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How many birds on your list

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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onewithnature
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby onewithnature » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:34 am

Thank you Johan! And thanks too for explaining in depth. :clap: :clap: It is what I suspected; I asked because someone else (supposedly knowledgeable on such things) suggested the >1000 list was feasible. Amazing that that pair of experts has chalked over 900. :big_eyes: I see, though, that there are indeed several people in the 800-900 range, but obviously to add another lifer to this list requires proportionately much more effort, and possibly luck, as the list grows.
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:20 pm

onewithnature wrote: I see that there are indeed several people in the 800-900 range, but obviously to add another lifer to this list requires proportionately much more effort, and possibly luck, as the list grows.


Generally it becomes hard work once you get to around 500 ticks as you have then exhausted all the "commoner" and abundant birds. The higher up the list you move, the more carefully you have to plan your trips that are specifically aimed at adding to your life list. "Twitching" also starts to play a major role. "Twitching" refers to the activity of chasing a specific bird (normally a rare one at this stage in his/her birding "career") found somewhere in the region. You are right about the luck part... I have often "dipped" (not managed to see) on a target bird and in some instances it took me up ten attempts before that species stayed put long enough for me to get to see it. The most recent "twitch" where I "dipped" took place only last week when I missed the black-tailed godwit at Marievale by mere minutes! (150 km one-way...)

The part that compels us to keep on trying are those other twitches that are successful. I can write a whole essay about the thrill of those encounters!

An added bonus is normally that those twitches are shared with other birders, some old acquaintances; some new... either way is a great opportunity to make new friends or run into old mates!
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby onewithnature » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:43 am

Johan, you speak about your encounters with such enthusiasm and emotion that it is sheer delight reading your input. :clap: :clap: I can only imagine how frustrating it is knowing a bird is there, but unable to see it skulking around. It is just as frustrating identifying a lifer by its call, but then also being unable to find it. :roll: And, sometimes, I hear a bird ringing out loudly and clearly but, no matter how hard I strain my eyes, I just cannot find it. Many of them are masters at camouflage; only once, for example, did we see a Scops Owl lurking against a thick branch while driving past - usually they are almost impossible to find (except those famous ones at Afsaal and Satara). What I find works is not to get my hopes up too much; then every sighting is a bonus. Easier said than done sometimes, though. :doh: I see you're closing in on 650 on your lifer list, Johan. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:14 am

So, onewithnature, when do we make a bird lister out of you? Do I have to sell the thrill of the lifer some more? :lol:
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Scipio » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:31 am

Hallo Johan, this is a very interesting question raised. :thumbs_up: Why is the Northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and sofala et. in Moz. excluded from Southern Africa as it is a "Southern African country, and what effect might that have on the numbers. :hmz:

It does span a different area, but is it seen as Central rather. :thumbs_up:

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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:38 am

An interesting question, Scipio, one that is difficult to answer!

I know that an intricate set of rules govern the major birding areas of the world. The American Birding Association keeps the ground rules. However, these do not subdivide the African continent. I have no idea how that division was done, but I think that publishers (or even writers of guides) adhere to specifically the Southern boundaries for the sake of conformity. But there is no reason why one couldn't publish a fieldguide that would deal e.g. with all the birds found in the Southern African Development Community (SADC: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). That would mean a break with tradition and goodness knows who would notice and what the reaction would be.

Currently Africa is divided into the Southern, Eastern, Western, Central and Northern birding regions and, except for the Southern birding region that seems to stick to the rule of the two rivers Cunene and Zambezi as the northern border, the birdguides for the other regions tend to deal with what they find "convenient". I found that as a result, northern Moz does get to be a stepchild...

The second part of your question about the effect the inclusion of N Moz would have on the birding numbers of Southern Africa is another tough one to answer. I am by no means qualified to give that answer as all of my African birding has been done south of the LIMPOPO and ORANGE! :lol:

However, having used Google extensively for this exclusive purpose for the last two hours, I'd guess that it would add maybe another 20 - 40 birds. There is a difference of about 90 birds between northern and southern Moz lists, but many of the birds that are exclusively northern Moz are found in Zimbabwe. However, to get a better feel for this number, I can ask Niall and Lizet to give us their take on your question as both of them frequently visit Moz.
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:15 am

Johan van Rensburg wrote:The second part of your question about the effect the inclusion of N Moz would have on the birding numbers of Southern Africa is another tough one to answer. I am by no means qualified to give that answer as all of my African birding has been done south of the LIMPOPO and ORANGE! :lol:


It is about time we birded together again Joh, and since you have never been to Kgalagadi......
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:22 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:
It is about time we birded together again Joh, and since you have never been to Kgalagadi......


In your dreams, BB!

Kgalagadi is my second most favourite NP! However, I have only been there on three occasions! Can do with many more visits... so take it from there! :lol:
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:40 pm

Er...Joh...Kgalagadi is north of the Orange river..... :roll:
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:07 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:Er...Joh...Kgalagadi is north of the Orange river..... :roll:



Kinda difficult to make the jump from the Kunene to the Orange... One tends to forget the bit up to Union's End!

Suffice to say then that all my African birding have been confined to areas south of the RSA's northern borders! :redface:

Now, about the start of that other conversation...
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:26 pm

..... then your lifer list is pretty impressive. :thumbs_up:
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby onewithnature » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:39 pm

Johan van Rensburg wrote:So, onewithnature, when do we make a bird lister out of you? Do I have to sell the thrill of the lifer some more? :lol:


No, Johan, you're a great salesman - you could sell pap to a rural, never mind birds to a duckling. :thumbs_up: The problem is twofold. Firstly, I find finding an annoying bird quite - well, annoying; so tend to give up too many times. Secondly, I can't remember accurately what birds I have seen and what is wishful thinking. :roll: However, since MM has suggested she might be submitting a list, I think I may one day begin annotating. (She'll probably eviscerate me for this.) Let me dwell on the starting line some more, but you will be the first to know when the race begins in earnest.
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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby walt3 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:18 pm

Long time, no post ! My total for the end of 2012 is 536. Target for 2013 ? 550 !

525. Mosque Swallow - KNP
526. Red-faced Cisticola - KNP
527. Bradfield’s Swift - De Aar
528. Pale-winged Starling - De Aar
529. Lark-like Bunting - De Aar
530. Fairy Flycatcher - De Aar
531. Tractrac Chat - Namib-Naukluft
532. Greater Sand Plover - Walvisbay
533. Lesser Honeyguide - Pafuri
534. Black-throated Wattle-eye - Pafuri
535. Bearded Scrub-robin - Punda Maria
536. Sedge Warbler - Kgomokgomo

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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby mel123 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:59 pm

I added Red-billed teal and White-throated swallow during a visit to the Free State, but I'm done for 2012.
Total 226.

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Re: How many birds on your list

Unread postby huntsman » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:49 am

Wakkerstroom. What a place to bird! :cam:

I visited as a young novice in 2002 and returned as a middle aged novice last week, accompanied by my wife and two post-matric children. We stayed in a self catering spot called Vleikant, which was wonderful, well priced and indeed situated on the vlei's kant!

Anyone knowing the area will know that Red-chested Flufftail is high on the list of 'sought-afters', but despite many searches, nothing, nil, nada.

Grassbirds, however, went a little better and I managed to finally hit the 450 mark with Spike-heeled Lark, Cuckoo Finch, Common Quail (yes, I know!) Eastern Clapper Lark and of course the larks of Messrs Botha and Rudd.

Norman, the bird guide from Birdlife SA was essential to this count. I nailed seven very definites, only because of his direction and info.
Last edited by huntsman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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