Fire loss

This is my favorite place in the Cederberg, in fact it’s one of my favorite places in the world. The cliffs are endless and overwhelming. From here you can see some of the highest peaks of the Cederberg and what I imagine to be some of the deepest valleys.
A photo from my first visit in 2011
For me it has always been a treat to come and see the Black Eagles which nest here. It’s the longest and steepest hike I regularly undertake to monitor any pair, but there is no doubt that it is worth it. Today was my first visit here this year, I managed the hike in a record time, pushed on by my excitement to see if the eagles are incubating. As I approached the clouds were pushing into the valley so I raced on to get there before the view of the nest was blocked… but something was wrong.. I couldn’t see the obvious white wash that normally points out this nest. I quickly assembled the telescope and trained it onto the nest… but there was nothing. Two fires had raged through this area since my last visit, one in December 2012 and another in February 2013, and both of the eagle nests had been burnt down.
The nests on the left, today on the right...
Soon after I arrived the clouds engulfed the valley and knowing that it would be impossible to see the eagles in these conditions I left again. Fire is of course a natural and necessary phenomenon in this fynbos environment, but nonetheless, I hiked back feeling quite deflated…
Clouds fill the valley


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