Happening from the 19th May 2017 to 20th May 2017

A bird identification course for novice and intermediate bird-watchers:
Municipal Library, Hartenbos
19 & 20 May 2017
This will be the 100th Flight for Birders course and special additions will be added to this specific course to celebrate this milestone – refer to the course contents below.

We unfortunately had to postpone the course scheduled for Grootbrak during March. The “Flight for Birders” bird identification and conservation course by Dr Anton Odendal will now be presented at Municipal Library, Hartenbos on 19 & 20 May 2017. Three recent courses along the Garden Route were fully booked weeks in advance. With this demand it was therefore decided to present a further course along the Garden Route.

We have been requested to develop regionally specific sections for these courses and this has now been done. The feature on birding destinations will focus on bird-watching opportunities in one of the National Parks and the Plettenberg Bay birdfinder web page will be practically illustrated highlighting the difficult to identify birds of the region. The section on birding tourism will focus on the critical role that the Western Cape in general and the Garden Route region in particular could play in this regard.

The costs include the course notes and a certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa – roughly 1,600 slides and drawings will be used. In many cases images of similar and potentially confusing species have been combined on the same slide in order to illustrate differences. The development of an infrastructure for birding tourists in local areas will also be highlighted. In the vast majority of the slides English and Afrikaans names of species are printed onto the slide. The course focuses on basic steps in the identification of birds, places heavy emphasis on where to find the rare and often endemic birds in southern Africa and illustrates how ordinary bird-watchers could become involved in the conservation of birds and their habitats.


DAY 1: Friday 19 May
(Kindly note that short breaks will be taken on the hour).
08h30 to 09h00: Registration
09h00 to 10h00: The basic approach to Flight for Birders and what to look for when trying to identify a bird
10h00 to 10h15: Tea
10h15 to 11h15: The identification of garden birds – the special garden birds of the Garden Route added for this specific course
11h15 to 12h30: A special section on some of the brood parasites of southern Africa and their host species: Cuckoos, whydahs and honeyguides – updated for this specific course
12h30 to 13h00: Lunch
13h00 to 13h30: How to prepare when visiting a new birding area: Illustrating the Plettenberg Bay Birdfinder web-page
13h30 to 14h00: A focus on birding tourism - the critical role that the Western Cape Province in general and the Garden Route region in particular could play in this regard
14h00 to 15h00: How to prepare before visiting a new area – A new talk on Anton's favourite birding experiences in several of South Africa's top birding destinations, such as Wakkerstroom, Mtunzini, Punda Maria, Nature's Valley and so on
15h00 to 16h00: An overview of some threatened birds in Southern Africa: what are conservation agencies trying to do about the problem through conservation programs and how can ordinary birders help?
1.The Dyer Island Conservation Trust: Working towards saving AFRICAN PENGUINS
3.There is hope for AMUR FALCONS migrating through India
16h00+: Practical outing in small groups applying the principles taught – weather permitting.

DAY 2: Saturday 20 May
08h45 to 09h00: Coffee and tea
09h00 to 10h15: Those difficult to identify species – the “Little Brown Jobs” of the Western Cape
10h15 to 10h30: Tea
10h30 to 11h00: The identification of birds of prey, including vagrant sightings along the Garden Route
11h00 to 11h45: The identification of birds of prey (Continued)
11h45 to 12h30: A special focus on the Owls of southern Africa
12h30 to 13h00: Lunch
13h00 to 14h00: The identification of the fairly common waterbirds, including vagrant sightings along the Garden Route region.
14h00 to 15h00: An introduction to the swallows, swifts and martins of the Western Cape
15h00 to 15h30: The 101 species in southern Africa that every avid birder needs to be able to identify with load of new images – how to distinguish between the various families of birds. (An open-ended participatory discussion on photographs of the most common birds representing different families of birds).
15h30+: Closure.

DATES: 19 & 20 May 2017
VENUE: Municipal Library, Hartenbos
COSTS: R 500-00 that includes the course notes & certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa.

The course is also being presented at Bosheuwel Environmental Educational Centre in the Agulhas National Park on 11 and 12 May and Intaka Island, Century City, Cape Town on 24 & 25 June. Kindly note that gift vouchers for attendance of the course are now also available – an ideal gift for friends and family members interested in nature in general and birds in particular.

Contact Elaine at or 082 455 8402. All further queries could also be forwarded to Elaine.

Participants on practical outing
African Penguins












Amur Falcon female
White-backed Ducks









Spike-heeled Lark
Common Waxbill









(Images by Anton Odendal)


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