Tuesday, 6 August 2013

122 | BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (27.07.'13 - 06.08.'13)


BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (27.07.'13 – 06.08.’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.


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

Chamäleon Reisen
Chromec Susanne
Dietz Claudia
Dietz Regine & Horst (Gästefarm Etendero)
Deuss Paul Ludwig
Glauser Dagmar Sylvia
Etendero Gästefarm (Regine & Horst Dietz)
Etosha NP, Okaukuejo Restcamp
Etosha Safari Camp (Gondwana Collection)
Gondwana Collection
Heinemann Dr. Frauke
Kashana, Omaruru
Koark Sylvia Katrin & Frank Dieter
Leicher Birgit
Leicher Family
Lethaus Friedrich Jürgen
Lukaschik Sylvia & Stephan (Gästehaus Seidarap)
Meier Elisabeth
Michaud Mireille
Mohammadi-Heinemann Masoud
Namib Desert Lodge (Gondwana Collection Group)
Okuakuejo Restcamp, Etosha NP.
Onjala Lodge
Pack Safari
Penduka (Goreangab Lake)
Rusch Mr.
Schäfer Ulrich
Seidarap Gästehaus (Sylvia & Stephan Lukaschik)
Voigtland Farm (Stephan & Gabi Voigts)
Voigts Stephan & Gabi
Von Falkenhausen Str. (Family Leicher)

BirdsConTour Report (Namibia) Personal Highlights:


Distance traveled: 3 120 km

27.07.'13  Farm Voigtland, Stephan & Gabi Voigts  Fork-tailed Drongo (1) These birds are always good for surprises. In the bird and birder friendly garden on Farm Voigtland an individual bird was observed feeding on the porridge that was put out at the wild bird support station. This proofs the high rate of capability of adaptation of this species.

27.07.'13  Penduka, Goreangab Lake  Great White Pelican (32) At the Goreangab Lake these birds seem to feel save. For them having the Goreangab Lake as a refuge is good news because Great White Pelicans have recently been uplisted to regionally Vulnerable.

27.07.'13  Von Falkenhausen Str. 36, Family Leicher  Spotted Eagle-Owl (1) The bird-friendly garden of Mr. and Mrs. Schneider in the middle of Windhoek, added a special bird to the list of birds seen in it. Mrs. Birgit Leicher spotted a Spotted Eagle-Owl and got to shoot good pictures of it. Especially for her two children it was excitement pure, to experience such a big owl (43-47 cm) this close, a mere 5 meters away. This species is known to be resident in many towns and cities.

28.07.'13  Namib Desert Lodge, Gondwana Collection  Dune Lark (3) Namib Desert Lodge is an ideal place to view the Dune Lark. This desert-dwelling species is the only real endemic bird species Namibia has to offer. As such it is another major attraction that the recent registered Namib Sand Sea as a UNESCO Nature World Heritage has to offer.

29.07.'13  Sossusvlei  Water for Sossus Birds  Heavy sandstorms as today keeps the birds in their hides. Only quite late they made their appearance on the 4x4 parking area in search of the water that is offered to the wild birds in this area by visiting guides. Every guide from Pack Safari stopping here with a group of guests, puts out a by BirdsConTour special developed water feeder. This project called “Water for Sossus Birds” under the BirdsConTour “Travel gives Wings” division arose because of the ever-increasing amount of guests visiting this Sossusvlei area and having an impact on the insects and beetles. Walking and driving into this area kill them. These animals would naturally be water supply for different birds. To balance this negative impact, BirdsConTour together with Pack Safari and Chamaeleon Reisen make an effort to give back as far as possible by offering water for the duration of the visit.

29.07.'13  Namib Desert Lodge, Gondwana Collection  Bird & Birder Friendly Award  BirdsConTour aims to promote the enjoyment, conservation, study and understanding of wild birds and their habitats. One way to achieve this is by offering Bird & Birder Friendly Awards.
Recently the Gondwana Collection Namib Desert Lodge was identified. Namib Desert Lodge meets certain benchmarks, such as a bird and birder friendly garden, bird friendly waterholes and bird friendly practices in the private nature reserve surrounding the lodge establishment.
Therefore the Namib Desert Lodge was rewarded with a three penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award.

30.07.'13  Solitaire  Cape Sparrow (35) In southern Africa occur three subspecies, the Passer melanurus melanurus, Passer melanurus damarensis and the Passer melanurus vicinus. The P.m. damarensis is the one that is found in Namibia and is the smallest and palest subspecies.

30.07.'13  Swakopmund  African Wattled Lapwing (1) It seems that this species definitely benefits from man-modified habitats. In this case from the coastal city Swakopmund. When trying to get closer to photograph it, this individual flew up and dive-bombed me in an attempt to chase me away. Usually this behavior is typically for these birds when they are nesting. Possibly there is a nesting partner.

