Magnificent book of our South African Coasts.

Magnificent book of our South African Coasts.

This magnificent book “South African Coasts – A celebration of our seas and shores” can be bought online on www.sst.org.za or at SAMREC. The proceeds of the book go to educating our children about the sea. It includes information on Hope Spots. This info taken from Raggy Charters’ website. www.raggycharters.co.za

What are Hope Spots?

Mission Blue defines Hope Spots as special conservation areas that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need protection. About 12 % of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks, world heritage sites, monuments, etc.), while less than three percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Mission Blue is committed to changing this. Networks of Hope Spots maintain biodiversity, provide a carbon sink, generate life-giving oxygen, preserve critical habitat and allow low-impact activities like ecotourism to thrive. They are good for the ocean, which means they are good for us. By engaging governments, businesses, schools, research organizations, universities, civil society and the media, Mission Blue hopes to effect significant changes so that future generations can thrive on a healthy planet, with a healthy ocean.

Port Elizabeth’s Algoa Bay is a Hope Spot. http://www.nmbt.co.za/algoa_bay_hope_spot.html

 

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Three-in-one new tour from Raggy Charters, Port Elizabeth.

Three-in-one new tour from Raggy Charters, Port Elizabeth.

0090080007006010Here’s a nice new tour combo on offer from “Raggy Charters”:

Head off on an exhilarating boat cruise to St. Croix Island in Algoa Bay to see the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world. After that it’s off to SAMREC, Port Elizabeth’s marine bird and rehabilitation centre in Summerstrand. Finish the day off with a visit to The Bayworld Museum, Snake Park and Oceanarium in Humewood.

For more information on The Penguin Patrol and to book, visit: http://www.raggycharters.co.za/page/penguin_patrol

About Raggy Charters, in their own words, from their website: http://www.raggycharters.co.za

“As far as we are aware we are the oldest marine eco tour company combined with a conservation project in Africa – since 1992. We are owner run and managed and use the volunteer system to assist in our tours and projects. We specialise in taking tourists, photographers, corporate office party groups, TV crews and marine wildlife enthusiasts on ocean safaris to watch the whales, dolphins, penguins and other natural wonders of Algoa Bay. Our wildlife and whale watching boat cruises possibly cover the longest distance of any ocean safari along the South African coast, lasting for 3-4 hours and covering 50km. This provides guests with a better chance of seeing the full array of marine wildlife Algoa Bay has to offer. Port Elizabeth is a hidden gem in South Africa for whale watching, and other wildlife viewing. With seasonal visits from Southern right whales, humpback whales, and indo-pacific humpback dolphins. We have the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world right on our doorstep. As well as our other resident species including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, bryde’s whales, Cape gannets and more. All year round we at Raggy Charters can offer guests some great wildlife viewing experiences in our secret and undisturbed bay.”

Lloyd’s wife Dr Lorien Pichegru has been studying the breeding success of African Penguins in Algoa Bay for the past six years, to determine whether competition with purse-seine fisheries has caused the decline in African penguin numbers. Lorien gained her PhD at the University of Strasbourg, France, in 2008 and is currently a research associate at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology (click here for a list of her publications). Part of the study involves closing a 20km radius around St Croix Island to fishing by purse seiners who target one of the penguins prey items, the sardine. It has been found that even this small Marine Protected Area around the colony helps dramatically. Click here for more information about the research being conducted on the African penguin.

Dr Pichegru says: “My research focuses on seabirds foraging ecology and life history traits in relation to prey availability and local competition with industrial fisheries, using animal-borne miniaturized recorders, such as GPS recorders combined with pressure sensors, cameras, etc. taped on adults breeding small chicks to determine the at-sea behaviour of several species of seabirds breeding in South Africa, endemic to the region and threatened with extinction.”

See Dempsey’s Blog on Raggy Charters’ feature in the SA Country Life magazine: http://dempseys.co.za/port-elizabeth-features-again-in-sa-country-life-mag

Claire Fulton highlighting Port Elizabeth’s country spots. June 2015

Claire Fulton highlighting Port Elizabeth’s country spots. June 2015

In case you had not noticed, yes we are fans of the SA Country Life magazine. Take a peek at the June 2015 issue where Claire Fulton writes about ‘Pastoral PE.’ And oh yes, you need to know that she is from Port Elizabeth. Keep us in the spotlight please Claire.

http://www.countrylife.co.za/pastoral-pe/

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One Fine Day in March 2015.

