We received many positive comments on our last newsletter.

Birding expert, Willie Froneman, of the Xanadu Nature Estate near Hartbeespoort Dam, identified the Smit’s owls as White-faced owls (Otus leucotis).

According to Willie, the Conservancy and surrounds are on the border of these owls’ range of distribution. Willie has the saying: “Birds have wings and can fly where they like – so they can be located anywhere” (email received on 24 February). Willie sent us one of his son Albert’s (well-known bird photographer) beautiful photos. See the invitation to a talk by Willie on rare water birds below.


Our readers/members found the articles on global warming and Ria and Gert Smit’s owls very interesting. Good news – we have had lovely rain thus far during March! The Magalies River is also flowing again, although not as well as we are accustomed to this time of year. We are also experiencing much cooler, cloudy weather, and hope that this bodes well for further rain – otherwise we can expect a nightmare fire season.

Something worth knowing (received via email on 17 March 2016): Very few people know how a rain guage works. 1mm of rain is 1 litre of water per 1 square metre. If you measure 25mm of rain on 1 hectare, it is 250 tons of water. Therefore, if you own a farm of 1 000 hectares, and you measure 80mm of rain, it is 800 tons x 1 000 hectares. That is 800 000 tons of water. If you now calculate 800 000/10/10/365 days, it means that if you transport 10 loads of water in a 10 ton water truck each day of the year, it will take you 21.9 years to transport all this water!

Pete Bower (Gauteng Smallholder, February 2016) writes about global warming:
“We need to look for ways to change our behaviour. Obviously that means living as unwastefully as possible, switching off lights when one leaves the room, not wasting food by cooking too much, fixing dripping taps, etc. But it also means looking for new ways of doing things and new ways of thinking. From seemingly obvious little behavioural changes such as fixing broken appliances rather than replacing them, looking at the use of renewable energy such as wind and solar, growing one’s own food, using recycled inputs such as home-made compost and filtered grey water, redesigning one’s garden to include more edible species and water-wise indigenous plants, setting up barter and sharing networks with one’s neighbours, consciously seeking to cut down on food miles travelled by bought produce, i.e., only buying foods that are locally in-season, and so on, to major lifestyle changes using techniques and machinery that might not yet even been dreamed of. Think of the cellphone and the change it has brought to life on earth. That’s small compared to the sort of fundamental shift we need to turn climate change around”.

Footprint Limited Magazine: Interested in reading more about the environment, recycling, sustainability, biodiversity, global warming, etc? Visit www.footprintlim.com

Would you like to learn more about butterflies? Attend a talk on butterflies at Buffelsdrift (Imbabala venue) on 2 April 2016 at 09:00. Contact Johan Rademan (082 375 4717 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and directions.

While we are talking about climate change, did you know the following about Antarctica?
90% of the world’s fresh water is in Antarctica.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica is 14.5°C.
Ice melting in Antarctica has caused a small shift in gravity in the region.
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on earth
(email received on 2 March 2016).