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This is the News archive page for all News pertaining to 2009.

21 December 2009
The first Brunsvigia orientalis flower heads appeared early this season in the Indigenous Garden. This is a month earlier than normal and is probably a result of extensive spike watering in the Indigenous Garden during this very hot spell.

Our other beautiful orchid the yellow Eulopia speciosa has hardly bloomed at all this summer in the "reserve area" although many lovely specimens have been seen in private gardens where they are being watered
Brunsvigia orientalis flower
2 December 2009
Steenbok News, a new publication is launched and will be published in the future at four monthly intervals. Its purpose is to hi-light specific areas of interest, or concern, relating to the flora and fauna of Steenbok Nature Reserve. The first issue covers the Spotted Eagle-Owls in the Reserve that have caused tremendous interest over the past three months.
Click here to view the pictorial story of the "Owls on Leisure Isle".
For the full account of all the facts behind the pictorial story Click here.
Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve
30 November 2009
Following the launch in October 80 new members of Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve have been signed up. With the original founder and life members of NSDF granted honorary membership, this brings membership of the Reserve to over 100. Funds raised in this manner will be used to fund new developments not covered by the maintenance allocations from LIRA and the municipality.

Click here to register as a member and by so doing support the continued upliftment of the Reserve
Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve
15 November 2009
Implementation of plans for the year ahead are already underway and include completion of the Aquifer Exhibit and surrounding garden and establishment of a new gardened area adjacent to the Horne Road intersection.

Click here to view the detailed annual plan to 30 September 2010.
Aquifer Exhibit
30 October 2009
One of the long awaited Spotted Eagle Owl chics made its first "balcony appearance" this morning. This is the smaller of the two and is only now beginning to lose the white colour. Well done to Mike who waited patiently for two hours for this shot taken with a 500mm lens mounted on a tripod.
Spotted Eagle Owl chics
27 October 2009
Earlier this month it became apparent that our resident Spotted Eagle Owl had produced two baby chicks. Although the bottom section of the owl box (situated in the second gum tree west of the tennis courts)is not visible from below it was clear that Mom was no longer sitting on eggs and that she was standing up and tending for her off-spring. In the last few days two chicks have been spotted and there is a buzz of excitement with the many who visit the site daily as to when the chicks will undertake their first flight down to the ground. Meanwhile Dad remains patiently on guard sitting on nearby branches or in the Erythrina caffra across the road.
Spotted Eagle Owl chics
23 October 2009
A new well point has been sunk in the Park and fitted with a spike operated by a hand pump. This exhibit has been established to draw attention to the fascinating aquifer system that lies under Leisure Isle and to provide information on this phenomenon which arises as a result of the different densities of fresh and salt water.

It is estimated that there are 350 spikes in operation on Leisure Isle used primarily for watering gardens. During early habitation spikes were used to source water for domestic use but in the absence of water borne sewerage on the Island this is no longer possible - and importantly the spike water is not suitable for drinking. However dogs drink the water with no adverse effects.

Visitors are invited to work this hand pump to experience the strong and consistent flow of water from the spike sunk only 3 metres into the sand.

Click here for a detailed report on the Hydrogeology of Leisure Isle prepared by GCS (Pty) Ltd.
new well point
17 October 2009
Gardening at Leisure (the local garden club) organised a most successful plant sale as part of the Leisure Isle Festival. Besides raising R10000 for Werkswinkel, a local charity, R2000 worth of indigenous plants were donated to Steenbok Nature Reserve. This has enabled the opening of a meadow type garden in the Reserve close to where Horne Drive joins Links Drive.
signage in the Reserve
17 October 2009
Following the launch earlier this month of Friends of Steenbok the Organising Committee featured pictorial displays at the Leisure Isle Festival and signed up a number of new members.

