Birding

Why not try Birding?
Why not try Birding?
Some of us chase after the Big5 relentlessly and consider a trip totally unsuccessful if less than 4 of the 5 were spotted.

Granted – there are very few things more exciting than finding the Big5, but why not give birding a shot?

In this section we will do some investigating into the activity of birding and find out what it is all about, how to get going and what equipment is needed.
In MORE, we kick off by offering a few tips for beginners…





Why not try Birding?

Take this:

  • Water
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • A small note pad and pen.
  • And your smartphone.  Huh?

You are sitting down.  You have been quiet for a while.  You should start hearing chirps, tweets and songs.  This is when you take out your phone and record the different sounds. Taking a pic with your phone goes a long way in identifying birds. Make a few basic notes on different colours, different shapes of beaks and bills, as well as behaviour.

Your first trip into the wild as a novice birder should be considered highly fruitful if you come back with some sounds, songs, chirps, pics, notes and no sunstroke.  If there is a resident guide, ask for help in identifying your finds.  Even better; send us your pics and we will get an expert to identify them for you! high quality replica watches

Our intention is to publish new and interesting information from specialists in the field of Birding regularly, starting very soon!  

Should you be interested in this topic whether you wish to ask dumb questions or share your knowledge as an experienced Bird Watcher, please click on the link below!

Remember to send us the pictures you took on your birding trip!  Don't forget captions.


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Birding Adventure

Click on MORE to find links, tour operators and birding information.
Find Birding Here... Web Link Contact email link
Rockjumper Tours  
Avian Leisure Patrick Cardwell        
African Bird Club  
African Bird of Prey Sanctuary    
      Ben & Shannon

Hoffman

Benvie Farm  The Geekie Family
Bird and Echo Tours Dr. Paul Martin
Bird info and Articles Guy upfold
Birding Botswana Mareko
Bona Safari Services Richard Randall
Birding Echo Tours  
Birdlife Polokwane Derek Engelbrecht
Birdlife Polokwane Charles Hardy
Birdlife Polokwane Sandrie de Wet
Birdlife Polokwane Nick Baglow
Birdlife Polokwane Lisa Grosel
Birdlife Polokwane Wilna Campbell
Birdlife Polokwane Chris Campbell
Birdlife Polokwane Susan Chapman
Birdlife Polokwane Almari Robbertse
Birdlife Polokwane Saartjie Venter
Birdlife Polokwane Margie Strydom
Birdlife Polokwane Jody De Bruyn
Birdlife South Africa Info
Birdlife South Africa Shireen Gould
(Membership)
Birdlife South Africa Sadie Halbhuber
(Events)
Birdlife South Africa Martin Taylor
(Tourism)
Birdlife South Africa Daniel Marnewick
Birdlife South Africa Dr. Hanneline Smit
(Conservation)
Birdlife South Africa Carolyn Shene-Verdoorn
(Advocacy)
Birdlife South Africa Dr. Ross Wanless
Birdlife South Africa Joe Peru
(Education)
Bisley Valley Nature Reserve
Chris
 
Bramleigh Manor Roger & Bettina
Kauerauf
Buckham Birding Mike
Cape Birding Route Marje Hemp
(Info)
Cape Birding Route Callan Cohen
(MD)
Durban Botanic Gardens Christopher Dalzell
(Curator)
Giant's Castle Nature Reserve Bookings
Greater Limpopo Birding  
Hardaker Trevor & Margaret
Hardaker
Highover Wildlife Sanctury  
Hlatikulu Vlei  
Karkloof Conservation Centre  
Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve  
Kestreling Anthony
Korongo Valley Guest Farm  
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve  
Letaka Safaris  
New Germany Nature Reserve  
Tsikeni Nature Reserve  
Wild 5 Adventures Paul
Palmiet Nature Reserve  
Shongweni Resources Reserve  
Southern Kwazulu Natal
Birding Routes
 
Springbrook Farm Doug & Trish Strachan
Southerland Farm Barry Cole
Tala Game Reserve Stuart Hilcove
Terlings Farm Marilyn and Ivan Revesz
The Uvongo (VUNGU)
River Nature Reserve
 
Tillietudlem  
Tree Routes
André Oberholzer
Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve  
Zest For Birds John Graham
Africa unlimited  
African Safari Adventures Tracey
Birding Africa  
Birding Safaris  
Birding Weto  
Birds & Beyond  
Birding Adventure
Kori Bustard
Kori Bustard
Here is some FIND A KORI BUSTARD info for you..

