BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (30.11.’13 – 29.12.’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.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS WORK GETS DISTRIBUTED INTERNATIONALLY
Countries visited during this time:
Have a quick look if you, your site or neighborhood is included in this scientific informational work (alphabetically arranged):
A-little-Sossus Lodge (Namibia)
Baumung Sven (Germany)
Bwabwata NP. (Namibia)
Chamäleon Reisen (Germany)
Camp Chobe (Namibia)
Chobe NP. (Botswana)
Etosha NP. (Namibia)
Etosha Safari Camp (Gondwana Collection, Namibia)
Farm Gauchas (Argo Rust) (Namibia)
Gillmann Martin (Namibia)
Gondwana Lodge Collections (Namibia)
Gorges Lodge, Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
Guestfarm Ghaub (Namibia)
Hamburg Airport (Germany)
Hellmich Rigo (Namibia)
Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo Airport (South Africa)
Kempinski Estates (Namibia)
Krause Ingrid Uta
London Heathrow Airport (England)
Leicher Nino (Namibia)
Letsinger Quinn (Germany)
Nunda River Lodge (Namibia)
O.R.Tambo Airport (South Africa)
Pack Safari (Namibia)
Röder Wolfram (Namibia)
Rust Argo (Farm Gauchas) (Namibia)
Rust Leni (Germany)
Schleswig Holstein (Germany)
Schwarz Jürgen Klaus
Sea Breeze Guesthouse (Namibia)
Susuwe Island Lodge (Namibia)
Tierpark Hagenbeck, Hamburg (Germany)
Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls NP, (Zimbabwe)
Von Lüttwitz Carsten (Namibia)
Personal Bird Highlights:
ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG PUBLICATION
TRIBUTE TO NELSON MANDELA
YOUNG BIRDERS ADVENT FOR BIRDS
Total Distance traveled: 22 524 km
30.11.'13 Farm Gauchas, Schlipp, Namibia Cape Sparrow (2 adult, 2 juvenile) Clutch sizes in winter rainfall areas are larger than in summer rainfall areas.
30.11.'13 Kempinski Estate, Windhoek, Namibia Architecture for a better Bird Life Because of strong winds in this corner of the Auas Mountains the seedfeeders from the wild bird feeding station of Mr. Martin Gillmann needed to be replaced by stronger and heavier hanging feeders not to be swinging as severely as the light weight feeders.
01.12.’13 Windhoek, Namibia Young Birders Advent for Birds This Young Birders Advent for Birds is a special Christmas project initiated by BirdsConTours’ Young Birders to count and celebrate the 4 advents leading up to Christmas Day by supporting wild birds. Find more info under Birds in Words (www.birdscontour.blogspot.com) article no. 173
02.12.'13 Windhoek, Namibia Bird & Birder Friendly Award Carsten Von Lüttwitz is the proud recipient of a 2 penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award from BirdsConTour for establishing a wild bird feeding station as a means of giving back to nature for what we take from it with our house or similar infrastructure.
03.12.'13 Birds in Words Sociable Weaver A German article on the Sociable Weaver, written by BirdsConTour, was published in today’s Allgemeine Zeitung. Find out more about this desert-dwelling species under Birds in Words (www.birdscontour.blogspot.com) in article no. 163.
03.12.'13 O.R.Tambo Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa Common Myna This is a desirable species because it controls insects at a great scale. As an alien species it has no impact in natural habitats because it lives only in immediate vicinity of houses and buildings.
04.12.'13 London Heathrow Airport, London, Great Brittain Black-headed Gull (10) During the past 100 years or so, this gull has become a familiar bird in towns, especially in London where it is basically a scavenger. Despite the fact that this gull is so common inland especially in winter, many people do not identify it; for its winter plumage lacks the dark head.
04.12.'13 Norderstedt, Schleswig Holstein, Germany Birds in Words With high traffic being the reflection of the success of a blog, BirdsConTour with its over 1 000 hits per month per year on the Birds in Words blog, wants to express a big THANK YOU to all blog revisitors and new visitors. Clearly birding comes to its full effect on this blogspot – www.birdscontour.blogspot.com.
