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 Post subject: Should Kruger have bird watching drives/walks?
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:56 am 
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Nico wrote:
Shingwedzi shop ... a guy in the shop named Funny [he looks like Eddy Murphy]and he knows everything of birds ... he tell's us story's about birdlife. He is the best bird guide KNP could have but he isn't a guide but a shop staff member, unfortunately :(


Should Kruger start bird drives/walks as well as game drives? Most of the game drive guides have a quite limited bird knowledge.

Would there be a market for it? I would definitely go on one.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:09 am 
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Hi lam,

Not sure if this is what you mean ... but have a look at these links:

'Honorary Rangers' Birding Events

Birding Weekends in other Parks

Birding Pages

Kruger Birding Big Day

But if you mean contstantly ... like Nightdrives for Animals and a seperate Nightdrive for Birds as an example .. I think it will be a great idea.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:13 am 
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I have similary requested night drives specifically for owls and nightjars. Most of the guides I have been with on drives know their birds fairly well. But most of them guess nightjars. Would be great to have an expert guiding you on a nightjar tour. :D

I think that there is a market for it for specific groups. But it will have to be on special request and group bookings only to cover the costs. Mixed groups won't work! I am always amazed about how little interest there is for birds on guided drives in Kruger by tourists. :shock:

ld surely go on one. But I have to admit. No wonder who are with me on a drive. I try my outmost best to interest them on birds. I always ask the guide to stop at interesting birds and inform us more about it. I always make him stop, if he seems to have forgot. :twisted:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:35 am 
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It is difficult to manage if you don't do a group booking with everyone in the group having the same interests. Guides needs to cater for everyone's different interest and there are plenty of mix in the equation. Time also don't allow to cover all the different interests. 90% of tourists wants to see cats!

On a interest only basis this would work. But then also atleast 6 people or more should attentd to cover the costs.

On our trails, we all love birds, so in essence it becomes a birding trail.

When booking it as a whole group with the same interest you will be able to request your interest and therefore Kruger would be able to accomodate you accordingly.

In the meanwhile I'll dig up my old query to KNPSM and OWL and post the link here soon.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:43 am 
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Here you go.

Owl wrote:
With all the night drives and game walks, if you request tell the guide you have a passion for owls, they will try and oblige, and on the walks, some of the guides may know of daytime roosts.

On a night drive at Olifants the other day, we got the 2 park eagle-owls (spotted and Verreaux's [Giant]) and 3 nightjars (Fiery-necked, Square-tailed [Mozambique] and European).

However sometimes it is most rewarding to do a bit of nighttime reconnaisance in a camp, with a decent spotlight and as long as your not going to over do it and distress the birds, a sound recording. I've got 5 owls (verreaux's eagle, barred, barn, pearl-spotted and scops) and 2 nightjars (moz and f-n on a single night in Letaba before, while we found a European N roosting in a tree next to the shop there the other day (they perch horizontally along the branch). If you want more details of where each species tends to be seen in the camp let me know.

Other good venues for owls and nightjars include:
Satara - Scops, V.E., Barn Owls and Moz. Nightjar
Punda Maria is a good place to get Pennant-winged Nightjar
Biyamiti is great for Barred Owl
Mapunbubwe could give you just about every species of owl. On a night at Limpopo Tented Camp one can easily hear 5 species plua a couple of nightjar
Marakele's Tlopi Camp is good for freckled, fiery-necked and in summer rufous-cheeked nightjars plus barn, scops, pearlie and spotted eagle owl.
Kgalagadi is a great place to see Verreaux's Eagle, Scops and White-faced Owls roosting in the day time particularly at Mata Mata and Nossob while sundowner at Nossob Hide in summer is probably the best place to watch Rufous-cheeked Nightjars in action at close range as they use the spotlight to aid their insect capture (I've seen Sqaure-tailed do the same at Satara and the tents at Lower Sabie)
Nature's Valley is good for Wood Owl as surprisingly is Glen Reenen in Golden Gate.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:55 am 
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Wild@Heart wrote:
But if you mean contstantly ... like Nightdrives for Animals and a seperate Nightdrive for Birds as an example .. I think it will be a great idea.


Yes that is what I mean, and not necessarily only at night. Also bird walks. Birds walks are offered in quite a few of the KZN parks and I have gone on an excellent bird drive at Bonamanzi.

Jakkalsbessie wrote:
Just imagine going on a bird walk next to the Levuvhu or Sabie river or Olifants gorge etc... would be awesome. Some of us can really get some extra ticks on our lists :lol:


There are definitely areas suitable for bird walks.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:22 am 
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DinkyBird wrote:
For a start they should build on what Frank at Pafuri does at the moment. Promote him to a guide and allow him, with all the safety precautions provided on other walks, to take interested parties further out of the picnic area on a bird walk.


DB only registered fgasa guides can take people on guiding outings. Frank does not have that skills I think. You seem to suggest a daywalk at the Pafuri picnic spot? I like that idea!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:24 am 
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Jakkalsbessie wrote:
wildtuinman wrote:
But again people. It is not feasible to have a bird walk for only 2 people or so. You can convert any walk or drive into a bird specific activity if you request it. But you will need a group of at least 6 to make it feasible. I have had many bird specific activities due to us in the group having the same interest in birding.

I all honesty, very few people that visits the Park on a daily basis will be interested in an activity like this as they just want to see the big and hairy.


