Happening from the 27th October 2017 to 28th October 2017

A bird identification and conservation course for novice and intermediate bird-watchers:
NG Church Hall, Montagu
27 & 28 October 2017
The “Flight for Birders” bird identification and conservation course by Dr Anton Odendal will be presented at the NG Church Hall, Montagu on 27 & 28 October 2017. We have been requested to develop regionally specific sections for this course and this has now been done. The feature on birding destinations will focus on bird-watching opportunities in the Tankwa Karoo National Park and the Plettenberg Bay region’s 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 Tankwa Karoo 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.

• One of the bird guide books (Newman's, SASOL or Robert's), preferably one that you are prepared to make notes in to illustrate key identification features of species
• Notebook and pen
• Binoculars
• Comfortable walking shoes (First day only)
• Hat and sunscreen (First day only)
• Lunch picnic basket

• Coffee and tea will be provided.

DAY 1: Friday 27 October
(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
11h15 to 12h30: A special section on some of the brood parasites of southern Africa and their host species: Cuckoos, whydahs, honeyguides and indigobirds.
12h30 to 13h00: Lunch
13h00 to 14h00: How to prepare when visiting a new birding area: Illustrating the Witzenberg region’s birdfinder web-page
14h00 to 14h30: A focus on birding tourism - the critical role that the Western Cape Province in general and the Cape Whale Coast region in particular could play in this regard
14h30 to 15h00: How to prepare before visiting a new area – a case-study on birding in the Tankwa Karoo
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
2. BLSA's ALBATROSS Task Force
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 28 October
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 raptors and birds of prey
11h00 to 11h45: The identification of raptors and 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 in the Western Cape.
14h00 to 15h00: An introduction the swallows, swifts & martins.
15h00 to 15h30: The 101 species in southern Africa that every avid birder needs to be able to identify – 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: 27 & 28 October 2017
VENUE: NG Church Hall, Montagu
COSTS: R 550-00 that include the course notes & certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa.
Contact Elaine at or 082 455 8402. All further queries could also be forwarded to Elaine.

Capped Wheatear
Zitting Cisticola









White-faced Ducks





Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk






Participants in previous course








Practical outing during previous course
Jackal Buzzard










(Images by Anton Odendal)


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