Sunday, 5 May 2013

053 | BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (01.02.'13 - 03.03.'13)

BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (01.02.'13 - 03.03.'13)

Text from Stefan Rust

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belong to Stefan Rust)

Dear birding friends, 

as birdwatching is a relatively new and one of the fastest growing and a most popular pursuit, it attracts people of all ages around the world. There can hardly be a better place than southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa) to nurture an interest in birds as it supports almost 1000 bird species, which is about 10 per cent of the world's entire bird. Taking birding to new heights Hobby-Ornithologist Stefan Rust together with BirdsConTour represents some of the ontour bird sightings and several other interesting birding aspects to showcase the fun of birding, promote citizen science, highlight conservation, indicate where to view what birds and raise awareness of southern Africa's (sometimes international) birds and their habitats. 

BirdsConTour Report (Namibia) Personal Highlights: 


Have a quick look if you, your site or neighbourhood is included in this scientific informational work (alphabetically arranged): 

- Afrikaans National Radio Station
- Allgemeine Zeitung
- Delta Kindergarten Windhoek
- Leni Rust
- Louisa from the Afrikaans National Radio Station
- Mottenklodt Street, Pionierspark, Windhoek
- Sylvia Schenk
- Sonnleiten Farm (Park & Fly) (Andrea, Karl, Gido & Arno Giel)
- Sonnleiten Farm Residence
- Von Falkenhausen Street (Windhoek)  

02.02.'13   Afrikaans National Radio, Windhoek          Interview.  Eight o'clock in the morning Louisa from the Afrikaans speaking national radio station interviewed me for 45 minutes on bird conservation in Namibia.
Thank you Louisa for inviting me from BirdsConTour to this for the listener hopefully interesting interview!

05.02.'13   Von Falkenhausen Str, Windhoek               African Red-eyed Bulbul (1) Today an adult Bulbul brought its juvenile to the porridge feeder in my garden. Again I realized how important garden bird feeding is. Often they don't find enough food anymore because many citizen do not plant bird friendly and infrastructure like bricks, interlocks, concrete and concrete slabs take away natural ground that could provide sufficient food for birds themselves or for them to raise their chicks. That is why every citizen should "give something back" through feeding the birds around the house he or she stays in, no matter renting or owning the property. By the way, it is lots of fun, can teach your child to take responsibility through regular feeding and it brings nature closer to your home.

10.02.'13   Von Falkenhausen Str, Windhoek                 Spotted Flycatcher (1)  The Nederlandse Gereformeerde Kerk Pionierspark seems to be an overwintering home for this tiny bird. This light weight bird is a palearctic-breeding summer visitor and can reach an age of up to 11 years.

17.02.'13   Farm Sonnleiten, Windhoek                        Southern Masked-Weaver (1)  Mr. Gido Giel rescued one Weaver nestling out of a nest that was recklessly cut down. This incident didn't happen on Farm Sonnleiten run by Family Giel. This is an urgent request to everybody who is dealing with nature: If for example nests need to be taken down because of whatever reasons, then please do check that you do not hurt or kill animals. If the responsible person would have controlled the nests preferably before cutting them down, he could have rescued this helpless little creature. There are more than one organization that would have gladly helped him to take care of the young birds. Perhaps this specific person thinks: "What is the deal, it is just a little bird." But this little bird is reason that natural pest control takes place in the garden that this person is responsible for. It is sad to see that one still finds people who do not seem to understand how important even little animals are. I pronounce this incident with the hope to create an awareness of the importance of especially little animals. If  a person  is not able to react responsible with small animals, this same person can not act responsible with saving large animals such as elephants, rhinos etc. Thank you to Mr. Gido Giel for rescuing this weaver chick and also to his brother Arno Giel who supported him in rearing it. They therefore received a reward from BirdsConTour.

19.02.'13   Farm Sonnleiten, Windhoek                        Verreauxs' Eagle (1 immature) Family Giel stays in the good news! Yesterday Mr. Karl Giel, father of Gido and Arno, saved a young Verreauxs' Eagle from drowning. He found this eagle helpless in one of his reservoirs on the farm. Here I must ad that this specific reservoir is adequate  equipped with a strong branch hanging into the water. Because of one or other reason this immature bird didn't climb onto the twig. This is exactly what farmers should do in their multiple open reservoirs. Hang a stronger branch with enough twigs on it into the reservoir. Pay attention to the length of it. It is important that it is long enough that it reaches the inner ground of the reservoir. Then the water level can be as low as it can get and still drowning birds (animals) can climb the branch.
Sincere thanks to Karl for contacting me when he found the eagle. I contacted Mr. Dirk Heinrich, a professional raptor ringer, and together we drove out to the farm to ring this master of the sky. Two rings were attached to its legs, one metal ring and one large yellow ring with a black "N083" number on it. The next day an interesting article by Mr. Heinrich was published front cover in the Allgemeine Zeitung (German newspaper). 
If this Black Eagle, as they are also called, is seen by anyone, please report the sighting to either me, Dirk Heinrich or the Namibia Bird Club. Because that is the reason for ringing a bird so that research about their movements and other aspects can be done. Research serves for better conservation!
For further reading I published an article on this same blog: "Wieder Wind unter den Schwingen."

