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ECOLOGY

Fynbos

Whale Rock Ridge is privileged to have two unique types of Fynbos biomes present on site.

  1. South Outeniqua Sandstone Fynbos with an ecological status of vulnerable
  2. Knysna Sand Fynbos with an ecological status to critically endangered

Whale Rock Ridge has made a conscious effort to continuously remove alien vegetation and rehabilitate the natural vegetation in the public open spaces.

An article that appeared in news 24 on 26/08/2014 stated that a new rare species of Fynbos was found in Plett on a 16 km strip of land between Robberg and Harkerville.  It must be noted that some 1700 species of plants in the Western Cape are currently threatened with extinction.

 


 

BIRDING ON THE ROCK
Bob Forbes

Click here to open an Excel spreadsheet of Birds at Whale Rock Ridge

  • The resident birds on Whale Rock Ridge are slowly adjusting to the changes that were directly and indirectly brought about by the ravages of the fire that passed through the Estate in 2017. Vast tracts of fynbos habitat were destroyed by the blaze.
  • The above impacted heavily on both breeding and feeding facilities for the avian population that called our Estate “home” but interestingly, many persevered and are busy eking out a living on the small tracts of remaining habitat. I suspect that their determination to stay is greatly influenced by the residents who continue to provide prodigious menus to satisfy any bird’s culinary requirements. We think, however, that our resident pair of Orange-breasted Sunbirds has decamped to Robberg where, judging by their response to us, we would like to think we have made contact with them once again!
  • So who elected to stay and can be called genuine, stalwart WRR residents, the ones that nest and feed on the estate and can be easily pointed out to interested visitors?

Consider the above Excel list to view the 72 species who have not abandoned our ground and air space. Many of them, accompanied by their significant other and offspring. This was recently compiled with the help of very highly considered, local, and informed birders. Feel free to suggest any additions that may have escaped our attention.

  • Black = Resident  (the stalwarts that breed and feed on the estate)
  • Blue = Peripheral  (birds that use our airspace to either feed on the Estate, or simply pass over en route to other attractions such as fresh water and tall trees to nest or roost in.
  • Green = Seasonal or regular visitor
  • Red = Irregular visitor

Finally, there are those birds which  are not endemic to the area but pop in briefly and unexpectedly, or perhaps occur locally but are not fynbos specific. They are the ones that photographers rush to the scene to capture on film such as the Dusky Sunbird that took a fancy to an aloe that flowered on Turnstone Crescent. When the aloe was “all used up”, it ventured to Ridge Road where Graham Ebedes identified it. No further sightings were reported and one has to assume that there must have been better pickings elsewhere. The Dusky comes from “over the mountains” where it is commonly recorded  in the Klein Karoo. Another unusual sighting on separate occasions has been a Namaqua Dove which, although it is known to occur in this region, is very rarely seen. Both Nick van den Handel and Bob Forbes have been fortunate to positively identify its presence on the Estate. Then there was the Pied Wagtail which briefly lingered at the dam on the property owned by Daan van der Sijde. This little chap was identified by both the owner and Brian Cross.