Tuesday, 16 May 2017

149 | BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (07.10.'13-19.10.'13)


BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (07.10.’13 – 19.10.’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):

A-little-Sossus Lodge (Jandre Geldenhuysen) (Namibia)
Amadeus Garden Guesthouse (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe)
Bwabwata NP. (Namibia)
Camp Chobe (Namibia)
Chamäleon Reisen (Germany)
Chobe NP. (Botswana)
Desmond (Camp Chobe) (Namibia)
Etosha Safari Camp (Gondwana Collection) (Namibia)
Etosha NP. (Okaukuejo and Klein Namutoni Waterhole) (Namibia)
Geldenhuysen Jandre (A-little-Sossus Lodge) (Namibia)
Gemsbokvlakte Waterhole (Etosha NP) (Namibia)
Gondwana Collection (Etosha Safari Camp) (Namibia)
Gorges Lodge (Zimbabwe)
Mahangu NP. (Namibia)
Kalkfeld (Namibia)
Klein Namutoni Waterhole (Etosha NP.) (Namibia)
Nunda River Lodge (Namibia)
Okaukuejo (Etosha NP.) (Namibia)
Pack Safari (Namibia)
Popa Falls (Namibia)
Rian (Camp Chobe) (Namibia)
Sea Breeze Guesthouse (Namibia)
Seidarap Gästehaus (Namibia)
Shaun (Camp Chobe) (Namibia)
Sossusvlei, UNESCO World Heritage Site (Namibia)
Susuwe Island Lodge (Namibia)
Swakopmund (Namibia)
Victoria Falls NP. (Zimbabwe)
Walvisbay Lagoon (Namibia)
Windhoek (Namibia)

BirdsConTour Report (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe) Personal Highlights:


Distance traveled: 3 198 km

07.10.'13  Windhoek, Namibia  European Bee-eater (1) Most summer arrivals from Eurasia are mid August to early October, migrating in flocks, sometimes with the Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. The southwestern Western Cape populations collapsed in the mid 1990’s, causes unknown!

08.10.'13  Corner of C24 and MR47, Namibia  BirdsConTour for a cleaner Bird Habitat Another BirdsConTour for a cleaner Bird Habitat cleaning session was held while being on a Caprivi tour with an eleven German guest group, organized by Chamäleon Reisen and Pack Safari. Not only can the litter lying around, including glass bottles, cause a bush fire and threaten bird- and wildlife in general, but it is no good impression for guests. Today cleaning was done at the corner of C24 and MR47. A transporter lost part of its litter carriage on the road. With the help of the guests quickly a part of the litter was collected and stored in garbage bags.

08.10.’13 Sossusvlei, Namib Sand Sea World Heritage Site, Namibia  Barn Swallow (1) One summer arrival occurred here, busy hunting insects around a flowering Camelthorn tree. The majority of these birds arrive in late October to early November. In many parts of Europe the populations are decreasing.

08.10.'13  A-little-Sossus Lodge, Namibia  African Jacana (1) In response to their ephemeral nature of wetlands, these birds are very mobile and nomadic. Long distance flights between wetlands happen during the nights. Distances of up to 300 km have been measured. Mainly juveniles are quite often recorded in atypical habitats, such as at the Gobabeb Desert Research Station in the Namib Desert, the Nossob in the Kalahari Desert or, as in this case, at the water tables in the garden of A-little-Sossus Lodge. According to Jandre Geldenhuysen, one individual pitches up about every two weeks, visiting from the Houchab Fontein where it is situated permanently.

09.10.'13  Walvisbay Lagoon, Namibia  Swift Tern (1) Many birds move after breeding from colonies in Namibia and West Cape south and east to the Indian Ocean coastline. One bird that was ringed at Lüderitz, was recovered 15 months later at Umzumbe, KwaZulu-Natal, 2 169 km east.

09.10.'13  Sea Breeze Guesthouse, Swakopmund, Namibia  African Red-eyed Bulbul (1) Classified as a near-endemic species to southern Africa. One bird can live more than four years. They become tame in gardens and are useful because they mob predators such as snakes.

