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Ken Borland



Kosi Bay 0

Posted on April 17, 2017 by Ken

 

The view over Kosi Bay estuary with the traditional fish traps

The view over Kosi Bay estuary with the traditional fish traps

 

The KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife camping site at Kosi Bay is situated in thick coastal forest close to the edge of the kuNhlange lake, the biggest of the four that make up the estuarine wonder at the remote north-eastern border of Natal.

Each camp site is secluded away amongst the mangroves, thereby providing ideal habitat – one of their favourite trees and close to water – for the special gem that is Blackthroated Wattle-Eye.

These busy little birds, that are somewhere between a flycatcher and a batis, are uncommon and easily overlooked, but they’re easier to spot when they pass through the trees in your campsite, as they did at Kosi Bay!

Other birds seen without having to venture far from the comfort of my camping chair were Pygmy Kingfisher (a pair had taken up residence on the road to the ablutions and were seen every day), Natal Robin, which was resident at my site and put on a superb performance of all its many calls, imitating tchagras, cuckoos, nightjars and even African Fish Eagle; Olive Sunbird, Squaretailed Drongo, Terrestrial Bulbul, whose presence I was alerted to by a loud tapping noise as it thumped a caterpillar on a branch; Goldentailed Woodpecker and Blackbellied Starling. I was also surprised to see African Hoopoe in such thick forest.

Kosi Bay is also home to an isolated population of the Red Bush Squirrel and there was an endearing family at my campsite, full of cuteness and a penchant for nibbling at my soap! Samango Monkeys kept to the treetops and were far more pleasant to live next to than their Vervet cousins.

Red Bush Squirrel

Red Bush Squirrel

One of the main attractions at Kosi Bay is the marvellous snorkelling that can be done at the Sanctuary Reef inside the mouth of the estuary. Unfortunately the tide was going out when I dived, meaning there was a strong current and with snorkellers encouraged not to put their feet down on the bottom due to the presence of Stonefish, it was hard work and not able to be maintained for very long.

Kosi Bay estuary - the mouth

Kosi Bay estuary – the mouth

Fortunately there is always birding to be done and there were several Common Tern on the bank of the estuary and the impressive Whimbrel was spotted coming over the sand dune as one approaches Sanctuary Reef. Even a Caspian Tern came flying over the aquarium-like waters.

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove were seen on the way down to the parking area.

Back at camp, a gentle stroll along the Samango Trail produced a pair of elegant Tambourine Dove and a pair of Brown Robin were also seen on a particularly thick, jungle-like portion of the trail, on the actual path. They are obviously not welcome in camp, presumably out-competed by the Natal Robin. Just to ram home the point, a Natal Robin pooed on the picture of a Brown Robin in the bird book I had left open in camp!

The trail also provides lovely elevated viewsites above the lake, with Purplecrested Lourie flying amongst the tall trees and Whitebreasted Cormorant flying, landing, diving and catching fish.

KuNhlange Lake itself boasted plenty of Pied Kingfisher, their lives made easier by the crystal-clear water, Yellow Weavers and African Pied Wagtail. A pair of Trumpeter Hornbill were seen in the morning flying over the 24.6km long lake and then again back across the water in the late afternoon, leading me to wonder if they were the same pair returning to the same perch?

The attractions at Kosi Bay are spread out over a large area, linked by confusing sandy tracks, and 4×4 and a local guide are essential.

The drive out to Black Rock, a promontory jutting out to sea, provided a pair of Whitefronted Plover on the landmark itself, while Gymnogene and Rufousnaped Lark were seen on the way there, along with Fantailed Widowbirds fluttering slowly about, in the grasslands that are around the Kosi Bay area.

