FEEDBACK ON FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS COURSE AT AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK
Posted on the 13th May 2017
On Thursday and Friday we presented the Flight for Birders course at the Bosheuwel environmental education facility in the beautiful and highly underrated Agulhas National Park. We decided to sponsor 15 staff members of the park to participate, as we believe that the birding potential of the park should be realised through such training. It was really encouraging to see the enthusiasm of most of these participants and the hope is expressed that their participation will stand them in good stead for their career development.
Next week we will do our 100th presentation of the Flight for Birders course at Hartenbos and it was decided to celebrate this by adding some special new sections. Some of these sections were used at Bosheuwel and included an overview of my favourite birding destinations and experiences. We are satisfied that this will improve the course contents considerably. As usual there were several very interesting discussions throughout the two days. Most participants believe that the bird-watching potential of the Cape Agulhas region needs to be developed more meaningfully and that particularly the De Hoop and De Mond Nature Reserves and the Agulhas National Park need more exposure to a growing international birding fraternity. A proposal for the development of birdfinder web pages for this region will be forwarded to some of the participants. The completion of such web pages will enable us to market the entire Overberg region holistically as a top birding destination.
Chalet at Renosterkop
The Springfield homestead
The weather conditions were unfortunately not favourable for great birding as howling winds dominated both days. We did manage to find both GREATER and LESSER FLAMINGOS, as well as GREAT WHITE PELICANS along the access road between Bredasdorp and Elim. The highlight however were large numbers of DENHAM'S BUSTARD along the road – easily twenty of these magnificent birds. Endemic species seen around the centre included the BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE BULBUL, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, CAPE LONGCLAW, PIED STARLING and CAPE WEAVER. The AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE, PIED KINGFISHER and AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER were located in the area around the river and other birds of prey seen included the JACKAL BUZZARD, ROCK KESTREL and BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE. The BLUE CRANE, COMMON OSTRICH and LARGE-BILLED and RED-CAPPED LARKS were very active throughout the two days. A drive to Brandfontein produced the CAPE GRASSBIRD, CAPE SUGARBIRD and SOUTHERN TCHAGRA, as well as an awesome juvenile BLACK HARRIER quartering over the Renosterveld. At night we heard the calls of CROWNED LAPWING, SPOTTED and WATER THICK-KNEES, SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL and BARN OWL. On our way back home we were delighted to find a SECRETARYBIRD and a magnificent adult MARTIAL EAGLE, the latter flying with a large prey item.
Once at home I received this wonderful feedback from Theanette Staal, the Manager and Veterinary Nurse at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary – APSS, a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust: “What a wonderful, informative and really user friendly Flight for Birders course by Anton Odendal at Bosheuwel in the Agulhas National Park. Thank you for sending me home not feeling overwhelmed, but enthusiastic instead. Can't wait to start getting to know all the amazing birds out there that I haven't met yet! And with the help of Anton's easy to use and practical website www.westerncapebirding.co.za there is no reason for any birding route to remain untravelled. It was also good to learn about conservation efforts and how birding tourism works.
Definitely to be recommended!
Thank you!” - Thank you Theanette, appreciated.