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TRIP REPORT: FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS COURSE AT MOSSEL BAY

Posted on the 9th August 2016

We presented the Flight for Birders course outside Mossel Bay last week and had some really great birding experiences in the area. There were unfortunately limited seating available at the venue and we had to close registration a few weeks in advance. For this reason it was decided to do another course along the Garden Route for those who could not attend, as well as others. This will be done at George on 8 and 9 September. Kindly let your friends and colleagues know about this. Details at this link:

http://www.westerncapebirding.co.za/events/580/flight_for_birders_course_at_george%2C_garden_route

Die Voorhuis
What a fireplace!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided not to stay in Mossel Bay as such and Elaine managed to organise accommodation in Boggomsbaai. The choice of “Die Voorhuis” was an excellent one as this self-catering gem was beautiful and very well equipped – we could even follow the election results on eNCA in the evenings. The cottage forms part of the “Sandpiper Cottages” that offer a range of similar accommodation options and we believe that this would be an ideal setting for a bird club getaway outing. Maybe Chris should investigate this possibility? It is in close proximity to top regional birding destinations such as Gourits Mond, Voëlvlei and Langvlei, with the Herbertsdale Road, the Hartenbos sewage works and Grootbrak all within 50km.

Seedeater
Familiar Chat (Image by Elmarie Brits)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The access road to Boggomsbaai was a delight as species such as the LUDWIG'S BUSTARD, BLUE CRANE, CAPE CLAPPER LARK, AGULHAS LONG-BILLED LARK and CAPPED WHEATEAR featuring prominently. Die Voorhuis's garden offers excellent birding as it features coastal brush mixed with some fynbos and many interesting plants, shrubs and trees that attract birds. We racked up more than 70 species in the garden over three days and had the BOKMAKIERIE, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, FAMILIAR CHAT and CAPE ROBIN-CHAT coming onto the patio. Wonderful entertainment!

Springbok & zebras (Image by Janine Carol Cruse)
Grassvled & skies (Image by Janine Carol Cruse)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The course was presented at the PetroSA Game Reserve and we were very surprised with this small reserve. The educational centre is well equipped and offers beautiful views over a large dam and a largish “grassveld area”. Springbok, zebra and other antelope keep the grass grazed fairly short and this represents regional LBJ heaven. Most of the JBJs to be expected in the area were present and the AGULHAS LONG-BILLED LARK, RED-CAPPED LARK and CAPPED WHEATEAR were actively doing their stunning courtship displays. It is that time of year already with the result that next Saturday's outing to the Swartrivier Road promises to be highly entertaining! The large dam in the reserve also hosts most of the waterbirds to be expected in the area and participants were able to enjoy species such as the AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE, GREATER FLAMINGO, LITTLE GREBE, THREE-BANDED PLOVER and many more. This small reserve is a revelation and has huge birding potential. One can apparently obtain a permit to visit the reserve by contacting Thandi at NOMTHANDAZO.Nameka@petrosa.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

 



The new format of the course works very well and we have decided to not change much of the content for the next year or so. This besides changing regional content for each individual course. The most encouraging part of this course was that we managed to get an equal age spread of participants ranging from the teens to early seventies. One scholar even had his parents keep him out of school for the two days! We find that increasing numbers of younger people are attending and hope that this tendency continues into the future. Also exciting was that some participants took many photographs of species and shared it on Facebook. One lady claiming to be a complete novice even posted many images of birds and speculated on their identification – check it out on my Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some interesting outcomes: Several people indicated that there is a strong need for the formation of a more formal bird club in the larger Mossel Bay region and we will now attempt to put together a small working group in this regard with the help of the Western Cape Birding Forum. The Mossel Bay municipal region has also been one of our main priorities for the development of a birdfinder web page and several participants have volunteered to assist us to look for sponsorship for such a project. The area between Gourits and Grootbrak, together with the passes towards the interior has vast birding potential and the hope is expressed that we can get it onto the “birding tourism map” more meaningfully. 

Greater Flamingos (Image by Janine Carol Cruse)
Waxbills, whydahs & others (Image by Elmarie Brits)

 

 

 

 

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