One Fine Day in March 2015.

It’s been a long and cold winter in Port Elizabeth but the days are longer and we are seeing more light now, we are dreaming of that ‘One Fine Day’ in the March 2015 issue of SA Country Life magazine by Port Elizabeth’s Claire Fulton. Remember us please when next you plan your visit to Port Elizabeth.

 

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Port Elizabeth in the SA Country Life spotlight, issue Dec 2014.

Port Elizabeth in the SA Country Life spotlight, issue Dec 2014.

Yes we are VERY late with this, it was buried in some desk dust but we still want to share it.

We love it when SA Country Life Mag talks about our special city:)

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Port Elizabeth’s Alan Fogarty wins first prize.

Port Elizabeth’s Alan Fogarty wins first prize.

So nice to open the latest issue of SA Country Life and read of Alan Fogarty’s first prize that he won in the Image Club photographic competition. We know that guy! Alan runs his business here in Port Elizabeth called Alan Tours

The following piece on Alan is taken from his website http://www.alantours.co.za/

Always a free spirit, Alan has embarked on his own enterprise and offers tourists the wealth of his accumulated knowledge and know-how spanning more than 30 years in the wilds of Southern Africa. He is a qualified level three F.G.A.S.A. (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) Tour Guide and a Specialist African wildlife nature guide with further qualifications having been obtained in Zambia and Mozambique. His interests are wide and varied, birds, botany and bushman paintings.; mammal, reptiles and more recently our cultural heritage, inspired by the myriad of ruins in the Limpopo river valley as well as the recent colonial history of the Eastern Cape with special emphasis on the tribal Xhosa and their leadership during a difficult era.

photographer: alan fogarty's first prize competition 'image club' sa country life aug 2015

Photographer: Alan Fogarty’s First prize in competition ‘Image Club’ SA Country Life Aug 2015

 

 

 

 

Eastern Cape’s expression of art.

Eastern Cape’s expression of art.

Proud to be highlighting the Eastern Cape’s expression at this years National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

“Organised by the National Arts Festival team, Africa’s largest and most colourful cultural event offers a choice of the very best of both indigenous and imported talent. Every year for 11 days Grahamstown’s population doubles as people flock to the city for a feast of arts, crafts and sheer entertainment. Every hall or large room becomes a theatre, parks and sport fields become flea markets, normally quiet streets have to be managed by an army of temporary traffic wardens and every available bed in the city is booked. The festival offers more than 500 shows from opera, cabaret, drama and jazz to stand-up comics and folk music.While many come to take in the arts, others simply want to be there for the spectacle or to market products ranging from tie-dyed T-shirts and woven rugs to handmade jewellery and customised telephones. The festival operates out of the 1820 Settlers National Monument and is organised by the Grahamstown Foundation.”

Source: http://www.grahamstown.co.za/event/national_arts_festival

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Cormorant conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth.

Cormorant conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth.

On any day, at any time you are sure to find a cormorant conference in full swing, doing a balancing act on Bird Rock along the beachfront, Port Elizabeth. Why do cormorants often stand in the sun with their wings spread out to dry? They have less preen oil than other birds so their feathers can get soaked rather than shedding water like a duck’s; wet feathers probably make it easier for cormorants to hunt underwater with agility and speed. We find them rather comical to observe, they seem to be packed with ‘attitude.’ The white-breasted cormorant in particular seems to look wrecked and jagged!

The Cape cormorant is a bird endemic to the southwestern coasts of Africa. It breeds from Namibia south to the southern Cape Province. In the nonbreeding season, it may be found as far north as the mouth of the Congo, and also extends up the east coast of South Africa as far as Mozambique. In the 1970s the breeding population was estimated as over 1 million in Namibia alone. However, the IUCN now classifies it as “Endangered” due to a very rapid decline in the population over the last three generations. The Cape cormorant is an almost entirely glossy black bird, though in breeding condition it has a purplish tinge and a few white plumes on the head, neck, and cloacal areas. Its gular skin ( throat skin) is a deep orangey yellow; unusually for a cormorant, its lores are feathered. ( the lore is the region between the eyes and nostrils of birds, reptiles, and amphibians) The bird’s wing is about 240–280 mm in extent, and it weighs 800-1,600 grams, with little sexual dimorphism. They commonly forage in flocks, taking schooling fish from mid-water, such as pilchards, anchovies, and sand eels. Its prey are typically much smaller than those of the sympatric bank cormorant. Their major predators are black-backed jackals, which take the occasional adult while it is roosting, and nest-site predators such as great cormorants, eastern great white pelicans, and kelp gulls.

