We recently presented the Flight for Birders identification and conservation course at Mossel Bay. The venue was not large enough to accommodate all the people who wanted to participate with the result that we followed it up with our fifth course at George on Thursday and Friday. The group was very diverse as participants ranged from young students through to elderly people in search of a hobby. Guides from Gondwana Game Reserve and students from Saasveld attended. Visiting birders came from as far Somerset West, Riversdale and the Sedgefield/Knysna area.
Some of the participants
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. We were however encouraged by the enthusiasm of the group. I invited Brian Taggart of the Lakes Bird Club to do a presentation on their activities and I and convinced that several participants will join the club.
We have changed the course significantly recently in view of placing far more emphasis on the local and regional distribution of species and conservation issues. This implies that each course is now adapted to address local and regional species and in a practical sense this approach works extremely well.
The Jouberts with Brian Taggart & Justin Wylie
Our next course will be at Intaka Island, Century City on 29 and 30 October and details are available at this link:
Other confirmed courses are at Sedgefield on 26 and 27 January and in the Addo area on 4 and 5 February 2017. Details will be made available in the events section of westerncapebirding.co.za and inquiries may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
We did not have much time to bird during the course, but we did see a LONG-CRESTED EAGLE while driving to the venue on Friday morning. Unfortunately we did not have time to stop for photographs. In the afternoon we found a very “blond” pair of FOREST BUZZARDS at Witfontein outside George.
Long-crested Eagle - Image by Louis Alberts
The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly our stay at the BLUE WHALE RESORT, where Charel and Marlien Bruwer joined us on Thursday and Friday evenings. The view over the coastline is simply awesome and we were entertained by a whale cow with her "huppelkind", Jumpin Jack Flash, hyperactive very young calf in the bay. We could not believe that this youngster could carry on like this for more than an hour – probably its first realisation that it can breach.
The birding is outstanding: Pristine coastal fynbos, a valley covered in indigenous forest, together with pastures beyond the valley from where FIERY-NECKED NIGHTJARS called at night host a brilliant diversity of species. The “garden birds” around the chalet included CAPE BATIS, BOKMAKIERIE, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, CAPE GRASSBIRD, SWEE WAXBILL and KNYSNA WOODPECKER and the fynbos areas presented BRIMSTONE CANARY, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD and ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD. The forested area produced calls an/or sightings of rippers such as OLIVE BUSH-SHRIKE, GREEN-BACKED CAMEROPTERA, LEMON and TAMBOURINE DOVES, BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE, CHORISTER ROBIN-CHAT, RED-NECKED SPURFOWL, COLLARED SUNBIRD and KNYSNA TURACO.
View from Blue Whale Resort patio
View over other chalets
This venue will make an ideal destination for bird club outings and Elaine immediately proposed that we chuck this into the mix for a possible BLO outing in future. It will also serve as an ideal base to visit some of the top birding hot spots in the region. One is so blessed to discover such gems by chance.