I’ve been getting it since we came to the Rhenosterspruit Conservancy with the Wits Bird Club. Please keep the great work going.
Miles Crisp, Chartwell
That was a super article on Ride the Rhenoster in the last VeldTalk. Even more interesting was the story about the attempt to fix the hole in the Jukskei River “bridge”. For 10 years we have been guiding cyclists over this crossing.
My gang and I knew to aim upstream and if you pedal steadily you can get across quite safely and seemingly effortlessly. We have seen tens of cyclists dumped into the river on this bridge. It is a legend!
The best was a mega-rich resident of a nearby estate. He tipped over his handle bars in the hole, teetered there, then dumped down onto his head and got swept off the bridge. He has never been back!
Has filling the hole spoilt your fun?! Ed.
Charlotte Hanks, Vlakfontein
A little jewel-bright yellow Weaverbird mistakenly ended up in my house. He finally let me pick him up after some coaxing, and when I took him outside, instead of fleeing, he sat on my hand for a few moments and looked me right in the eye. I told him that he was free, and to fly off, and off he went. Such a magic moment!
Colin and Theony McRae, De Tweedespruit Conservancy
We read the article about the new little community library in VeldTalk with interest. We would love to donate a signed copy of my book (Life Etched in Stone) to the library. We can arrange to get it to them or if someone is passing this way they can collect it.
Thanks Colin. I’ve passed your details to the librarians! Ed
Note: The recently launched Dalene Laing Community Library at the Skyview Castle filling station on the R511 is growing steadily. Membership costs R20. More shelving is needed, plus paint and curtains/rods. Mary Scott and Heather van der Heiden would appreciate help with cataloguing their 2 000 books! And more books are welcome - especially kids’ books.
Bryony Walmsley, Noordhoek (Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment)
I always enjoy reading VeldTalk and the interesting articles, but I would just like to point out an inaccuracy in the article entitled “Can we hear the grassroots”. It refers to the keynote speaker at the latest IAIA conference in Somerset West as being Terry Baker. This is incorrect - the keynote speaker was Ross Marshall of the UK Environment Agency. Terry Baker, for the record, was the Conference Chair.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks Bryony. Correction made on the VeldTalk website. Glaudin Kruger (IAIAsa Secretariat) also pointed it out. Ed.
Margie van Coller, Gerardsville
I so enjoy getting the VeldTalk that I forward it to my brother in Fourways Gardens. He got polio at the age of six but despite the disabilities which that left him with he has always loved nature. Please put him and his wife on the mailing list. Thanks for all the interesting information!
Their details have been added - welcome! Ed.
Willem Steenkamp, Hennops River
I've noticed large Karees dying over a large area. Is there a botanist out there that can give advice on trees inexplicably dying? This is Karee country - they are such tough trees! I am really worried.
I've been puzzled by the absence of Karee flowers and berries this winter. By September the trees are usual heavy with those tiny berries. The Karee's name, Rhus lancea, has now been changed to Searsia lancea, by the way. Editor.
Peter Ford, Somerset West
The latest VeldTalk is, as always, an admirable and fascinating communication. I admire everything that your public-spirited neighbours do to preserve this beautiful world, in spite of the many threats that abound. Do keep up the good work - it's an example to all of us.
You have your own battle in the Cape, with the threat of turning that beautiful Princess Vlei into another Mall. We wish you strength and perseverance! Editor
Brevis Andrews, Vlakfontein, on Facebook, 21 June
I was shaking this morning - and not from the cold - I nearly hit a leopard in the dirt road, just 100m from home.
Ed Note: This is the second time a leopard has been spotted in Vlakfontein, not far from Lanseria Airport. The Wyllies, on the other side of the Jukskei River from Brevis's, saw a leopard late one afternoon last November.
Jeanette Ibargoyen, Montevideo, Uruguay
I love all the animal news in VeldTalk! It reminds me of a wonderful time I had in South Africa. More power to all of you who are preserving those wonders for the next generations.
Editor's note: Lovely to have supporters from way over the Atlantic! Hope you can visit again soon.
Carl Pelissier, Roodekrans
Regarding the article on the African Emperor moth (Bunaea alcinoe) in VeldTalk no 62, I have witnessed (over time) a whole colony of these caterpillars exclusively destroying - completely consuming - an area of Ivy (Hedera Helix), which is supposed to be toxic. Can you verify this? They reduced the Ivy to ruins, which in my opinion is marvelous. Wish they’d tackle the Pom-pom next....!
Kalkheuvel West EcoTeam
Early in March staff on a Kalkheuvel West property reported that a lion had been spotted. After investigating the reports and getting first-hand descriptions of the animal, it appeared to be an Aardwolf. This has since been confirmed by camera trap images and an extremely good sighting when a local family flushed one in broad daylight from under a rock they were standing on!