Whitefronted Plover on Black Rock

Whitefronted Plover on Black Rock

Sightings List

Pygmy Kingfisher

Natal Robin

Olive Sunbird

Red Bush Squirrel

Blackthroated Wattle-Eye

African Hoopoe

Pied Kingfisher

Trumpeter Hornbill

Yellow Weaver

Squaretailed Drongo

Tambourine Dove

Purplecrested Lourie

Whitebreasted Cormorant

Terrestrial Bulbul

Southern Boubou

Goldentailed Woodpecker

Little Bee-Eater

Blackeyed Bulbul

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove

Common Tern

Fiscal Shrike

House Sparrow

Spectacled Weaver

Pied Crow

African Pied Wagtail

Blackbellied Starling

Samango Monkey

Familiar Chat

Lesser Striped Swallow

Common Myna

Blackheaded Heron

Gymnogene

Hadeda Ibis

Rufousnaped Lark

Whitefronted Plover

Vervet Monkey

European Swallow

Redeyed Dove

Eastern Coastal Skink

Brown Robin

Whimbrel

Caspian Tern

Yellowbilled Kite

Fantailed Widowbird

 

Chiefs favourites but a sad day awaits for SA rugby 0

Posted on August 05, 2016 by Ken

 

About 80% of respondents on the country’s biggest sports website believe the Chiefs will beat the Brumbies to win back-to-back Vodacom SuperRugby titles on Saturday, and one imagines a similar proportion of fans would declare it a sad day for South African rugby when the Southern Kings or Lions are banished into the wilderness later in the day after the second leg of their promotion/relegation series.

The future of both the Lions and the Kings as professional, commercially viable franchises rests on Saturday afternoon’s match at Ellis Park. The Eastern Cape side have a deficit of seven points to make up, never mind the fact that they have to win and prevent the hosts from getting a bonus point.

It is obviously a no-win situation for South African rugby: either the tremendous growth of the game in the Eastern Cape, the Kings having performed much better than expected, or one of the traditional powerhouses will be sacrificed.

The lack of SuperRugby action in 2013 has left the Lions with their heads barely above water and the coffers of the proud union, already struggling before their relegation from the competition, could well run dry if they do not have top rugby to host next year.

The incompetence of the officials the South African Rugby Union (Saru) sent to negotiate the expanded SuperRugby format means the sport in this country will lose a leg this weekend … it’s a bit like asking someone whether they’d like to have their left leg or their right leg chopped off.

It also makes it absolutely imperative that Saru are already planning for 2016 when the next Sanzar expansion is scheduled to occur and that they have contingency plans in place to keep either the Kings or the Lions afloat until then.

The Lions edged out the Kings in Port Elizabeth last weekend because they kept their composure better under pressure. The ill-discipline of the Kings allowed Elton Jantjies to keep chipping away at the scoreboard. Now that the chips are down and the Kings have to beat the Lions at a sold-out Ellis Park, how will they respond?

There seems little doubt that the Kings will need to add something extra to their ultra-conservative game plan in order to beat the Lions, but is there the attacking skill to do that within their side?

Director of rugby Alan Solomons, who is leaving the Kings to coach Edinburgh whatever the outcome of Saturday’s match is, is backing a new centre pairing of the experienced duo of Waylon Murray and Ronnie Cooke.

Star flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis is out with a hand injury, with George Whitehead taking the number 10 jersey, while debutant Scott van Breda, who is normally a centre, is on the left wing and is going to handle the goal kicking for the Kings.

The Kings, as the rank underdogs in SuperRugby, have honed their defensive skills to such an extent that they made the most tackles and had the best completion-rate in the competition; but Saturday’s game is calling for them to showcase attacking capabilities that have been lying dormant.

The Lions, on the other hand, have been racking up the tries in non-competitive matches and the backline is used to crossing the whitewash this year; Jantjies is a skilful distributor, they have a quality centre pairing in Stokkies Hanekom and Dylan des Fountain and dangerous finishers in the back three in Antony Volmink and Ruan Combrinck.

Up front, hard, experienced men such as Franco van der Merwe, captain JC Janse van Rensburg and flank Derick Minnie ensure that the Lions aren’t lambs to the slaughter when it comes to matching the intensity and physicality of a SuperRugby side.

But whatever the outcome, one hopes that Saru will take steps to ensure that, when we look back through the mists of time, we don’t remember the Kings, representing such a strategically important chunk of the country as the Eastern Cape, as having one season of SuperRugby as some sort of quirky experiment; or the Lions as being a once-great union, the first winners of the Super 10 competition that preceded the Sanzar tournament, that has faded into obscurity.

The Brumbies are a side that is returning from relative obscurity in SuperRugby as they contest the final for the first time since their 2004 triumph. They will be travelling to Hamilton and will need to overcome a Chiefs side that has the confidence of winning the title last year, scoring the most points and tries this season, and the prestige of beating the heavily-favoured Crusaders last weekend.

