The prize giving was held between courses of the wonderful dinner that was provided. After the starter, the ‘wooden spoonists’ were announced. I sat nervously waiting for our team name to be called,
but it wasn’t. The team that propped up the log all received booklets on ‘Better Bird Identification”, and as I later found out, had a total of 79.
Thereafter, we all tucked into the beef stroganoff and/or roast chicken dishes. Next it was the best school team, who thanked Oom Tony, (the forum’s Tony T) for being such a good guide. Well done Oom Tony!
When the competition winners were announced, it was a tie! The adjudicator was Professor Phil Hockey, co author of the Sasol bird books, and Head of Ornithology at UCT. A more qualified judge would be hard to find. Phil decided that the best top 5 birds seen would win it, and that both teams had got 106. 106! And we had 105!
The competitive half of me was disappointed that we didn’t go looking around the restaurant in the final half hour for a couple more species, but given the strength of our team, the other half was thrilled that we had come within a whisker of matching some very good teams.
I was surprised when Phil announced that the pale chanting goshawk that most teams saw was chosen as the best ‘rarity’.
I asked him afterwards about our 2 submissions, firstly the osprey with a fish in its talons, and he replied that ospreys eat fish normally, and then the lesser kestrels, and he was doubtful about them, because they usually are seen in large groups not pairs, and assumed they were rock kestrels. PCGs he said were not usually found in the park although locally fairly common, as were blue crane, also submitted and a contender.
After a lovely evening, having done my best to prevent left overs, and having planned ahead for 2 weeks of the beverage people say should be drunk weekly for health reasons, I turned in for the night to the mild sounds of those who had 'planned weeks ahead' and were already asleep.