Click here for full details including a simple one page membership form that can be completed and returned electronically.
Friends of Steenbok
2 October 2009
The Canon Interpretive Board Walk in Steenbok Nature Reserve was opened today by the Mayor of Knysna who also launched "Friends of Steenbok. In his address to a large crowd Roger Voysey paid tribute to Canon CWD for their generous sponsorship which not only covered the construction of the interpretive boardwalk but also provided funds to complete the finer details of the overall Development Plan.

Click here for Roger's full address.
The Canon Interpretive Board Walk opening
29 September 2009
The most precious fynbos found in Steenbok Nature Reserve is the Satyrium princeps orchid featured here. It is found along the Nature Walk west of the tennis courts on the edge of Buchu and Rhus vegetation. This vegetation had become very dense and some 18 months ago was partly cleared to expose the Satyrium plants, which out of flowering season can be identified by two circular leaves lying flat on the ground.

More than 20 blooms are expected this season, extending into November, and thereafter it is planned to remove more of the undergrowth to encourage more flowers next year
Satyrium princeps orchid
20 September 2009
The second phase of the sponsorship award from Roland & Letta Hill Trust, announced in June, is the enlargement of the information board at the main entrance. This is now fully operational and will feature on an ongoing basis rainfall data, plants in flower that month, news and features on a variety of subjects.

The third phase involving the putting in place of a large number of plant labels in the Indigenous Garden will be undertaken in the new year.
sponsorship award from Roland & Letta Hill Trust
4 September 2009
Advance notice is given that the Interpretive Board Walk will be officially named and opened by the Mayor of Knysna at a function to be held at noon on Friday 2 October 2009.

All members of the public will be invited to attend and further details will be given in the local press nearer the time.
Interpretive Board Walk
3 September 2009
Following the sponsorship award from Roland & Letta Hill Trust announced in June a major overhaul of all signage in the Reserve is underway. The first phase covers:
  • replacement and upgrading of all existing signs, and where necessary re-positioning
  • introduction of directional and map signs to help visitors understand the extent of the Reserve and its position in relation to Leisure Isle
  • removal of all signs, and dis-used poles along the sea wall that previously have marred the sky line.
The next phase is enlargement of the information board at the main entrance and putting in place of plant labels in the Indigenous Garden.
signage in the Reserve
31 August 2009
Having installed a nesting box (in April in one of the gum trees next to the tennis courts), specifically designed and put together for Spotted Eagle Owls, we are thrilled to advise that the pair that have been nesting in the Milkwoods in the Kingfisher Creek area have now taken up residence in their new home.

Click here to read some thoughts that readers might find useful..
Spotted Eagle Owls
28 August 2009
Robin Midlane passed away earlier this week after a long illness. Following the initiative to create Steenbok Nature Park in the mid-nineties Robin was Chairman from 1995 to 2003 of the Volunteer Group that managed the Park during this period. Robin will always be remembered for his wonderful contribution to the development and growth of Steenbok Nature Park.
Robin Midlane
26 August 2009
Spring has sprung and the Indigenous Garden in the Park is a blaze of colour. This coincides with completion of the major expansion to the Indigenous Garden that now provides a feast of plant species indigenous to the Garden Route. It is planned during the months ahead to label the different species that are featured in the garden.
Indigenous Garden in the Park
3 July 2009
We have identified a tremendous problem in the Park with Imperata Cylindrica (Cogon grass, Cotton Grass, Japanese Blood grass). Worldwide it is regarded as a very serious weed in tropical countries and has been identified as one of the ten worst weeds by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It spreads by scaly rhizomes and is gradually invading and over-running Steenbok Nature Park.
Contributor: Esther Townsend
Click here to read more including preliminary advice obtained on possible remedies.
Imperata Cylindrica
24 June 2009
As a result of predicted high spring tides, low atmospheric pressure, high seas and strong westerly winds tides approaching 2 m Medium Sea Level (MSL) were experienced on the Wednesday and Thursday. Theses tides were approximately 300 mm lower than the exceptionally high tide of 2.20 m MSL recorded on 31 August last year.