Jake White’s men will also have to overcome travelling from Pretoria to New Zealand and the distracting effects of thousands of cow bells as a 25 000 capacity crowd roars on the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The Brumbies have certainly bought into the former World Cup winning coach’s philosophy and they showed at Loftus Versfeld last weekend that they are willing to risk their limbs in defence and have a steely focus on sticking to the game plan.

And the Brumbies have the kicking game and a powerful lineout that could trouble a Chiefs side that, amazingly, had the ball for the least time out of all sides in SuperRugby.

But the fact the Chiefs scored the most points and tries in regular season play shows their greatest strengths – their ability to make metres when carrying the ball and the skills of their players in beating defenders.

Locks Brodie Retallick and Craig Clarke and loose forwards Liam Messam and Tanerau Latimer bring a hard edge to the pack, while Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Aaron Cruden have the tactical vision and skills that have been central to the Chiefs’ success.

Those website pollsters clearly believe the Brumbies will need a miracle to beat the Chiefs at their home ground in Hamilton. But miracles do happen in rugby, as the spirited, well-coached Brumbies discovered last weekend in Pretoria.

Teams

Lions: 15-Ruan Combrink, 14-Deon Helberg, 13-Stokkies Hanekom, 12-Dylan des Fountain, 11-Antony Volmink, 10-Elton Jantjies, 9-Ross Cronjé, 8-Warren Whiteley, 7-Derick Minnie, 6-Jaco Kriel, 5-Franco van der Merwe, 4-Hendrik Roodt, 3-Julian Redelinghuys, 2-Martin Bezuidenhout, 1-JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements – 16-Robbie Coetzee, 17-Martin Dreyer, 18-Willie Britz, 19-Warwick Tecklenburg, 20-Guy Cronjé, 21-Marnitz Boshoff, 22-Chrysander Botha.

Southern Kings: 15-SP Marais, 14-Hadleigh Parkes, 13-Ronnie Cooke, 12-Waylon Murray, 11-Scott van Breda, 10-George Whitehead, 9-Shaun Venter, 8-Jacques Engelbrecht, 7-Wimpie van der Walt, 6-Cornell du Preez, 5-Darron Nell, 4-David Bulbring, 3-Kevin Buys, 2-Bandise Maku, 1-Schalk Ferreira. Replacements – 16-Charl du Plessis, 17-Hannes Franklin, 18-Steven Sykes, 19-Devin Oosthuizen, 20-Nicolas Vergallo, 21-Wesley Dunlop, 22-Shane Gates.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-08-02-superrugby-relegation-or-promotion-speaks-volumes-of-saru/#.V6R-8Pl97IU

Biggest 40 from Sharks keeps them ahead of Bulls 0

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Ken

 

The Cell C Sharks produced the biggest 40 minutes of their season in the second half to beat the Toyota Cheetahs 26-10 at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday and stay ahead of the Bulls in the race for the Vodacom SuperRugby playoffs.

With the Bulls having secured a bonus-point win over the Sunwolves in the previous game, the Sharks were in desperate need of a victory to stay ahead in the race for the third South African qualification place.

The scrum was the biggest talking point of the game, with the Sharks taking an absolute hiding in that department in the first half.

The frustrations boiled over in the 16th minute as the Sharks lost their captain, Tendai Mtawarira, for 10 minutes, as he was yellow-carded for slapping a Cheetahs player.

The Cheetahs then destroyed the Sharks in a series of scrums, Coenie Oosthuizen being the chief culprit at tighthead for the Sharks, and the visitors were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty try.

But the Cheetahs did, however, manage to get the opening try a few minutes later as wing Raymond Rhule, with space on the outside, stood up fullback Rhyno Smith and dotted down.

With flyhalf Fred Zeilinga’s conversion, the Cheetahs led 7-0, but Sharks flyhalf Garth April cut the deficit to 3-7 with a penalty for a high tackle just two minutes later.

With the Cheetahs scrum being so dominant, they would have expected more reward from that set-piece, but Sharks scrumhalf Michael Claassens is a canny campaigner and he delayed the put-ins as long as he could. He fooled referee Stuart Berry in the 35th minute, with the Sharks being awarded a free kick for an early engage by the Cheetahs, and it was a pivotal moment as the home side turned a first-half onslaught that saw them barely hanging on into a halftime lead.