10.10.'13  Kalkfeld, Namibia  Tawny Eagle (1) Known as predator, pirate and scavenger. This bird was seen scavenging at a roadkill. Disturbed by the tour bus, he took off with the snake in its talons, flying to a secure perch to feed on it undisturbed.

10.10.'13  Etosha Safari Camp, Namibia  Fork-tailed Drongo (3) With mostly any animal these birds associate in an attempt to catch disturbed prey. On the property of the Etosha Safari Lodge three birds associated with browsing giraffes to catch flushed insects.

11.10.'13  Etosha Safari Camp, Namibia  With Monotonous Lark (1) Little is known about the movement of these near-endemic birds. They might be resident and local nomadic, possibly linked to rainfall.

11.10.'13  Etosha NP., Okaukuejo, Namibia  Northern Black Korhaan (1) In Namibia this species, endemic to southern Africa, is widespread. Probably the Middle East imported these birds for falconry purposes. In Botswana one dealer was caught in the 1980s with more than 500 birds in his possession intending to export them.
One female was found next to the road near Okaukuejo with an injured left leg, probably caused by a vehicle.

12.10.'13  Etosha NP., Klein Namutoni Waterhole, Namibia  Cape Shoveler (2) Migratory movements are not well understood yet. Some ringed birds in Western Cape recovered 2 011 km away in Namibia. Sometimes these birds forage by “circle-swimming”. This is when 2-7 birds swim around head to tail in a circle, filtering the water that is stirred up by the front bird.

12.10.'13  Seidarap Guesthouse, Namibia  Bird & Birder Friendly Habitat  Guests and their guide look forward to visiting the Seidarap Guesthouse, because that’s where visitors can observe and photograph wild birds at the established wild bird restaurant in close proximity. The owners, family Lukaschik are passionate birders and erected bird feeders, water tables and nest boxes to attract wild birds into their garden. Former tour guide Stephan Lukaschik knows what his guests want, wildlife right in front of their doorstep, and that is what he caters for. Seidarap Guesthouse is a Bird & Birder Friendly establishment, registered by birds conservation and tourism (BirdsConTour).

13.10.'13  Nunda River Lodge, Namibia  Sharp-tailed Starling (20) With its bird friendly practices the Nunda River Lodge, registered as a Bird & Birder Friendly Establishment by birds conservation and tourism (BirdsConTour), attract a large variety of wild birds. Guests are overwhelmed photographing and observing the avifauna on the property of the Nunda River Lodge and a one-night stay is just not enough time.
Nunda River Lodge is a pristine place to observe this localized and uncommon species in southern Africa. Its conservation status is uncertain, having only limited range in southern Africa, mainly in Namibia. Protected areas that are not impacted by tree-felling are to this species’ benefit.

13.10.'13  Popa Falls, Namibia  Rock Pratincole (4) In southern Africa the Popa Falls (rapids) (Namibia) will become of more and more importance to the survival of this species population. They are classified of high regional conservation concern, considered as one of the top thirty priority bird species for conservation action in Namibia. In the Zambezi River where it is flooded by the Lake Kariba and Cahorra Bassa they no longer breed. A further proposed dam-building in the Batoka and Mupata Gorges would also eliminate much of their remaining breeding habitat.

14.10.'13  Mahangu NP., Namibia  Wattled Crane (1) Land redistribution schemes in Zimbabwe have rendered the Wattled Crane one of Africa’s most threatened populations. Of most concern are wetland degradation and destruction. The most serious threats are damming, draining, afforestation, overgrazing, trampling and disturbance by livestock, continuous and inappropriately timed burning, erosion, siltation, road building, water abstraction, intensive agriculture, forestry encroachment, housing and industrialisation.

14.10.'13  Bwabwata NP., Namibia  Collared Pratincole (1) In Zimbabwe on the plateau and in eastern Botswana, the breeding range of this species has expanded because of the establishment of large dams. The daily flooding cycles since the construction of the Kariba Dam and the lack of seasonal flooding that would create vegetated sandbanks, decreased the numbers of these birds in the middle Zambezi River.

