|5 December 2010|
Five weeks after birth in the owl box in the eucalyptus tree near the tennis courts one of the two chicks left the nest to explore the territory round the base of the tree and in the vicinity of the Bowling Club. The other chic waited with the mother in the branches for another week before taking this big step.
|19 November 2010|
Following recommendations from SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute) five members of CREW (Custodians Of Rare and Endangered Wild Flowers) visited Kingfisher Creek to view our magnificent Satyrium princeps orchids. They established the GPS positions of the two main sites and obtained comprehensive information to enable registration of the sites with SANBI Pretoria, SANParks and Cape Nature. They were impressed with the size of the blooms as well as the wide diversity of flora in the reserve. They plan to revisit in the new year to have a closer look.
|18 November 2010|
The AGM of the Knysna Basin Project was held this evening at the Leisure Isle Boat Club. Professor Brian Allanson reported comprehensively on the achievements during the past year. These include research being undertaken by Dr Richard Barnes of St Catharine's College of Dept. of Zoology on micro-organisms in the eelgrass beds at Kingfisher Creek.
Satyrium princeps at their best with 111 blooms from 136 plants. 65% of the flowering plants are located in open areas with the other 35% in the dense bush. Satyrium princeps are now classified in the 2009 Red List as "vulnerable" - i.e. facing a high degree of extinction in the wild. Advice is being sought from SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute) on how best to ensure that these orchids are properly nurtured and protected.
The plant sale at the Leisure Isle Festival, arranged with tremendous support and hard work of Gardening at Leisure (the local garden club), was a wonderful success and raised R17000 for Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve. In addition plants not sold with a value of R2000 have been planted in the Park since the sale and the remaining stock will be sold later this month in aid of various community projects.
Five weeks after Mother Owl settled down on eggs it would appear that they have now hatched. The babies are not yet visible but it is clear from her stance that she is no longer sitting on eggs and that she is moving around - presumably feeding and tending to her young.
One of the new attractions at the Leisure Isle Festival was a Barrel Train that took children, mums and dads on a scenic return trip along the Steenbok Park seawall. Another popular event of the Festival was the Dog Walk arranged by Animal Welfare and staged in Steenbok Park.
An interested group of gardeners visiting Knysna for the Rose Convention took time off to experience a guided walk through the Reserve with the main objective of viewing the Satyrium princeps in full flower.
The first Satyrium princeps (wild orchid) of the season bursts into flower. It is anticipated that there will be 100 blooms this season.
Esther Townsend with some of the visiting ladies from the Knysna Garden Club who visited the Reserve for a conducted "walk and talk" through the Reserve.
The small pond under the aquifer pump in the Park has become a very popular drinking point for many of the visiting dogs - it now seems that at least one of the visitors also enjoys a cooling bath in the pond.
After short visits over the past few weeks to the owl box in the Eucalypus tree west of the tennis courts "mother owl" seems to have commenced the long sit-out on eggs while father perches close by ready to protect and feed his family.
This is the second year that this box has been used - for further details click here.
|1 August 2010|
As reported previously rainfall in the Reserve, and of course in Knysna and the Garden Route in general, has been well below average for over two years and stringent water restrictions have been been instituted by the authorities. However after the good rains of June (151 mm) and July (101 mm) the cumulative rainfall for 2010 has for the first time caught up with the average precipitation for this period.
The graph shows that the cumulative rainfall was well below the 18 year average for the first five months of the year but then by the end of July it reached and exceeded the average.
Thanks to Mac Bunyard for recording and supplying the rainfall data.
|27 July 2010|
In the past few days hundreds of moth larvae (caterpillars) have massed in a number of Rhus crenata bushes at the west end of the concrete path and in Rogers Way. These larvae have been identified by Dave Edge as the Barred Eggarlet Moth (Bombycomorpha bifascia or B. pallida).