Eighthman Philip van der Walt took a quick tap and a long pass out wide from the ruck found JP Pietersen, who cut inside for a top-class power-finish, April’s conversion giving the Sharks a scarcely deserved 10-7 halftime lead.

The Sharks did not make a good start to the second half though as Van der Walt took the kickoff but then dropped the ball, starting a chain reaction that ended with hooker Franco Marais being caught on the wrong side of the ruck and Zeilinga kicking a penalty to level the scores.

But Lourens Adriaanse proved once again that he is like a potent chemical when it comes to scrum time, always causing a reaction, and his introduction as a replacement for Oosthuizen then totally turned around that set-piece.

His first two scrums led to a turnover in the feed and then a penalty, which April kicked. The young flyhalf is known for his dazzling attacking skills, but he was called on to make some vital kicks on Saturday and he was outstanding off the tee, succeeding with all five of his kicks at goal, including two penalties from scrums which put the Sharks 16-10 up.

The Cheetahs must have been surprised to be down at that stage, and they were even more bemused when referee Berry called advantage over on a penalty when, to be fair, the Cheetahs had taken the ball through numerous phases but had not made much ground, and Stefan Ungerer, brought on at scrumhalf just minutes earlier, pounced on an intercept try and couldn’t believe his luck when he went over for the try.

April succeeded with yet another kick to convert (23-10), and a multitude of handling errors by the Cheetahs then allowed the Sharks to seize control.

The Sharks, who have really turned their defence around since the arrival of specialist coach Omar Mouneimne, continued to harangue the Cheetahs and, after centre Andre Esterhuizen had put in a big tackle and stripped the ball off Rhule, followed by Pietersen kicking ahead, flank Keegan Daniel just had to gather the ball and dive over the line, but he knocked on.

But the Sharks regained possession at the lineout, rumbled the driving maul forward and earned another penalty by April to complete the scoring.

And so the final round of fixtures next weekend, with the Sharks hosting the Sunwolves and the Bulls travelling to the Cheetahs, will decide who the third South African franchise in the playoffs will be.

Scorers

Cell C SharksTries: JP Pietersen, Stefan Ungerer. Conversions: Garth April (2). Penalties: April (4).

Toyota CheetahsTry: Raymond Rhule. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalty: Zeilinga.

http://citizen.co.za/1197651/sharks-make-it-count-against-cheetahs/

‘Staid attack was Proteas’ biggest problem’ – Donald 0

Posted on April 11, 2016 by Ken

 

South African fast bowling great Allan Donald believes a staid attack was the Proteas’ biggest problem in their failed ICC World T20 campaign in India.

“The batting was mostly wonderful, but where we lacked was in our bowling – there was no serious x-factor in the attack, that was missing and you could see it a mile away. There was a lack of imagination with the ball.

“That’s a serious team that went over there but one thing it lacked, if we analyse it honestly, was x-factor. When it came to crunch time with the ball, we couldn’t come up with something while other teams always found a way and there was some amazing death bowling in the tournament.

“We just couldn’t seem to find that way to step up during the big moments, which was particularly heartbreaking against England. We needed someone able to change the course of the game, that’s what we were missing,” Donald told The Citizen.

South Africa’s former bowling coach wondered whether Dale Steyn, the one fast bowler with the skill and prior experience of turning games around, should rather have just stayed at home given that he only bowled six overs in the tournament.

“Why does Dale play so little if you take him to the world cup, I didn’t quite get that. You choose a guy after one club game but then you hardly use him, as a champion fast bowler should you not back him?

“Kagiso Rabada is still a puppy, Chris Morris is making his way, he’s learning but is an exciting prospect. But that x-factor ability to change games comes with experience, you have to have the nous, the ability to suss the game out, see what’s going to happen four or five overs ahead of time, like a Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath for example,” Donald said.

As a recent member of the Proteas management, Donald said he did not want to carp about the performance of coach Russell Domingo.

“The coach has to make some tough selection decisions and Russell is quite smart in what he wants, he’s quite astute and has a good understanding of the game. I’m not going to give him heaps when it’s the team that hasn’t produced the goods. It’s very tough for a coach in those circumstances, it’s the toughest job in the world when things go wrong. Russell has enough on his plate dealing with all those pressures,” Donald said.

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    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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