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 Post subject: Re: Birding Night Drives
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:00 pm 
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DotDan, I think your idea is a brilliant one.
I would certainly take advantage of a night birding drive.
Maybe this could be tried at one camp, like Punda or Shingwedzi, to see how popular it is.
A camp offering this may draw people just for that opportunity.
Special dawn birding drives would also be good, as in a well-guided group you are sure to see things you would miss on your own.


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 Post subject: Re: Birding Night Drives
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:12 am 
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Ever heard of Kruger's Big Birding weekends? ... That will give perspective to you regarding what can be achieved from a drive primarily geared to birding.

And BTW, a BBW probably packs in 6 to 8 hours of expert-guided bird viewing during the hours of darkness! (Not to mention the 16 hours plus during daylight) And that at extremely affordable prices... :wink:

I also have to emphasise what a number of contributors to this thread have already said... if you let the ranger know before hand that you have a specific interest in birding they will first of all accommodate you and secondly they will surprise you with their knowledge of the birds.

Just as recently as last week Laksman, Skopsie and I booked for the sunset drive at Punda.
We found ourselves as the only guests on board the bush vehicle with Tsepho, our ranger, :dance: and could therefore truly concentrate on birding.
What happened? :lol: We stopped at a great sighting of a young leopard male, and checked out some kudu, impala, a carnivourless buffalo carcass, snakes and Pundaroos as well during our "nocturnal birding trip"... Apart from witnessing a great aerial pennant-winged nightjar display (seeing both male and female birds), we also stopped at the more obliging (from a photographic PoV) white-faced scops owl...

Image
Large view

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Large view

Generally, when on a "big 5" night drive I have never shied away from letting the ranger know that I would like to stop at nocturnal birds and actually insisted on him stopping.
He soon got the message... "Big 5" fans on the same drive had huge appreciation for my passion and actually enjoyed what the ranger had to tell them about each sighting.

So, if it is a "birding" night drive, or a "big 5" night drive, all of Kruger's offerings should still be enjoyed...

My point is that I will certainly make use of a night drive geared to birds if it is offered eventually, but in the meantime I do not feel let down with the attention afforded the birds on a "big 5" drive after having made my request to the ranger.
On the odd occasion (like with my mates and I at Punda), an impromptu birding night drive is quite possible.
If you have enough interest from fellow birders, you will be able to even arrange such an excursion by booking out a whole vehicle! :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Birding Night Drives
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:01 am 
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DotDan wrote:
In the south that will NEVER be the case.


Unless you drum up enough support to book a whole 8-seater... I am sure you'll be able to arrange something then...

DotDan wrote:
Lets take the focus away from solely night drives.. Wouldn't you say that there is definitely a demand/market for more birding activities within the park?


Another YES. But I want to elaborate... I would love to see a guided walk along the Luvuvhu, similar to what they do at Olifants, maybe starting from and ending at the Pafuri picnic spot...

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger Birding Activities
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:37 am 
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DotDan wrote:
JVR, maybe you will know better than me, but wouldn't a guy like Frank at Pafuri be perfect for such a function (guiding birding walks)?


He'd be purrfect as a guide though (especially if he passes the ranger skills bit about being able to protect my body with a rifle)...

About on-foot photography... it is a moot point considering what we are talking about now as there is no way of getting to these places (Olifants River walk and the proposed Luvuvhu walk) in any sort of a vehicle... But generally speaking, if you can get everyone in a birding party to stay while you stalk and you make your movements slow, quietly and deliberate, birds will remain put for amazingly close encounters.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger Birding Activities
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:25 pm 
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I was just thinking about bird drives, when I found this thread.

I have found the field guides do point out owls, nightjars etc on the later drives but don't really concentrate on birds on the daytime drives (understandable).

A daytime drive, with an experienced birder, would be wonderful.

I am fairly knowledgeable on birds and have done a LBJ course, but would still like to go out with someone who really knows his/her birds.We have just about cracked the raptors - with a few guesses, but the LBJs are still a problem. An experienced birder would really help!!

I know outside people offer birding weekends in KNP but they become a bit pricey. I'm sure there would be takers for a birding drive, say alternate days or so.

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 Post subject: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:56 pm 
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I would just like to question why there is no additional effort being put into "avitourism" especially in the Kruger Park, where there are about 500 species of birds to find and see. In the latest July 2012 Africa Birds and Birding magazine, Peter Borchert mentions that as there are so many birds to see, it could be a serious money spinner for SANParks to promote the avitourism possibilities in the Kruger by supplying qualified bird guides within the rest camps as well as in the greater park, as well as erecting additional bird hides.

As an avid bird photographer and regular visitor to the Kruger, I can attest to the lack of facilities geared towards birding. Lake Panic hide is a prime example of the number of visitors interested in the local birdlife and I have never seen the "Lake Panic" hide empty, and usually people have to wait for places to sit and view.

It would be appreciated if SANParks and any other interested parties commented on this post as I honestly feel that this opportunity is going to waste, especially the lack of additional bird hides at rivers/water holes etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Hi Micheal
Quote:
In response to a recent stakeholder needs
assessment in-line with the tourism objectives for Kruger NP, potential areas for naturebased
non-motorised and motorised tourism activities (such as wilderness camping,
overnight trails, bird hides,

KNP zonation System

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 Post subject: Re: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:37 am 
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I have to agree with MichaelM. Much more can be done to encourage "avitourism".