05.12.'13 Norderstedt, Schleswig Holstein, Germany Bird & Birder Friendly Award Cyclone Xaver heralded this first week of December by sweeping devastating wind and rain across Northern Europe. The media is packed with news estimating financial losses. According to a catastrophe modeling firm losses were estimated up to 1.4 billion Euro. But who spends a thought on the losses nature and particularly bird life experienced? Leni Rust, a 4-year-old German girl did … Find out more in article no. 179 under Birds in Words (www.birdscontour.blogspot.com).
06.12.'13 Norderstedt, Schleswig Holstein, Germany Magpie (2) The feeding habit of magpies robbing other birds’ nests, including those of partridge and pheasant, of eggs and young, has upset gamekeepers in the past. But today gamekeepers know that the greater part of its food consists of insects and grain. Recently the Magpie began moving into towns and is by now established as a city bird in many towns.
07.12.'13 Norderstedt, Schleswig Holstein, Germany Bird & Birder Friendly Award “Young Birder” Quinn Letsinger qualified for a 1 penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award for feeding the garden birds in his parents garden.
08.12.'13 Ohlsdorf, Hamburg, Germany Bird & Birder Friendly Award Sven Baumung, the recipient of a 5 penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award. Meet him in article no. 178 under Birds in Words (www.birdscontour.blogspot.com).
09.12.'13 Tierpark Hagenbeck, Hamburg, Germany Bird & Birder Friendly Award BirdsConTour traveled to Germany and awarded Tierpark Hagenbeck with a two penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award. Find out more in article no. 177 under Birds in Words (www.birdscontour.blogspot.com).
10.12.'13 Airport Hamburg, Germany Jackdaw (6) Jackdaws will sometimes pick up cigarette butts and use them as nest lining to help keep out parasitic mites.
11.12.'13 O.R.Tambo Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa Birds in Words BirdsConTour tributes Nelson Mandela in article no. 176 under Birds in Words (www.birdscontour.blogspot.com).
12.12.'13 Kempinski Estate, Windhoek, Namibia Rockrunner (5) Population densities of this near-endemic species are high on the property of the Kempinski Estate.
13.12.'13 Kempinski Estate, Windhoek, Namibia Architecture for a better Bird Life BirdsConTour provided and attached a new nectar feeder for the wild bird feeding station of Mr. Martin Gillmann.
17.12.'13 A-little-Sossus Lodge, Namibia Namaqua Sandgrouse (100’s) A waterhole nearby the chalets is a favorite drinking spot for swarms of Namaqua Sandgrouse. Flocks can fly up to 60 km each day to water holes, mainly 1-2 hours after sunrise.
18.12.'13 Walvisbay Lagoon, Namibia Damara Tern (12) In Namibia the conservation status of this species is adjusted from Endangered to Near Threatened but was designated as a Specially Protected Species because it remains under threat.
18.12.'13 Sea Breeze Guesthouse, Namibia Common Waxbill (4) Being tame and confiding in the garden of the Sea Breeze Guesthouse, it is a perfect place to observe the greeting display of these birds. With their head being turned towards the other bird they bow their body quickly while giving the contact call. Thereafter they return to an upright position, flicking the tail from side to side.
19.12.'13 Etosha Safari Camp, Gondwana Collection, Namibia Southern Black Tit (2) In areas where the Greater Honeyguide occurs they occasionally parasitize the Southern Black Tit.
20.12.'13 Etosha NP, Namibia African Wattled Lapwing (2) Obviously these two African Wattled Lapwings benefit from the man-modified habitat, the Okaukuejo waterhole.
20.12.'13 Etosha Safari Camp, Gondwana Collection, Namibia Spotted Flycatcher (1) This tiny little bird, ca 14 cm, 15 g, drinks when water is available, but is seemingly not dependent on free water.
21.12.'13 Fishers Pan, Etosha NP, Namibia Greater Flamingo (±100) The first about 100 birds made their appearance in the Fishers Pan in the Etosha NP for breeding. Hopefully the water inflow will be sufficient for the breeding purposes of the vulnerable Greater Flamingo. Reduced water inflow to Etosha Pan is the major threat to these birds in this region.
