REPORT ON THE FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS COURSE AT FERNKLOOF, HERMANUS
Posted on the 6th March 2017
Each year we present the Flight for Birders identification and conservation course as a membership drive for BirdLife Overberg. This time we were at the Botanical Society Hall in Fernkloof Nature Reserve, in Hermanus on 4 and 5 March. Registrations for the course had to be closed as we reached our capacity for seating. The group was very diverse as participants ranged from young students through to elderly people in search of a hobby. Conservation agencies such as CapeNature, Stony Point, Mosaic Farm, the Lower Breede River Conservancy Trust and Whale Coast Conservation were represented and we thank member Paula Combrink for sponsoring the representative of WCC. Visiting birders came from as far afield as Cape Town, Elgin and Agulhas.
We offered a year's free membership of BirdLife Overberg as part of the course registration and the hope is expressed that several of the people who took up such membership (43 in total) will become active in club activities, join again in a year's time and even join BirdLife South Africa. Interesting that a few of the participants have already indicated that they will participate in this Saturday's morning outing to Elgin. The diversity of the group did make it fairly difficult to cope with the various demands and wide ranging questions. We were however encouraged by the enthusiasm of the group and are convinced that the new members will contribute significantly to our club's activities.
We change the course contents significantly each year and this time we placed far more emphasis on the local and regional distribution of species and conservation issues. 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 lower gardens of Fernkloof for the practical outing on Sunday morning. Amazingly almost the entire group turned up for the walk, unfortunately making it very difficult to cope with such a large group. We were very excited to come across large numbers of STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATERS feeding on flowers. Other species identified included BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, AFRICAN DUSKY-FLYCATCHER, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON, KAROO PRINIA and OLIVE THRUSH. A fairly good spread of garden birds were also seen around the educational centre throughout the course. Carel and Elmaré Goosen found an AFRICAN GOSHAWK perched in a tree on the first day.
Our next confirmed courses will be at Grootbrak on 23 and 24 March and at Langebaan on 21 and 22 April. Several people could not be accommodated on the Fernkloof course and it was decided to present a further course in the Overberg region. Negotiations are currently underway with the staff of the Agulhas National Park regarding a possible course in the park early in May. At this stage we are investigating the possibility of presenting courses in Cape Town, Riversdale and Robertson. Details will be made 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 for all the back-up and support during the course and would like to welcome all our new members to the activities of BirdLife Overberg.