Ok but there really is some people out there with a big interest in birding... so lets say they organise (or give dates) for bird walks say 4 times or so in a year - or just during summer, then just like normal walking trails people from all over the world who wants to do something like this can decide which dates suites them and book. Even if you get 4 different couples (like is the case sometimes with walking trails) you'll know everyone is interested in birds. Different couples can also just broaden someone else's knowledge.
If this is managed just like walking trails i'm sure it can work. Even if they just start out with 2, and see how much interest there are and then increase it.
Just take the big birding weekend for instance... look how quickly it was booked out, and how many people they had to turn away...
...Then it will be over booked and people will lose out. I say if you want to do something like this put in a special request and gather a few friends, I'll even join in and go attend it. Much less fuss. :lol:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:27 am 
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wildtuinman wrote:
DinkyBird wrote:
For a start they should build on what Frank at Pafuri does at the moment. Promote him to a guide and allow him, with all the safety precautions provided on other walks, to take interested parties further out of the picnic area on a bird walk.


DB only registered fgasa guides can take people on guiding outings. Frank does not have that skills I think. You seem to suggest a daywalk at the Pafuri picnic spot? I like that idea!


With his knowledge he can write those exams tomorrow and get his accreditation. Well, maybe not, but you know what I mean. The accreditation is not an obstacle that cannot be tackled.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:43 am 
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Jakkalsbessie wrote:
wildtuinman wrote:
Then it will be over booked and people will lose out. I say if you want to do something like this put in a special request and gather a few friends, I'll even join in and go attend it. Much less fuss. :lol:


I know what you mean, but i've tried that when going on a walking trail.
Thing is the guides (although i think they really know their stuff) is not a true birder and were not that into birding as we were...
So to get spesialised walks you need a birder (say someone like Frank etc who can easily help id larks & pipits without guessing all the time) AND you need some other locations... Nyalaland is great for birding but i think there can be some other good birding spots as well.


BTW Does frank have experience with larks and pipits? I doubt. He seems to only know birds that he sees in the Pafuri area every day. I might be wrong, but 300 odd on his list seems to prove my statement.

Not to take anything away from Frank, but I think there are plenty of other much better experienced guides with knowledge of more wider spread birds that can organise a trip like this.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:31 am 
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Jakkalsbessie wrote:
Great idea, I would really also like something like this!
As WTM mentioned there is sometimes little or none info on birds on nightdrives etc... I also think the noise of the trucks scare away a lot of night birds and you can't really hear anything unless you stop.


Specific bird walks would be great. A good and simple opportunity are the campwalks. Birdlife is profolic and a good change to learn something worthwhile and everyone could attend this.

@Guides. People please correct me if i am wrong.
Shouldnt a guide in KPN know his/her stuff. Isnt that part of the job. One thing that still bothers me are the guides without binocs. On our morning walk we had to borrow ours to the guides to identify a immature fisheagle. I get the feeling that the guides dont have binocs. If that is the case how can you identify birds.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:40 am 
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I've mentioned it before but since we have this topic going I'll mention it again.

Frank has been used as an example, and I'm sure there are many more personnel with a keen interest in birding (think a person at Shingwedzi is mentioned in another thread).

As part of personnel management I think it will be in SANParks interest to try and get these guys onto a recognised bird-guiding course. Not only is value added to the individual, but also to SANParks. We are only a hand full of people on this Forum if the total number of visitors to Kruger is taken into account. This to me mean that many more people out there would be interested in guided birding activities. There are some birds you just battle to find while driving around and having a guide that can take you to likely spots will help a lot (One reason I'm doing guided bird walks at the reserves that cannot be mentioned we are visiting in 2 weeks).

People like Frank who most probably grew up in the area surrounding Kruger also know local stories about the birds occurring in the area that will add so much more to the Kruger Birding experience.

Sure, people like Frank only knows the birds in the area they stay and maybe not all the birds that occur in the rest of Kruger, but when birding in "his area" it does not matter if he knows the 4 birds that only occur around Lower Sabie.

Guided birding activities should be something you should be able to book in advance irrespective of the size of the birding party especially if it is a walk. I can see the reason behind fuel cost for maybe dictating party size when doing a drive.

Yes, there are Bird Tour operators doing trips to Kruger, but R4000 for 3 days is a bit much especially if I only want to go out for 1 morning.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:57 am 
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wildtuinman wrote:
Only 4 birds around LS? goliath heron, wire-tailed swallow, brown-headed parrot and what else? :lol:

What birding book do you use? Those birds occur in more place just than LS :P

You questioned Frank's knowledge of pipits. Have not find many of them around Pafuri yet, so that's why I said that if he "guides" around Pafuri in MHO I don't think he needs to know the pipits.

He just needs to know were to find Narina Trogon for all I care

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:57 am 
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I don't know if KNP already tried to work with bird guides but as long as I come into the park, I never had seen a sign or read something about organized bird watching, so when there is nothing like that, nobody will asked for it. Maybe KNP can give it a try but they have to advertise about it so that people will know.
The guy from the Shingwedzi shop is very good for the job and he wants to be a guide.
He is on a course now.
He is an open personality and absolutely not shy, something a lot of guides can't say. When you are in Shingwedzi, ask in the shop for "Phanny" and talk about birds with him, than you will know why I recommend this guy. :thumbs_up:

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Last edited by Nico on Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:28 am 
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wildtuinman wrote:
Odd name for an oke?

Lets see what KNP thinks of this? I have send a email to owl.

also mentioned this to Owl a month or so ago. Seems that the main thing will be to who will be doing the work when the guys are on courses and also who will do the work if they are walking about with birders.

I can see their point as it will mean they would have to create posts and employ new people, all coming down to the cost factor again.

Owl has sent letters to the relevant managers of these people in Kruger, so maybe he received some more info on this since a month or so ago.

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