Greetings to all Friends of Die Oog

Hello Everyone,
Well here we are, almost 400 days since lock down began at the end of March last year. Die Oog unfortunately had to close during the strictest lockdown periods from end March to 23 July 2020, and during the peak of the pandemic within our summer festive season from 29 December 2020 to 3 February 2021. We understand that this caused frustration for some, but as Die Oog is a designated conservation area and falls within the Cape’s nature parks, we were not allowed to open the gate unless we could ensure that we had someone stand there to monitor access which we obviously could not do. We are very pleased to have our little sanctuary open again now though.

Looking back at the past year there were some highlights amidst all the chaos that came with the pandemic.  This past winter brought good rains and our little dam almost fully recovered from the drought of previous years. We paddled out to insert a measuring stick into the deepest part of Die Oog on 25th October and we’ve been observing the levels as they’ve dropped through the dryer summer season. It unfortunately seems that the natural spring has not yet recharged as water levels dropped by almost 1m through the summer months.

This is a significant drop as Die Oog is only around 1.5m in the deepest part of the dam when water levels are at their highest. But changes like this are typical for Die Oog and it may well take a couple of years of good rains to recharge the natural underground reservoir.

Our beautiful March Lilies were in full bloom at the end of March, signaling the end of summer, so we’re looking forward to some rainy days ahead.

While we had an excellent hatching of Western Leopard Toadlets the year before, we had hoped that this would happen again last year. And while we heard the calls as the adults were mating in October, we unfortunately did not see the toadlets migrating from Die Oog as we would have expected 10 -12 weeks later. They may have chosen other water bodies in the area or perhaps there were far fewer adult pairings than in 2019? We can only hope that this winter brings some more good rains and they choose to lay their eggs within Die Oog once again.
Image Credit: Jean Tresfon

Water Quality 

Water quality is monitored every month, and while temperature and pH are slightly elevated compared due to its shallow nature, overall water quality at Die Oog is in a better state than other water bodies in the southern suburbs when one considers pollutants and other factors that may be detrimental to aquatic life such as trophic state (sunlight penetration) and oxygen levels.

Charts below show some water quality indicator results from samples collected at Die Oog, as well as other water bodies within the southern suburbs, dated at first quarter 2017 and first quarter 2021 which are representative of the start and end of the severe drought between 2017-2019

Birdlife at die Oog

Interestingly, the yellow billed ducks have not yet returned to live at Die Oog, but our coots, Egyptian geese, and spotted thick-knees (dikkop) have been thriving. The coots and Egyptian geese who nest on/near to the water have chicks which are almost fully grown now, and the spotted thick-knees had a couple of chicks which hatched in December as they nested on the ground within the fynbos garden.

Support the Global City Nature Challenge

Something exciting this coming week is the Global City Nature Challenge and the City of Cape Town is participating. Die Oog, as one of the city’s biodiversity areas, has received a formal invite to participate and we’d like to extend this exciting initiative to our members, their families and friends. Over 250 cities worldwide will be capturing photographs of their wildlife and flora  from 30 April until 3 May 2021, and the city of Cape Town would like to showcase how diverse natural habitats are. During those days and nights use the iNaturalist app to record as many wild plants and animals that you can find in your nature reserves, suburb or even from your garden. There are no limits. You can submit as many observations as you wish. Just ensure that you have a smartphone with a camera and GPS turned on. You need not worry about identification. The team at iNaturalist will do that for you later.

Here are the links for more information. City Nature Challenge 2021: City of Cape Town · iNaturalist  / City of Cape Town Have fun, and please feel free to share your photographs on our Facebook page as well.

Renew Now
For those who have not yet renewed their membership, please will you do so as we rely heavily on your subs and donations.

From all of us on the committee of the Friends of Die Oog, may you and your loved ones have a blessed and healthy year ahead.

Warm regards
Keryn Simpson