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_cormorant

 

bird rock, port elizabeth

Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth

Always a seagull around

Always a seagull around

keeping busy doing nothing

Keeping busy doing nothing

cormorant conference on bird rock, port elizabeth

Cormorant Conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth

getting up close and personal with the cormorants

Getting up close and personal with the cormorants

Not quite a board meeting

Not quite a board meeting

fishing break

Fishing break

 

 

Regular sightings of endangered African Black Oystercatcher, Port Elizabeth.

Regular sightings of endangered African Black Oystercatcher, Port Elizabeth.

oystercatchers along the rocky shore, port elizabeth

Oystercatchers along the rocky shore, Port Elizabeth

The African black oystercatcher is resident to the mainland coasts and offshore islands of southern Africa sometimes occurring as a vagrant in Angola and Mozambique. These pretty black birds are often seen wading and feeding on the rocks very near to Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth. They are large and noisy waders with completely black plumage, red legs and a strong broad red bill. The near-threatened oystercatcher has a population of over 6000 adults, which breed between November and April. The sexes are similar in appearance, however, females are larger and have a slightly longer beak than males. Juveniles have soft grey plumage and do not express the characteristic red legs and beak until after they fledged. The call is a distinctive loud piping, very similar to Eurasian oystercatchers. Its breeding range extends from Lüderitz, Namibia to Mazeppa Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Typically sedentary African oystercatchers rarely leave their territories, which include a nesting site and feeding grounds. These will usually be located on or near rocky shores where they can feed. The lifespan of an African oystercatcher is about 35 years, of which they are known to pair up for 25 years. Most mainland egg and chick fatalities are due to disturbance by people, off-road vehicles, dog attacks and predation by the kelp gull and other avian predators. Off shore pairs experience similar avian predation although most chicks perish due to starvation. African oystercatchers predominantly feed on molluscs such as mussels and limpets, although are known to also feed on polychaetes, insects and even fish. They are adapted to pry open mussels and loosen limpets off the rocks but have been recorded picking through sand to locate other food items.

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_oystercatcher

variety of coastal birds, port elizabeth

Variety of coastal birds, Port Elizabeth

sightings of the oystercatcher along the humpback trail, p.e.

Sightings of the oystercatcher along the Humpback Trail, P.E.

A treat to spot an african oystercatcher in flight

A treat to spot an African oystercatcher in flight

african black oystercatchers, port elizabeth

African Black Oystercatchers, Port Elizabeth

Stark contrast in colour, the black against the red bills and legs of the oystercatcher

Stark contrast in colour, the black against the red bills and legs of the oystercatcher

Nelson Mandela Bay Soccer Stadium. Pristine.

Nelson Mandela Bay Soccer Stadium. Pristine.

Wonderful to be part of the tour of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium yesterday with PEMBBA members. We never tire of the beautiful structure and setting. Thank you to Access Management team and PEMBBA Port Elizabeth Metro Bed and Breakfast Association for organizing the tour for us.

The Pitch: The playing surface is made of natural grass that was grown off site, in the St Albans area. The areas surrounding the pitch are made of artificial turf.The field that was originally laid was a mixture of kikuyu grass and rye grass. For the 2010 FIFA World Cup though, the field was be made up completely of rye grass. The field was designed to be able to accommodate both football and rugby. The pitch is maintained by a group of 5 people who work day and night to ensure the quality of the playing surface.  A ‘pitch grow’ lighting system is used to ensure that all grass on the pitch grows properly. A unit with 61 000 watt bulbs is used to help certain parts of the pitch covered by shadow due to the stadium roof.

Information drawn from Wikipedia.
Tonight at 7pm:  EP Kings vrs Sharks XV.

Go EP Kings go!

home of ep kings

Home of EP Kings

ready for atmosphere

Ready for atmosphere.

five years on and condition of the stadium remains pristine.

Five years on and condition of the stadium remains pristine.

dedicated team works around the clock to maintain perfect pitch.

Dedicated team works around the clock to maintain perfect pitch.

dazzling structure

Dazzling structure

nelson mandela bay stadium keeps watch over north end lake.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium keeps watch over North End Lake.