Go on... do some outdoorsy stuff.

Click on MORE...
Kori Bustard

 


Did you know.... the Kori Bustard is the heaviest flying bird? 

It is one of over 800 bird species
hosted in South Africa. 

What to look out for:

This bird is mostly grey in colour
A black crest on its head
Yellowish legs

 Info not obtained from Chappies paper or 2011                                          Christmas Cracker                                                                                                    


A very interesting detail about this
Bustard is that it is often accompanied by
Bee-Eater birds – riding on their backs.

  Such a nice symbiotic relationship
  (a big word for a three-year old). 

The Bustard – being the big and heavy bird it is –
kinda avoids flying, and forages mostly
on the ground for seeds and lizards,
which make up most of its diet. 

This is where the Bee-Eaters benefit most,
as they catch the insects disturbed by the
Bustard’s wandering.

 

The big bird stands about 120 cm tall – for those who are compromised in judging the height,
like me, stack a ruler about 4 times. 
A wingspan of about 230 to 275 cm?
This is a BIG bird, people. 
(Measurements of a grown male bird). 

Like all Bustards, Kori Bustards have
polygamous breeding habits. 
(Loosely meaning having many wives). 

The male attracts several females and mates with them all.

He then leaves the females to care for the young by themselves.

The females build a nest on the ground and incubate the eggs. 

Sound familiar? 
The Bustard. Only joking.

 

In Afrikaans, these birds are known as  "Gompou". 

Directly translated into English: Glue-Peacock?

Interesting. 

Check out the chicks on the right - they don't look anything like mom or dad. 

Maybe they were switched at birth.

 


Aaag Shame...


 



So next time you are out there in the wild, in savannah grasslands or grassy river banks, look out for our friend. 

They are so big, you might even spot them without a set of binocs. 

Cool!

We don’t want this to sound like a school assignment, although you
are welcome to use it as one. 

We also don’t want to learn the Latin
names of birds. 

We are not scientists, we are beginner-birders.

Should you be an Ornithologist, or a
professor in bird species, and you
feel we share inaccurate
information, please let us know and we
will gladly rectify. 

And then let Google know so they can
update their info straightaway.

 


See, this is how he attracts his brides. 

Before anyone wants to sue –
we sincerely thank all the
photographers who painstakingly
and unselfishly spend time in the
great outdoors,
hour after hour waiting for the
prefect shot of this magnificent bird,
posting it on the Internet,
so we can find the pics and share it with you,
our visitor.


Spotted in Kgalagadi!

Very nice photography going
on here Johannes!




www.birdfinders.co.uk

www.silvermistresort.co.za


CLEM HAAGNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY 

www.sciencephoto.com

www.milwickiphotogallery.com 

www.biodiversityexplorer.org



Links you might want to check out.
Got a lot of our pics from here.
 


 

Quick tip: just to help out as we are not expert birders yet.

The bird on the left?  Should you spot one of these, you can be sure it is NOT a Kori Bustard.

Should you spot one of these, call National Geographic immediately.  This bird has been extinct for a LOOOONG time.




"Go Camp.  Go Birding.  Take it Outdoors".
Yours truly,
Vanessa Stols

 
Binoculars
If you want to find a bird with Binocs, read this article to find out How...
MORE......
              

It's about birds.  It's for the birds.

Binoculars are one of the handiest and most widespread of all optical instruments. Virtually anyone who spends much time outdoors owns
(or should own) a pair of binoculars. They are almost a necessity
for the birder, hunter, fisherman, boater, sports fan, experienced traveller. Space cadet.

 
     


How to choose Binoculars for Birding:

Ok, first of all:  if you are an experienced birder and you are
reading this, stop.  You know it already...

 


This feature is dedicated to those of us who have no idea where
to start when it comes to Binocs, and even less when it comes to  birding.  We want you to go out and buy a pair of Binocs for
birding, but we want you to go shop with gusto, self-confidence
and knowledge.  Even if it is Binocs education grade R standard. 
It is still better than not knowing the front from the back. 
(Do Binocs have front and backs?).

 

        
   

First Numbers:

On all binoculars, you’ll find two numbers with a cross between them, for example

8x30, 7x21, 8x40.

