Posted on the 15th July 2012

(This article first appeared in the July 2012 edition the newsletter of BirdLife Plett and is loaded with the permission of the Editor. - Ed).

Nature's Valley Trust and birds - Geoff McIlleron:

The Nature's Valley Trust has launched a new initiative. In addition to its very successful environmental education programme which has been ongoing over many years, the Trust is implementing a second focus area - research.

Dr. Mark Brown has been appointed to head the Nature's Valley Trust operations which will include setting up and spearheading the new research focus for the Trust. Mark will be remembered by many of 2 us for the fascinating talk he gave our club in June 2010 on 'Birds in Pollination', informing us, inter alia, of research findings on nectar feeding birds highlighting how sunbird's preferences for sugars (type of sugar as well as concentration) differs markedly from that of other nectar feeding birds.

Mark takes up his appointment with the Nature's Valley Trust from November this year. He has published a large number of scientific papers on birds and is a Director of BirdLife South Africa (KZN area). It is already clear that he has been thinking about potential bird research projects relevant to this part of the country and will bring his considerable depth of knowledge and skills to our area. As such he will be an enormous asset to us in the birding fraternity and we look forward to having him with us.

More on bird research

On another tack, Daniel Cloete, who many of us know from his excellent work as Director of the Nature's Valley Trust, left the Trust in January this year to take up a study bursary under the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology. At present he is considering possible bird related research projects as part of his study course. The research topic has not yet been finalised and needs to be agreed and accepted by the 'Fitz' and it may not be in the Southern Cape. For the future he has expressed an interest in working with Mark Brown. We wish Daniel every success and look forward to having him back in his Plett home and bringing more bird expertise to our area.

Geoff McIlleron



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