Fortunately steps taken at the end of last year to protect the new planting in the Wandelpad from salt water flooding proved successful and this area, linking Kingfisher Creek and Steenbok Nature Park, continues to flourish and is proving to be a popular and interesting extension to the Park walks.
specie signs
14 June 2009
Advice has been received from the Roland & Letta Hill Trust that they will again sponsor Steenbok Nature Reserve. They have allocated R47700 to be used for replacing and upgrading signage and for information and plant specie signs.

The Trust provided funds nearly 15 years ago to assist with the establishment of Steenbok Park and we are most fortunate that they have again supported our endeavors.
specie signs
11 June 2009
A number of Greater Flamingos were spotted this morning in the Ashmead channel between the Small Boat Harbour and Thesen Island.
Greater Flamingos
3 June 2009

A small volunteer task group is studying the Brunsvigia orientalis (Candelabra) plants which flower in January to try and ascertain the reason for a reduction in the number of flowers from 800 seven years ago to between 300 and 200 in recent years. In the process they came across the lava (caterpillar) of the Lily borer (Brithys pancratii). Initially pesticides were applied to kill off the caterpillars but following consultation with experts it has been decided to discontinue this practice and to let nature take is course.
lava (caterpillar) of the Lily borer
16 May 2009
Two ladies from our local gardening club, Gardening at Leisure have accepted responsibly for maintenance of the main entrance garden and have recently completed a general clean-up and planting programe.
Two ladies from our local gardening club
14 May 2009
Three separate tree groves have been established in Steenbok Park in different locations in close proximity to the brick path way. Sixty indigenous trees, comprising 45 different species, have been planted closely together to mimic the natural habitat found in the forests around Knysna. The trees will be identified with labels sourced from the Dendrological Foundation.
Three separate tree groves
20 April 2009
The east entrance to the park has been remodeled and replanted under the watchful eye of the residents overlooking this area.
The east entrance to the park
11 April 2009
Having spotted the pair of Spotted Eagle Owls along the Nature Walk west of the tennis courts Mike kindly made and installed a Spotted Eagle Owl nesting box in one of the gum trees next to the courts.
Spotted Eagle Owl nesting box
1 April 2009
During the past quarter progress on the upgrade of Steenbok Nature Park continued with replanting of flower beds at the main entrance, and along Links Drive; removal of alien beefwood trees (Casuarina cunninghamiana); relocation of benches along the main path; commencement of substantial extensions to the Indigenous Garden-in both size and diversity of species; and submission of applications for financial support to commercial and environmental support agencies.
replanting of flower beds at the main entrance
31 March 2009
The Garden Route suffered its worst drought in possibly 40 years. This is clearly evidenced by quarterly rainfall in the Park of 82mm as compared to the quarterly average over the past 20 years of 177 mm. In particular rainfall in January and March was less than a quarter of the 20 year average.
The Garden Route suffered its worst drought in possibly 40 years
16 March 2009
Following the scarcity of sightings of the Spotted eagle owls in recent months in the Links Drive Gum trees it was exciting to find a pair nesting in the Mllkwood trees along the Nature Walk between the tennis courts and Kingfisher Creek. Thanks to Mike St Quinton for the excellent photograph.
Spotted eagle owls
15 February 2009
One of the special botanical features of Steenbok Nature Park is the flowering, in January/February each year, of the beautiful candelabra flower Brunsvigia orientalis. This year 220 blooms were counted which is again down on about 300 counted in the two previous years, and dramatically lower than counts in the periods 2000 to 2004 of between 650 and 880. The cause of this disturbing trend, and remedial action, is yet to be determined.
special botanical features of Steenbok Nature Park is the flowering
Steenbok Nature Reserve 2009
P O Box 676, Knysna, 6570
Tel (083)754 5390 or 044 384 1896
Email: info@steenboknaturereserve.org.za

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