They defoliate different species of Rhus plants in a matter of days. The bushes recover rapidly from this "natural" pruning and new leaf growth is soon noticeable. Nothing seems to prey on them and their long white hairs cause no irritation.
|4 July 2010|
In a break with tradition the organizers of the Knysna Festival decided to hold the kiddies cycle races independent of the adult races. Steenbok Park was chosen as the ideal venue and on the race day perfect weather conditions prevailed. The start was at the boat club entrance, which was transformed into a kiddies playground complete with jumping castle, a stilt walker and face painting, plus food and refreshments, and followed in a circle along the seawall and back through the Park.
The organisers were thrilled with the huge turn out of 370 kiddies who participated in 3 categories up to age 11. If you include the parents/technical advisers/ pace setters and coaches, the total swelled to 550 participants. Every child was a winner and each received a medal and a bag full of goodies. The response from the public was most heartening and all enjoyed the amazing ambience of the recently upgraded Park. Compliments were heaped on the organization, the choice of route and safety measures. Thanks to all who made it a successful event and in particular to Spur, Pick n Pay and Knysna Rotary.
|1 July 2010|
After months of drought and very low rainfall, relief finally arrived in June with a total of 149 mm rain measured in Steenbok Park. This is nearly three times the monthly average over the past ten years and was the highest monthly rainfall recorded since November 2007. It was a beautiful sight to see large areas of pooling of fresh water throughout the Reserve and to hear again frogs croaking away in the low lying areas. Continuation of the heavy rainfall trend is predicted for July.
|9 June 2010|
hrough the kind and generous support of Knysna Rotary we have been able to add to the "story board" collection in the Reserve providing information on interesting environmental issues. This latest board explains the reason for trees in the tree copses having been planted so close together and provides other answers as to factors ensuring their rapid growth.
|2 June 2010|
Through the welcome donation of top soil from two separate sources a start has been made in filling in "wash away holes" along the seawall which is affectionately referred to by the "oldies" as the tow path.
|28 May 2010|
As the autumn blooms fade away the aloes provide a magnificent display of varoius shades of red and orange. The most prominent in the Reserve are the towering Aloe thraskii and the magnificent Aloe arboresens and Aloe ferox.
|14 May 2010|
Led by Ina Bruwer learners from Knysna Christian School spent an exciting morning in the Reserve learning more about birds, flora and environmental issues.
|13 May 2010|
The second quarter newsletter issued today features:
an extremely invasive and competitive grass which has spread over large sections of the Reserve.
our partners who work closely with us on many environmental issues, and
organisation of educational activities by schools in the Reserve.
Click here to view the newsletter
|30 April 2010|
Initial planting of the new garden (adjacent to where Horne Drive joins Links Drive) has been completed and largely features indigenous grasses as well as a number of non-indigenous grass species that are already found in the Reserve. Other plant species will be kept to a minimum whilst over time it is planned to include all indigenous grasses found along the Garden Route.
|15 April 2010|
Membership fees from "Friends of Steenbok" provided the funds to upgrade and automate the irrigation system in the Park. Water is provided from a spike witch is reticulated to all cultivated areas. The small pump house was upgraded by Mike and our two gardeners (Johnny and Grave) to accommodate the control panel. The system is now fully operational and in the main is programmed to water in the early hours before sunrise.
|30 March 2010|
A grand tribute was recently made to the vision and dedication of Roger Voysey for the major contribution he has made in planning and establishing Steenbok Nature Reserve in recent years. The committee of the Leisure Isle Residents Association (LIRA) and the trustees of The Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve recognised this at a re-naming and unveiling ceremony on 30 March when Knysna Executive Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies and Keith Hollis chairman of LIRA officiated. The essence of this tribute was the official renaming of the "Wandelpad", in the Reserve between the Boat Club and the Bowling/Tennis club, to now be known as Roger's Way.
|19 March 2010|
Over 100 children from Oakhill School participated in an interactive eco day at the Reserve. The children in many different groups participated in a "Plant Hunt" of the flowering plants based on "What’s flowering in the Reserve"- as displayed on the notice board at the main entrance. They were all supplied with maps of the Reserve on which to mark where the flowers were found. They also participated in rubbings of bark and told the time on the sundial. Bird watching was another activity and the older children were told about the salt marsh and bait collecting. It was a great thrill to see the enthusiastic youngsters enjoying the beauty of Steenbok Nature Reserve on what turned out to be a magic day.