21.12.'13 Guestfarm Ghaub, Namibia Familiar Chat (2) Southern Africa represent 6 subspecies of the Familiar Chat wherefrom the Cercomela familiaris angolensis can only be seen in the north-western Namibia. Ghaub Guestfarm with its ideal and plentiful nesting sites for the Familiar Chat is an ideal place to view this subspecies with its interesting nest building habit.
22.12.'13 Nunda River Lodge, Namibia Rock Pratincole (12) The Rock Pratincole is considered one of the top 30 priority bird species for conservation action in Namibia due to habitat loss. Human predation may be significant but is not evaluated.
23.12.'13 Western Bwabwata NP (Mahangu NP), Namibia Reed Cormorant (1) An unusual sight was presented when a Reed Cormorant was observed riding together with a Cattle Egret on the back of a grazing hippo. It could not be observed whether this incident was by coincidence or was this bird adopting the Cattle Egrets habit of feeding on flushed insects by having a better view into the tall vegetation from the back of the hippo.
23.12.'13 Susuwe Island Lodge, Namibia Lesser Jacana (1) Driving out by boat while it is raining offers good chances to spot this diurnal bird. While flying off at a distance when approached on foot, it is confiding when approached by boat.
24.12.'13 Bwabwata NP, Namibia Mosque Swallow (1) Generally scarce and largely resident in southern Africa, but partial migrant in northern Namibia and Botswana.
24.12.'13 Susuwe Island Lodge, Namibia Pallid Harrier (1) Bird & Birder Friendly Susuwe Island Lodge is an ideal accommodation to search for the uncommon palearctic-breeding migrating Pallid Harrier, world population estimated at about 100 000 pairs.
25.12.'13 Camp Chobe, Namibia Red-chested Flufftail (1) Although classified as not globally threatened, numbers are probably decreasing due to loss of natural wetlands.
26.12.'13 Chobe River, Namibia Red-necked Falcon (1) A unique example of interspecific cooperation is presented by the Red-necked Falcon. This is a form of hunting association with the Gabar Goshawk. While the goshawk chases through the tree canopy to catch birds hiding from falcons, the falcon courses over the tree canopy to catch birds that are flushed by the goshawk.
26.12.'13 Camp Chobe, Namibia Lesser Kestrel (1) Classified as globally vulnerable, the world population (50 000-60 000 birds) is probably reduced by more than 20% in the last 15 years, in South Africa even by 50% between the 1960s and 1990s. Threats are habitat loss and degradation accompanied with agriculture, afforestation and urbanization. Another major threat is poisoning by pesticides.
27.12.'13 Chobe NP, Botswana Montagu’s Harrier (1) Salambala Conservancy in Namibia on the Chobe River flood plain offers 30-50 of these uncommon birds to view. The confusing Pallid Harrier has less black in its primaries, lacks the black wing bar and has a plain breast.
27.12.'13 Gorges Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Bird & Birder Friendly Award In this age traveling becomes more and more important to people around the globe. To keep an eye on nature and to balance tourism and nature conservation, BirdsConTour initiated the “Travel gives Wings” division.
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 another BirdsConTour project. To say THANK YOU, every tour participant receives a Bird & Birder Friendly Award at the end of the tour:
Krause Ingrid Uta
Schwarz Jürgen Klaus
27.12.'13 Victoria Falls NP, Zimbabwe Red-chested Cuckoo (1) As an unobtrusive and difficult to see species, it reveals its presence by persistent piet-my-vrou calling, day and night.
28.12.'13 Bwabwata NP, Namibia Eurasian Hobby (1) In southern Africa this palearctic-breeding migrant is regarded as scarce to fairly common. The world population is probably more than 100 000 pairs.
29.12.'13 Windhoek, Namibia Red-headed Finch (12) Readily these birds accept abandoned White-browed Sparrow-Weaver nests to breed in. To support these little finches one can as needed collect old Sparrow-Weaver nests and hang them up in ones bird friendly garden. In the bird friendly garden in Von Falkenhausenstr. one pair occupied such a nest within 5 minutes after it was hung up.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)