31.07.'13  Swakopmund  Cape Cormorant (±55) Namibia has the largest colonies of this near-endemic species, on Ichaboe Island about 45 805 and on the Swakopmund platform about 43 542. For this near-threatened species these two colonies are southern Africa’s stronghold population.

31.07.'13  Walvisbay Lagoon  Damara Tern (3) One bird was seen carrying fish to mainland over lagoon. Most probably they still have chicks to feed. Laying dates are recorded till end of June and the incubation takes about 17-30 days.

01.08.'13  Spitskoppe  Lanner Falcon (2) Probably this is a breeding pair because breeding pairs generally prefer cliff habitat as nest site. In non-breeding season they prefer open grassland, agricultural areas and open or cleared woodland.

01.08.'13  Kashana, Omaruru  Violet Wood-Hoopoe (2) Although this species is not on the red data list, it is classified as considerable conservation concern because of the small population size. The concern even grows if it is proven that the Namibian population is taxonomically distinct from the isolated population of Phoeniculus damarensis granti in Kenya.

01.08.'13  Gästefarm Etendero  Bird & Birder Friendly Award  Regine and Horst Dietz from Gästefarm Etendero are walking the extra mile by attending to the birdlife on the farm. Knowing that a severe drought hits their farm, they are supplying the artificial dam near the farmhouse with borehole water. Hereby helping some animals and the birdlife in this area to survive. This and other bird friendly practices gave BirdsConTour reason to reward Gästefarm Etendero with a two penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award.

02.08.'13  Etosha NP.  Cape Crow (8) It may well be that these birds start nesting soon. In the Etosha NP they have been observed probing elephant dung.

02.08.'13  Etosha Safari Camp, Gondwana Collection  African Red-eyed Bulbul (12) During drought seasons these birds wander widely. Here in the garden of the Etosha Safari Camp they profit from the man made food resources.

03.08.'13  Etosha NP., Okaukuejo Restcamp  BirdsConTour for a cleaner Bird Habitat  Not even three months later Namibia’s best known Sociable Weaver nest in the Okaukuejo Restcamp, Etosha NP, has been cleaned again and again a dead bird, that got entangled in thread in the nest, got removed. Freelance helpers were guests and another Tour guide, Mr. Rusch.

03.08.'13  Etosha Safari Camp, Gondwana Collection  Southern Pale-chanting Goshawk (1) This individual scavenged on a Cape Hare roadkill. More often this habit is observed, where these birds scavenge on roadkills.

04.08.'13  Etosha NP., Klein Namutoni  Wood Sandpiper (2) Being one of the first migrating birds these two individuals arrived at the Klein Namutoni waterhole. As a non-breeding, overland migrant to southern Africa, they breed from Finland to east of the Ural Mountains.

04.08.'13  Gästehaus Seidarap, Grootfontein  African Hoopoe (1) Stephan Lukaschik built nest boxes for his garden birds and it will be interesting whether the African Hoopoe in the garden will make use of this offer. Only the male bird selects the nesting site whereas only the female incubates the eggs. The male feeds the female 5-8 times per hour.

05.08.'13  Grashoek  White-backed Vulture (12) Twelve White-backed Vultures were observed feeding on a roadkill Brown Hyena on the gravel road leading to Tsumkwe. These birds are able to fill their crop with up to 1 kg in 2-5 minutes time. A single bird needs an average of 400 g of food per day. After feeding they can soar up to 800 m in thermals and when gliding between them they reach a speed of up to 65 km per hour.

05.08.'13  Gästehaus Seidarap, Grootfontein Bird & Birder Friendly Award  Four Swiss and eight German Sossusvlei Tour members of the Sossusvlei Tour organized by Pack Safari and Chamäleon Reisen were rewarded with a one penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award. Not only their participation indirectly supported bird conservation but they also assisted in cleaning the Sociable Weaver nest in the Okaukuejo Restcamp.

06.07.'13  Onjala Lodge  Southern Masked-Weaver (2) In southern Africa there are five distinguished subspecies of the Southern Masked-Weaver, in the Onjala area it is the Ploceus velatus caurinus. The first male birds developed their breeding plumage – a black throat and face and other parts of body feathers a bright yellow and yellowish green color.

06.07.'13  Windhoek  African Grey Hornbill (1) More and more they enter Windhoek. The gardens offer a variety of food such as small animals and a few fruits picked from bushes and trees.

06.07.'13  Windhoek  Tourismus Namibia  Find out more about birds in this monthly Tourismus Namibia Journal in German, English and Afrikaans. It is published today.

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

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