19.02.'13   Windhoek                                                 Diderick Cuckoo (1Juvenile)  Mrs. Sylvia Schenk handed this beautiful bird to me. After she enquired what bird it is that she received from a farmer nearby Okahandja and what to feed him, she brought me this Diderick Cuckoo chick after she took care of it for almost three weeks. After having the bird I realized that she did a fabulous job with raising it so far. Therefore she deserved a recognition and Mrs Sylvia Schenk received a BirdsConTour award.
Unfortunately it is not clear how the farmer got this bird but nevertheless, by the time I received it, it was in a good condition. Thank you to Mrs. Sylvia Schenk!

22.02.'13   Windhoek                                                Damara Tern  In todays Allgemeine Zeitung an article is published on the situation of the Damara Tern and the Dorob National Park, the heading is "Population auf einen Schlag vernichtet." Awareness needs to be created regarding the survival of this "near threatened" species. The management of the Dorob National Park is also an important aspect. Care must be taken with industrial plans within this Park regarding the survival of this tern! Again the newspaper article can be read on this same blog.

23.02.'13   Sonnleiten Farm Residence, nearby Int. Airport       Familiar Chat (5 Juveniles)  During a visit to this beautiful project, I found a high population of this species in the garden. It is notable that there is a good growth of bird friendly vegetation on the infrastructure property. This attracts a healthy variety of wild bird species into this garden. Automatically the bird life takes care of pest control and the people staying here can enjoy the multiple aspects in the life of these birds.

25.02.'13   Delta Kindergarten Windhoek                     Wild Bird Station   Mrs. Sabine Gerber, the manager of this Kindergarten, took the initiative and contacted BirdsConTour in connection with establishing a Wild Bird Station on the premises of the Kindergarten. This morning, when the children arrived at the Kindergarten, they were confronted with this entertaining station. The aim with this project is to bring bird life closer to the small children for them to learn more about nature in a young age. 
For the initiative of the Delta Kindergarten for getting a Wild Bird Station set up, BirdsConTour rewarded the Kindergarten with an award.
Again a more detailed article can be read on this blog.

25.02.'13   Windhoek                                                    Diderick Cuckoo (Juvenile)  The same Diderick Cuckoo I spoke about in this report on the 19th, was ringed and measured today by Mr. Dirk Heinrich. He equipped this juvenile with a metal ring. The ring shows following description: Safring Cape Town CV 52581.

28.02.'13   Mattenklodt Str., Windhoek                        African Harrier-Hawk (1)  Most probably it is the same bird that I have observed and written about before. Surely this individual takes advantage of food that this part of Windhoek, Pionierspark, offers. An interesting aspect about this species is, that these birds have 'double-jointed' ankles. They can be flexed backwards and even a little bit sideways, allowing them to extract small prey out of various holes and crevices.

01.03.'13   Windhoek                                                   Rock Kestrel survey evaluation   A two week survey of a Rock Kestrel family at the church in Von Falkenhausen Street in Pionierspark was put on paper and is published today in the internet on Interesting insights of the life of these birds were gained. At the end of the article I summarized the results of the research. For example I found in this case that they spend up to 60% of their available daytime in 'personal hygiene'. 

02.03.'13   Von Falkenhausen Str., Windhoek             Little Sparrowhawk (1)  In my garden I became witness of how a Little Sparrowhawk caught a White-backed Mousebird and started feasting on it up in the tree. Because of its small size and its habit of perching within the canopy of a tree these birds are difficult to see. I only detected its presence because of a female African Paradise Flycatcher that mobbed and screamed at it.

03.03.'13  Farm Sonnleiten                                           Diderick Cuckoo (1 Juvenile)  The same Cuckoo I mentioned already on the 19th and 25th of February was happily released today on farm Sonnleiten. Care was taken that it was ready at this point to feed by itself and had regular flight exercise. The time was ready for its release because this species is an intra-African breeding migrant departing from our grounds end of February. 
This handsome and intelligent bird managed to 'creep into my heart' and I gave it over the time that I took care of him a name. So I wish Didi my Diderick Cuckoo for his freedom and his journey to more northern parts of this continent all of the best. Perhaps some day a ringed Didi (CV 52581) will be recovered, hopefully alive!
A sincere thanks goes to my precious 3-year old daughter Leni for her gentle support in helping me feeding Didi. I am sure and hope she won't forget Didi, because Didi was the first close encounter with a bird she had in her young life.

Enjoy Birding
Stefan Rust
Please note: Most scientific information has been taken from Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, V11th edition!
(For further reading see
(For more information contact Stefan Rust on +264 (0)81 129 8415 or                                                  

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