We were quite keen to erect the bird hide so two days after doing the base we were on our way again with a new load of bits and pieces. On arrival at the Reserve we found a few groups of visitors looking lost so first gave them the usual story about the Reserve and where they should go. They were most appreciative and it shows the serious lack of PR for visitors.
Though the sections were smaller than the previous trip there were more of them plus the roofing sheets so we walked up and down quite a few times before we could start the job proper.
Here are the pieces of the jigsaw all nicely laid out in no particular order:
The first sections went quite quickly as amazingly the holes lined up and we didn’t tighten anything yet.
Due to the damage done by the fire we had to make the sides smaller so the new hide now has a curve to it, cute isn’t it?
We worked our way around, fitting piece by piece
The roof was a bit of a struggle but we got it on eventually and it was time for a break.
A peek inside
And there it is, still a back door and some seating and then, hopefully, the birds we chased away during construction will show themselves again.
On Wednesday the weather was quite miserable which was fortunate as it gave us an extra day to prepare for the transport of the first sections of the hide. Most sections fitted inside the trailer but the floor and two sides needed to go on top.
We needed to walk up and down quite a few times to get all the pieces to the site and then we could carry on with the digging of the holes. This turned out to be extremely difficult but the solution was easy, instead of digging deeper we cheated and cut the poles shorter!
I had high hopes of being able to drill the holes to attach the frame by portable drill but after one hole the battery was empty so the other 7 holes were done the old-fashioned way with bit and brace. We actually recycled the bolts from the burnt out rondavel in the arboretum to bolt the frame to the poles.
Once the frame was in place we could fill the holes and put the floor on top. It was a great feeling to find that the whole contraption was very sturdy. We packed the rest of the pieces we had brought on top of the floor and covered it all till the next trip.
The bird hide is nearing completion so it was time to prepare the site further. The brush cutter came in very handy to cut the grass and we also got rid of some encroaching Chrysanthemoides. Our biggest fear is now of course fire so want to keep it reasonably clear around the hide.
We pegged out the foundation and dug the four holes for the supporting poles, quite difficult in the dense clay of the dam wall.
At home it is final fitting and painting time. Fortunately my painter also know how to make good coffee.
It is not a mess in my workshop, just a lot of potential projects.
Most of the modules are now ready for transport.
Our monthly meeting was a walk to what we call Platberg but most likely that is not the correct name. We got a permit the previous Wednesday from the Longmore Forest station and this allowed us to take the vehicles through the gate behind Ladyslipper and park near the first watchtower. From there we followed the track to the top through some lovely fynbos and enjoyed some great views over the surrounding mountains and the coastline beyond.
On the way we found a beautiful stand of Leucodendron orientale.
From the top we could look onto the Reserve, Crossways and the coastline from Maitlands to Jeffreys Bay
The vegetation is getting quite mature and fire breaks are maintained to do a preventative burn in the near future.
Back at the Reserve it was time for a very late coffee and to celebrate our birthday boys.