14.10.'13  Susuwe Island Lodge, Namibia  Bird & Birder Friendly Award  The Susuwe Island Lodge has received a two penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award from birds conservation and tourism (BirdsConTour) for the time of one year. This establishment offers a tree-top birding platform for bird watchers and does quite some effort in conserving wild birds on the establishment as well as in the surrounding Bwabwata NP.

15.10.'13  Susuwe Island Lodge, Namibia  Red-billed Oxpecker (8) These birds obtain almost all their food on host animals such as Giraffe, Greater Kudu, Eland Sable, White Rhinocerus, Burchell’s Zebra, Impala and Black Rhinoceros. Not that often Warthogs are used. This Warthog was in a poor physical condition and clearly visible searched for the neighborhood of the Impala to profit from the Oxpeckers that visited the Impala herd. They repeatedly flew over to the warthog to glean on it. The Warthog followed the herd to stay in touch with the Oxpeckers.

15.10.'13  Bwabwata NP., Namibia  White-headed Vulture (1) This species is exceptional vulnerable to poisoning because it is dominant over many other vulture species, except the Lappet-faced Vulture, and frequently arrives first at a carcass. Classified as uncommon, the African population consists of about 7 000-12 500 birds, of which only estimated 500 pairs live in southern Africa.

16.10.'13  Camp Chobe, Namibia  Bird & Birder Friendly Award  Today the Camp Chobe was rewarded with a three penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award. A key objective of this establishment is to conserve the birdlife and its habitat through bird-friendly management. As such the staff of Camp Chobe regularly tries to control a big nesting colony site of the Southern Carmine Bee-eater. Poachers catch these birds with fishing nets the moment they leave their nest burrows to then sell the colorful feathers on the market. Rian, Shaun and Desmond took the time to take the group of German visitors to show them the nesting site and explain the way these beautiful birds are caught by poachers.

17.10.'13  Camp Chobe, Namibia  Yellow-billed Oxpecker (2) Egg-laying starts in September and lasts till November. Usually they build their nests in tree holes, 2-7 m above the ground and rarely in other sites such as walls of buildings. In the garden of this Bird & Birder Friendly Establishment, a pair of this species is nesting in a wooden fence pole around the boma. The cavity is lined with grass and hair plucked from its host animals. One to two adult helpers assist in feeding the chicks.

18.10.'13  Chobe NP., Botswana  Osprey (1) With a cosmopolitan distribution in Old and New Worlds it is in southern Africa also widespread but uncommon and is largely absent from he arid interior. They live in competition with African Fish-Eagles whom they attack and interact aggressively with.

18.10.'13  Victoria Falls NP., Zimbabwe  Collared Sunbird (3) In this protected area this species is well represented although they are due to their size easily overlooked. When roosting, they can lower their metabolism by 39% at 5 degrees Celsius and by 61-65% at 25 degrees Celsius.

18.10.'13  Gorges Lodge, Zimbabwe  Bird & Birder Friendly Award  By traveling directly with BirdsConTour or making use of a guide from BirdsConTour you support bird conservation and create an economic platform for local livelihoods. Sometimes travelers also participate in other BirdsConTour projects. To say THANK YOU, every tour participant receives a Bird & Birder Friendly Award at the end of the tour.
Twelve German-speaking guests were rewarded with one penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Awards:

Gibisch Petra & Rudolf
Heinz Carmen & Jürgen
Heutling Sylvia & Hans-Jürgen
Leitz Claudia
Leitz Inge
Madl Ute & Herbert
Winkelmann Daniela & Dr. Daniel

This Caprivi Tour, organized by Pack Safari and Chamäleon Reisen, took place from the 07th of October until the 19th of October 2013.

19.10.'13  Gorges Lodge, Zimbabwe  Bird & Birder Friendly Award  Gorges Lodge in Zimbabwe at the Batoka Gorge has been rewarded with a two penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award. The managers are involved with a conservation project to save the Verreaux’s Eagle on and around the lodge property. At the same time they offer their guests a stunning eagle viewing activity.

19.10.'13  Amadeus Garden Guesthouse, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe  Fork-tailed Drongo (1) One nest is being build out of pliable twigs and bound with spider web. It is suspended in a horizontal tree fork, about 9 m above the ground.

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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