Such news spreads very fast and it is very important that local people understand that an Aardwolf poses no threat. This timid creature eats only termites and its chewing teeth are so poorly developed that it is doubtful that it could eat meat at all. It is a very rare and special creature that does an enormous amount of good in maintaining balance in the veld, such as termite control.
Dave Atkins, Oori Game Reserve, Riverside Estates
We had a bit of a panic with George the Giraffe early in March. He got himself tangled up in horse paddock tape - the third time this has happened. Local residents Stef Marussi and Manfred Muller managed to do the initial disentanglement and by the next morning George had managed to shed the remaining tape.
I'm reducing my carbon footprint in a very simple way these days: I carry a non-plastic reusable beverage container to long meetings, workshops and conferences. By the end of a six-hour workshop, I'm always amazed at how full the rubbish and recycling bins can get, mainly from plastic bottles. And nothing on earth breaks down traditional plastic. While some of these bottles can be recycled into new plastics, those that end up in landfills are here to stay.
Editor: According to a report from the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), the number of beverage cans and bottles landfilled, littered and incinerated in the USA when this VeldTalk went out, was 28,689,256,012. And growing by the second....What is the count in South Africa?
The Wandering Hippo continues to surprise the locals, who try to keep track via Facebook.
Eunisa Muller, Gerardsville:
Does anybody know about the hippo wandering down the R114 towards Mnandi just past the Castle Garage? We had a near collison with it one evening around 20:00. Did not believe our eyes, a car behind us also confirmed it was a hippo!
Reply from Alta du Plessis:
Last update on the hippo - according to an eye witness he is currently in the dam next to Gardener Ross Golf Estate. He moves around between the dams in the area and never stays longer than a day of two.
Elke Haas, Laezonia, decided to be pro-active:
I'm building a dam on my side, to lure the hippo to assist with crime control.
Alastair Armstrong, Hills and Dales became possessive:
It's Hills and Dales' hippo - we want it back!
Lynette Woods, Northern Farm, has the last word (for now):
It's safe and sound in one of NF's dams. I have the pic to prove it.
(About 500m of fencing between Northern Farm and the PPC quarry was completely demolished recently. The hippo in a really bad mood? An out-of-control two-legged maniac with a gripe? This part of the fence has been fixed umpteen times after the hippo(s) had walked through it - clear tracks around - but this is the first time that such a length has been ripped up. Editor)
I have been removing Pompom from my property every year for the past five years, at considerable cost and with constant vigilance. On my way to Pretoria recently I was absolutely horrified to see vast areas of solid pink Pompom on Monument Hill and further west, as well as sheets of it in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve. Is this how Tshwane Municipality takes responsibility for combatting this vicious alien? And then we have to deal with the seeds spreading all over the province? I am disgusted. And on the point of giving up.
Janey Ball, Cape Town
Hello from Cape Town, and a big congratulations on the High Court victory. I am the project manager of Seafront for All, a non-profit group whose application against the City, Province and developer to set aside a flawed environmental decision has just seen the developer's counter application to the Supreme Court of Appeal turned down. Whether the company will try ConCourt remains to be seen.
Meantime, after three years on our matter (part of a 12+ year saga) we share what must be your delight in also being proved 'not bullyable'. Well done!
Ed: Visit their website: www.seafa.org.za
Peter Ford, Somerset West
The article written by Fiona Macleod in the recent Mail&Guardian mentions a coalition being set up to assist concerned residents who encounter similar difficulties (with developers). Please note the name of our body in Somerset West and keep us informed of progress.
I am chairman of the Helderberg Residents’ Action Association (HRAA). This body was set up more than 16 years ago, at the time that local municipalities were being absorbed into the greater Cape Town UniCity. We continue to monitor a wide variety of civil matters, particularly regarding re-zoning and standardisation of building regulations. Developers prowl constantly on and within our borders. The mountain scenery and the coastline offer rich pickings for anyone who can get away with loopholes in the law, or who can create a loophole. Our Urban Edge is under constant attack. Consequently, we are always vigilant.
Anthony, Hills and Dales
We found an excellent tip in the Lammermoor Croaker for catching a snake: Take a piece of pipe – any, such as pool or vacuum cleaner - and put the end into a bag, eg a black refuse bag. Hold the pipe in front of the snake, preferably alongside a wall. The snake, which is likely anxious to get out of your way, would rather slither into the safety of the dark space in the pipe. Once it’s in the pipe you can release it in the veld.
We've had three opportunities to try this out, first with a night adder and then two redlips on our stoep. We're usually alerted by our dogs barking madly and it's quite a scramble to keep the dogs away from the snake while trying to tempt it to go into the pipe so that we can safely release it into the veld. It works - highly recommended!
Marion and Mike Nicholls, Doornrandjie
Thanks for emailing us VeldTalk. It is absolutely fascinating and full of useful information too. We look forward to the next issue. Well done, keep up the good work!
Tanja Klemm-Harris and Corlette Wessels, Vlakfontein