|16 March 2010|
Progress with implementation of the 2010 Plan was endorsed by the Advisory Committee at its half yearly meeting held on 16th March. This panel includes four local environmentalists appointed in terms of a management agreement with Knysna Municipality. Pictured here are two of the environmentalists Maretha Alant of SANParks and Kate Southey of Knysna Municipality together with James Botha Knysna Councillor for Ward 5, who chairs these meetings. The other two environmentalists are Prof. Brian Allanson and David Edge. This team of four meets twice a year - in September to approve plans for the year ahead and again in March to "audit" progress with implementation of the plan approved 6 months earlier. The Advisory Committee congratulated management on progress achieved
|11 March 2010 |
The Annual general Meeting was held at the Leisure Isle Boat Club in the late afternoon and a number of significant decisions were taken. The name of Northern Shores Development Trust was changed to The Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve Trust and the constitution was amended to recognize all members on an equal basis, to change the number and appointment of trustees to eight (appointment of five by members, two by Leisure Isle Residents Association and one by Knysna Municipality), and to create a management committee of eight to be appointed by members.The names of those appointed as Trustees and Management Committee members, as well as a detailed record of the meeting, are detailed in the minutes of the meeting.
The amended constitution can be viewed by clicking here.
|23 February 2010|
The wider Knysna community has acknowleded the significant enhancements made to Steenbok Nature Reserve. The presentation of a Community Service Award by the Rotary Club of Knysna at a function this evening has drawn further attention to the growing popularity of this Reserve as a haven to soak in the beauty of the Reserve and the Knysna estuary.
|22 February 2010|
Two additional display cabinets have been put in place to give further exposure to the quarterly newsletter of the Friends of the Reserve as well as other relevant information. The latest newsletter featured the Brunsvigia orientalis which have been flowering in January and February.
|13 February 2010|
Approximately 150 plants have been planted in the expanded Aquifer Garden with winding rustic pathways linking the hand water pump with the main pathway through the Park. This provides a further point of botanical interest and beauty along the popular path.
|8 February 2010|
We are thrilled to report that for the first time in 10 years the number of flowering blooms of the beautiful Brunsvigia orientalis has increased from a ten year low a year ago of 210 blooms to a preliminary count recently completed of 347, an increase of 65 %. However this is still a long way off the record count in 2000 of over 800 blooms. We are unable at this stage to offer any scientific explanation for the improvement but will, with the assistance of experts, attempt to ascertain the reasons.
|25 January 2010|
In an effort to further clean-up the litter problem, especially at Kingfisher Creek, we have installed additional rubbish bins. We have also arranged for our gardeners to "sweep" the sea wall, the Park and the pathways to kingfisher Creek removing both dog faeces and litter. Discussions are also underway with the Municipality to improve the effectiveness of our joint efforts to keep the whole Reserve free of both litter and dog faeces.
|15 January 2010|
The gardening team kicked off 2010 with cutting a new path from the Nature Walk through to the salt marsh. On the way along this short walk one experiences most beautiful views from a lovely cool spot under one of our most magnificent Milkwood trees. It is believed that the area cleared is where Satyrium princeps flowered profusely many years ago. As a result of an initial clearing undertaken last year 30 flowers of this most beautiful orchid species came out in spring and we are hoping for many more later this year.
|13 January 2010|
The drought continues relentlessly with 471mls of rain recorded in Steenbok Park during 2009 as compared to the average over the past 12 years of 794mls. October, November and December were exceptionally poor months with only 49% of the twelve year average rainfall falling - actual rainfall for the three months was 117 mils which is less than the rainfall recorded recently in Gauteng over a 24 hour period.
Rainfall figures are meticulously recorded throughout the year by Malcolm Bunyard who also produces the rainfall charts featured at our information centre. Thank you Mac for the sterling job you are doing.