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Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:53 am
by Justin
Posted on behalf of Brent Jennings:

Hi all

Tristan has kindly informed me that the Rock Kestrels that usually use Silvermine Main Crag as a nest site appear to be back. This is very cool for them, but does mean that if we want to continue climbing there we need to be aware of them and give them space. And yes, climbers in the vicinity of the nest DO in fact stress them.

Last year they nested in the vertical crack to the right of 'Josie Get Your Gun', and I suspect they may be in the same spot. TMNPark knows about this and Raptor experts will be going to inspect the site. I've asked that the whole crag not be shut down, just the relevant routes.

This has worked well in the past, with good co-operation from climbers.
In fact, this nest is usually very successful, with the chicks almost always fledging.

It is encouraging that climbers respect nest sites in this way, and sends a good signal to TMNPark that we can manage our crags appropriately. Please let's continue to do so.

Brent
MCSA Rock Climbing Group

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:32 am
by zoed
Kestrels aside - red wing starlings are also nesting at Silvermine at the moment.
We were at Blaze of Glory last weekend and got viciously attacked by a flock of starlings. They dive-bombed us, pecking our hands, necks and heads as they flew by - even drawing blood! We had a to abandon about 3 routes, and our whole afternoon was dedicated to retrieving gear without losing our eyeballs in the process.
With all due respect to nature, we had a superbly unpleasant afternoon thanks to the starlings.
I guess the only solution is to avoid certain routes while they're nesting - or climb with a pocketful of rocks and full body armour...

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:57 am
by gripit
I think climbing with Chain-mail would be good strength training :lol:

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:59 am
by Brent
Hey Zoe
Heh, yes, they're ferocious little buggers, those red-wings :-). I've had my own run-in's with them and they nest at Blaze every year. They're not endangered, it's actually the climbers who have to be worried about *them*.

The kestrels will seldom defend a nest as vigorously, unfortunately, and the proximity of people to their nest usually just results in them abandoning it.

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:07 am
by Greebo
Ok looks like nesting is compleat, there is a sign to that effect at the bottom but some of the nesting signs at the actual climbs are still up. Me thinks their just to lazy to take them down. I was there last week and the rock kestrels are fledged and out of the nest although I did see one sitting in the ledge where they were nesting, and there is at least one starling nest at main.

Image

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:53 am
by Brent
Thanks Chris.
Hope you're right and the kestrel has successfully fledged. Good to see Parks putting up the 'complete' sign. I'd suggest just using common sense when in the area, and if the birds are hanging around the nest site just give it a wide berth.
cheers
Brent

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:26 pm
by proze
We saw the nesting complete sign posted above as well as numerous "No climbing to the left/right" signs, so not sure what's going on. It would be very cool if this info could be clarified and made available at the gate so you don't pay entrance only to find out that you're not allowed to climb at the crag at which you intended.

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:23 pm
by mullet
I was up at Silvermine today and got an update on the kestrel nesting situation.

Main Crag is still closed for climbing.

While at the top parking lot preparing to go up to Blaze, we were approached by a ranger who told us that the crag was closed and we had to go to Lower Silvermine. When I queried him further, he informed us that the birds are NOT finished nesting and that Silvermine Main crag will be closed for approximately two more months. We were told that Lower Silvermine is still open and when I asked, was informed that it was still ok to climb at Blaze of Glory. When we got to the path down to Main crag and Blaze the path was cordoned off with some red and white caution tape and there was a sign up indicating that bird nesting was taking place in the area.
Also, the "Bird nesting complete" sign in the photo above, has been removed by Park officials.

It would probably be best to climb at some of the other crags in the area for the next few months (or until someone gets exact details on the extent of the closure) so as not to jeopardise future access to the crags. The ranger we spoke to was quite accommodating but he did speak with a bit of distaste about "some idiots" who had removed some of the signs put up by park officials and even thrown one down the cliff. Hopefully it wasn't one of the climbing community.

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:54 am
by proze
Thanks for the update!

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:53 am
by Brent
I am working on getting some authoritative clarity on this. The section ranger is currently out of office, but I will try and contact her later and post the results here.

It's unlikely that raptors are nesting at Blaze (but not impossible). Most likely Main Crag only is closed, or parts thereof. If the kestrels are nesting at Main Crag then I will not support a ban on climbing at Blaze, as it's sufficiently removed from the nest site and will happily argue that fact with Parks.

SANParks have been very accommodating of climbers in recent years, as they know that the vast majority of us appreciate the importance of raptor nest sites.

Defacing, removing or otherwise messing with official signage is an offense punishable by law. No right-minded climbers should be associated with such stupidity. If you know of anyone who is doing this, feel free to pm me off-forum.

Brent

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:40 pm
by Brent
Ok, here's the word from the section ranger.

Rock kestrels are nesting at Main crag, in the usual spot. We've been asked to please avoid climbing at the whole of Main crag until the chicks fledge. This should be about 6-8 weeks. This nest site is usually successful if human activity in the area is kept at bay.

Blaze of Glory is open for climbing, never mind the signs or haz tape that may say otherwise.

There are also Peregrines (I think) nesting at Muizenberg crag in the spot they always use. There are markers up so please look out for them and don't climb between the markers.

Please respect the closures. I know it's a bit of a pain but just see it as a valuable environmental contribution.

cheers
Brent

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:20 pm
by Justin
Anyone got an update on the Silvermine Crag bird closures?
Tx

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:51 pm
by Brent
Just got off the phone with Parks, and I can confirm that the crag is now open. The good news is that the Rock Kestrel chick fledged as well, so you should see a juvenile flying around there.

Parks conveyed their thanks to all those who respected the temporary closure.

The Peregrine falcons nesting at Muizenberg crag have also successfully fledged their chick, so thanks to those who respected the closure of that part of the crag.

Thanks from me as well.
shot
Brent

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:08 pm
by Justin
Tx for the update :)

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:35 pm
by Dragon
walked past the top of silvermine main crag yesterday 8/8/11 to see some rather confusing "don't climb to the left of this sign" signs. Not sure where they are in relation to the crag itself? also didn't hear anything about the main crag being closed? a ranger said there were closures due to black eagles nesting but said main and blaze crags open. anyone know anything more?

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:45 pm
by henkg
Agreed, those signs are rather confusing.

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:25 pm
by Bickell
Wow, I just read through most of this thread thinking that Main crag was closed again, before I realised that it was from October 2010!

Maybe if we bump a thread like this that involves temporarily useful information then we should rather start a new thread...? Just an idea :thumright

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:53 pm
by Brent
I'll try find out if there are any updates regarding bird nesting, and if so will post them in a new thread to avoid confusion here.
Brent

Re: Birds nesting at Silvermine Main Crag

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:30 pm
by Dragon
Thanks Brent, if I decipher the signs correctly the main wall is currently closed ( possibly the BOG wall too). Spoke to another ranger who said "the closure was for Black Eagles nesting but only the ?lower? ?cracks? were out of bounds?? " - I am not sure they know what's going on either.