The first number is the magnification, so an 8x pair will magnify
eight times, or make things look eight times closer.   

However, the higher the number does not mean the better the binoculars will be for bird- watching. With a high first number,
it will be more difficult to hold it steady.

For birding, it is not advised to go higher than 10x at the
very most. In fact, you might feel more comfortable with 8x. 

Many are of the opinion that variable-power (Zoom) binoculars should be avoided as they don’t let enough light in for bird-watching.

The field of view (FOV) is the width of the view at a particular distance. Generally speaking the greater the magnification, the narrower the field of view.

FOV becomes especially important when you are following
fast moving objects (such as birds), or running mammals
(like a cheetah chasing its prey).  In this case, do not consider magnification greater than 8x.  

Fast moving things cannot be followed easily if your
magnification is too big.

 

Second Numbers:

The second number is the width of the largest lens in millimetres, called the objective lens.

In our examples, these numbers would be x30, x21 and x40.

So an 8x30 magnifies eight times and has an objective lens
30mm in diameter.

The larger the objective lens, the more light the binoculars let in and, usually, the more of any scene you have in view. 
(If you lost us; the higher the second number,
the more light it lets in).

The larger the objective lens, the heavier the set tends to be.
This means that an 8x30 is better in dull weather or at night than
an 8x21, and it’s easier for finding and following individual birds.

 

"If you don't get it right, you might get spotted and end up on Google.  Or more importantly - ON CAMPING IS FUN!  Scream!"


 

Near and Far:

How close a binocular focuses depends on how it is made rather than on its power. Try focusing as close as possible in the shop and see if you think it’s close enough. 

While you’re looking at focusing, see how far you have to turn the central wheel to get the image sharp for different distances.
The less you have to turn it the better because it makes
finding and following birds easier and quicker.

 

Feeling Comfortable:

It is important to try ‘em out in the shop.

Make sure you can look through them with both eyes at once without strange black shapes looming at the side of your vision.

Some binoculars don’t fold closely enough together.  
It might be the make and model, not you… consider it.

What you see should be in a sharp, black circle, without any unusual colours around the edges of what you are looking at.

The image should be clear right to the edge. 
Have you noticed when someone looks through binocs in the movies there are TWO black circles? Huh?

                  


Make sure you can reach the central focusing wheel comfortably so you can follow flying birds. The set you buy should feel well-balanced in your hands.

We don’t want to put you off – being a beginner birder and all -
you may carry your binoculars all day, so buy a light pair
if you can.

Check the strap… most straps are too long, and many are so thin you might end up decapitated before the sun goes down.  Find out about replacement straps.

 

      

         

Where to buy:

Wherever you go, make sure the sales-dude knows about birding.  Buy from a specialist store.  Many outdoor shops and camping stores stock binoculars.  Remember the brands. 

What to buy:
Wherever you go, make sure the sales-dude knows to point out the following brands:

Celestron, Leica, Minolta, Nikon, Pentax, Steiner, Swarovski, and Zeiss.

Because they have spent decades earning a reputation for high-quality optical products, and they are unlikely to produce a clearly inferior product.

Binoculars, Bifocals & Eyeglasses:

With practice, it’s easy for eyeglass and even bifocal
wearers to use binoculars with your glasses on—after all,
you don’t want to miss quick-flying birds in the second or two it takes to remove or push up your glasses.

Whether you have progressive bifocals or ones with a line,
or even if you have trifocals, your eyes will quickly adjust
to looking through the glasses and the eyepieces to get a clear look if you match the right binoculars with the right eyewear.

 


If you wear eyeglasses, make sure to choose a set with
enough eye relief. 

Should this leave you perplexed…  the things you put your eyes against when looking through binoculars should be big enough to accommodate your eyeglasses. 

The eye relief is the optimal distance between your eye and the eyepiece (combination of lenses at the viewing end of your binoculars).

When your eyes are either too close or too far away from the eyepieces, you cannot see the whole picture and part of the
image is blacked out. 

For people wearing glasses, it is advised to have an eye relief of at least 15 mm (not applicable for people with good eyesight).

 

          

Quick Facts:
  • For bird viewing, use binoculars with a magnification of 8x maximum (8 x 42 for better results).
  • For general animal spotting and optimal game viewing (or when you need to scan the horizon), consider buying 10 x 50 safari binoculars.
Binoculars
 
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