REPORT ON THE FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS COURSE AT HERMANUS
Posted on the 24th February 2014
We have presented at least one Flight for Birders identification and conservation course per year in the Overstrand region over the last decade. This time we were at the Community Hall at Mollergren Park in Hermanus on 21 and 22 February. Registrations for the course had to be close very early as we reached our capacity for seating at 54 participants.
View of Hermanus CBD from Mollergren Park
It seems as if they are paying attention
The group was very diverse as participants ranged from young students through to elderdy people in search of a hobby. SANBI sent 21 students and employees from the Kirstenbosch, Harold Porter and the Karoo Botanical Gardens at Worcester. These young people were well motivated and participated meaningfully throughout the course. We often find that younger people who are sponsored to attend are lethargic, bored and often drift away to sleep. In most cases the SANBI group's knowledge of birds appeared impressive.
Another encouraging point was that, besides the SANBI group, there were fair representation of people in their 20's, 30's and 40's. We offered a year's free membership of BirdLife Overberg as part of the course fees and the hope is expressed that several of the people who took up such membership will become active in club activities, join again in a year's time and even join BirdLife South Africa. The diversity of the group did make it fairly difficult to cope with the various demands and wide ranging questions. I did feel afterwards as if a train had hit me.
Another half of the group
We have changed the course significantly towards the end of last year in view of placing far more emphasis on the local and regional distribution of species and conservation issues. This implies that the courses to be presented in different provinces will be very different as far as content and illustrations are concerned. We are satisfied that this approach works well and will continue focussing on local and regional content.
We went for a walk along a section of the Hermanus cliff-path trail for the practical outing on Saturday morning. Unfortunately the tide was high at this stage and we missed out on the tern day roost that normally causes such great excitement with birders. We managed to get some of the fynbos specials along the trail and found those four little bush birds in the coastal thickets and milkwood trees: Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Batis, Karoo Prinia and Cape White-eye. Anita was also able to show some of the group nesting Spotted Thickknees and a fairly good spread of garden birds within the premises. It was great being out on a crisp windless morning, even though the birding was somewhat disappointing.
on the cliff-path
All four courses that had been presented so far this year had been oversubscribed with the result that waiting lists have started developing. For this reason we will be doing a course at Somerset West on 21 and 22 March and Stanford on 27 and 28 March. We are also negotiating about a further course along the Garden Route, probably at Sedgefield. Details are available in the events section of westerncapebirding.co.za and inquiries may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to thank Elaine and Anita for all the back-up and support.