First-ever Mountain Zebra National Park Sasol Birding Weekend
There is still time for novice and experienced birders to sign up for the first-ever Sasol Birding Weekend at Mountain Zebra National Park. The Park’s Honorary Rangers, who are organising the weekend, hope that this inaugural event will become an annual one.
Entries are still open for the weekend of birding and activities which will kick off in the Park’s restcamp on Friday 12 October.
Rhodes University’s Dr Dan Parker will deliver the opening talk on birding in the Park on Friday evening, followed by an optional guided night drive. Participants will embark on birding outings early on Saturday morning and round off the day with a prize-giving dinner, where some wonderful prizes including weekend getaways in national parks will be handed out.
The Park’s bird species list officially numbers 275 but it is possible that new species could be recorded on the weekend. Birders can hope to spot species such as Verreaux’s (Black) and Martial Eagle, Secretarybird, Blue Crane and Ludwig’s Bustard. Pale-winged Starling is conspicuous on the mountain plateau, while Pink-billed Lark and African Rock Pipit are less common. Grey-winged Francolin, Ground Woodpecker, Large-billed (Thick-billed) and Eastern Long-billed Lark, Cape and Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Mountain Wheatear (Chat) and Orange-breasted Rockjumper also occur. Wooded kloofs and acacia stands host species such as Red-fronted Tinker Barbet, Lesser Honeyguide, Red-throated Wryneck and Southern Tchagra.
One of the highlights of the weekend will be a star-gazing outing on Saturday night, led by astronomy experts. The Park offers some excellent star-gazing opportunities with its clear night skies and wide open vistas on the plateaus.
The birding weekend will officially end with a talk on the Park’s history and future on Sunday morning and participants will be free to enjoy the Park’s self-drive roads, walking trails and picnic sites for the rest of the day.
The Mountain Zebra National Park Birding Weekend costs R250 per person, excluding accommodation charges and the optional guided night drive. Interested birders should contact Willem Olivier on 083 702 5218 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
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