E.g. in all the many night drives that I have participated in, only one (at Punda Maria) was done by a guide/ranger who had any interest in birds and who went out of her way to allow the birders on the drive to look at owls and night jars. The worst experience was at Satara, where the driver (I don't want to call him a "guide" or "ranger" with his lack of interest in the wildlife), drove off when he heard that we called "stop" to look at an owl or night jar :evil: . Most are in-between - where the guide will allow a minute or two to look at a bird, but then drive off because he himself has no interest.


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 Post subject: Re: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:50 am 
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Dabchick, you have brought up a very important point. There is a need and training is essential.

There has been a very mixed response on the Sanparks tourist questionairre, but this is exactly the kind of information that is needed for future planning.

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 Post subject: Re: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:54 am 
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In all the 35 years we've been visiting KNP, we have never found a guide on a game drive who was very interested in birding. The biggest let-down was last December when we booked a trip at Punda, and was forced to go with a stand-in as the regular guide was late getting back to camp with a group of people doing the sunset drive. This man even fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road, didn't stop for anything.
We were 6 birders on the vehicle, looking to find Pennantwinged Nightjar, (a lifer for all of us) but this guy had no clue, no interest and no control over his truck.
There should be trained bird guides and a special vehicle in each camp just for birding enthusiasts, who would dearly love to stop for owls, nightjars, etc, instead of being ignored in the quest for lions and leopards. The avitourism industry is huge, and largely being ignored by Sanparks, and only the private people, who often charge an arm and a leg for tours, have seen the opportunity to offer birding tours in and around the park.

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 Post subject: Re: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:11 am 
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wildtuinman wrote:
I don't know if you get anything bigger than SANP's Big Birding Weekends. Now if that is not pure avitourism then I don't know. :roll:


Yes, but a lot of visitors won't know about those weekends.........especially overseas ones.
We will book our stay in the park, and it most probably wouldn't coincide with a Big Birding Weekend, therefore it would be great if there could be drives specifically for birders, or at least with drivers who are knowledgeable about birding, and allow time to stop at bird sightings as well as the bigfive.

Where do I find out about SANparks Big Birding weekends please? :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:18 pm 
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Crested Val wrote:

Where do I find out about SANparks Big Birding weekends please? :hmz:


They are run by the Honorary Rangers so have a look on their board here

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 Post subject: Re: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:04 am 
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Rooies wrote:
Unfortunately there are people that have got no interest in birds at all. Some would even go as far as telling a guide to please move on when the guide stopped to look at birds. "Ag man, it is just a *&^$#* small little bird, where are the lions?? " were the words. You can't pick your crowd when going on a game drive, unless you book and pay for all the seats yourself. If there is a dedicated 'bird' vehicle, marked as such, it will discourage the 'big fivers' to get on board.


That is what was so nice about the one Punda night drive. There were four of the smaller game drive vehicles ready to go, and before any one got on, a clear announcement was made that the birders should "go with the lady" :D (That vehicle was packed, but everyone got excited over night jars and owls, so it was perfect!)


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 Post subject: Re: Avitourism in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:45 am 
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There is an outstansing request on this thread for more information on Honorary Rangers Avi-Tourism events primarily in Kruger but also in the other parks.
Firstly the Kruger SASOL/HR weekends in January and February 2013 for which I am told there are still some places at Mopani, Letaba, Olifants, Talamati and Shingwedzi.
At present there are available space at:
25-27 January 2013
1. Mopani Camp (Mopani often gets bad press because it is felt that the mopane woodland and scrublands do not hold as much wildlife as the thornveld of further south, but birding wise the area is excellent and offers a real chance of black coucal, white-backed night-heron, Montagu’s and pallid harrier, Caspian plover and many other juicy things in the NShawu Pan/Tropic of Capricorn strip)
2. Letaba Camp (Collared Pratincole, Green-capped Eremomela, Greater Painted-Snipe, African Barred Owlet are some of the highly probable ticks one can see in or from camp and Sooty Falcon has been recorded in recent summers)
3. Olifants (Pel’s Fishing Owl, White-backed Night-Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, Black Coucal are some of the more exciting records from previous Birding Weekends)

8-10 February
1. Shingwedzi – (The formerly resident Collared Palm-Thrushes seem to have disappeared, but given the high density of Lala Palms along the river that might be a transient thing, and several other rare vagrant species have been recorded over the years along the Shingwedzi – like red-footed falcon, Palmnut Vulture and the park’s only record of an augur buzzard!)
2. Talamati (groups of 4 only) – (one of the best areas to get Senegal Lapwing and many other grassland specials of the park’s central region)
For details of the weekend go to:
http://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/event ... andbirding
or
http://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/west- ... on?start=3
If you want the booking form you have to click at the appropriate place on the above page.

The filled out booking form should be sent to :
westrandbirders@gmail.com.

Then a little sooner is the Punda Mania weekend in November. Not sure if there is still availability left on that, but Punda is a complete win for special birds.
Punda Mania Punda Maria Camp in Kruger National Park
http://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/event ... ndamania12

Other pending birding weekends in some of the other parks can be sussed at
West Coast National Park
http://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/event ... wader-bash
Southern Cape Parks (Garden Route NP and surrounding areas)
http://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/event ... nisbirding
Marakele National Park
http://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/event ... elebirding
Addo Elephant National Park
http://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/addo-region
Karoo National Park
http://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/event ... roobirding


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