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Special Announcement

Birdwatch magazine voted Birding Africa as one of the TOP 5 most recommended bird tour companies in the world. (See www.birdingafrica.com for more survey details.)

Hottentot’s Holland Day Trip

March 5, 2014

Birding Africa guide Ethan Kistler reports back on an excellent day birding around the Hottentot’s Holland mountains, finding 95 species.

Birding the Hottentot's Holland

On this beautiful and sunny midsummer’s morning, we met in Camps Bay and headed east along the scenic ocean drive. It promised to be windy but we were keen to see our target species.

We started at Rooiels and ticked off every species we had hoped for, including Cape Rockjumper, Ground Woodpeckers and a pair of magnificent Verreaux’s Eagles.

Orange-breasted Sunbird

In Betty’s Bay, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens provided excellent views of showy birds such as Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatchers, African Paradise Flycatchers, Swee Waxbills and this Orange-breasted Sunbird.

At the Stoney Point penguin colony we saw all coastal cormorants, African Oystercatchers, Cape Gannet and a surprise Giant Kingfisher.

African penguins at Stoney Point

Finally, at Strandfontein Water Works we added flamingos, various ducks and waders and an African Fish-Eagle, boosting our trip list to 95 species.

For details about Birding Africa day trips from Cape Town, please click here.

To enquire or to book, please email Amanda Kropman or phone +27 (0)83 270 7452.

The kids of Nyungwe Bird Club

January 1, 2014

Some of you may remember last August at the British Birdfair, when Marje Hemp & Callan Cohen of Birding Africa hosted a presentation of binoculars and East African field Guides to Narcisse Ndayambaje. (Click on this blog)

Narcisse is a specialist bird guide who set up the Nyungwe Kids Birdwatching Club five years ago.

He wanted train the guides of the future, so they could make their own sustainable income. And he wanted to prompt the local community to conserve and protect their forest.

Narcisse does this out of his generosity and passion for birds and education.

On Boxing Day, Marje and Jonathan Hemp met Narcisse Ndayambaje and 18 members of the club at the Gisakura Guesthouse to find out how they were getting along.

These excited young birders arrived kitted out with their backpacks, binoculars and East African field guides and keen to go on a bird outing.

Narcisse quickly arranged with the Nyungwe Park Manager so the group could join Marje and Jonathan on a field trip to Kamiranzovu Marsh.

They hired a taxi from the local village for a great afternoon birding at Nyungwe. This is Rwanda’s world famous montane forest with 26 Albertine Rift specials.
Red-faced Woodland Warbler (c) Narcisse Ndayambaje

The kids had to come to terms with difficult words: Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Ruwenzori Batis and Mountain Masked Apalis! And they recorded these sightings in their notebooks.

Guided by the ever patient Narcisse, they could observe these birds from the hide. What a great afternoon!

Thanks to the RSPB and African Bird Club who sponsored the binoculars and Nigel Redman for the East African Field guides. The club members very much appreciate these items.

Their dearest wish now is to visit other national parks in Rwanda such as Akagera and Volcanoes.


To like the bird club on Facebook, please visit https://www.facebook.com/nyungwekbw.club

New Trip Report: Ethiopia by Michael Mills

December 10, 2013

Michael Mills reports on our jam-packed 14-day Ethiopia tour: ‘ We found 515 bird species, including every Ethiopian and Eritrean endemic. We saw more than 20 Ethiopian Wolves, plus Mountain Nyala and Gelada Baboon and soaked up the dramatic scenery of East-Africa’s dazzling Rift Valley. Join us next April, just two places are left.’

Bird highlights included Blue-winged Goose near Addis; White-cheeked Turaco at Debre Libanos, Black-winged Lovebird at Jemma Valley and the localised Ankober Serin at Gemassa Gedel.

Boran Cisticola, Half-collared Kingfisher and Yellow-throated Seedeater entertained us in the lowlands. While Arabian and Hartlaub’s Bustard, Abdim’s Stork, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, Dusky Nightjar, perched Barbary Falcon and Somali Ostrich showed in around Awash.

The Rift Valley immersed us with thrilling scenery and Wondo Genet with likes such as Abyssinian Woodpecker, Thick-billed Raven, Narina Trogon, Ethiopian Oriole and Yellow-fronted Parrot, until Spot-breasted Lapwing and Abyssinian (Long-eared) Owl welcomed us in the Bale Mountains.

In the Bale Mountains Ethiopian Wolf stole the show, featuring more than 20 animals. We also watched Abyssinian Catbird, Ayres’s Hawk Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Saker Falcon, Moorland Francolin, Rouget’s Rail and Chestnut-naped Francolin.

Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco (photo) and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill excited us en route to Negelle, where we had great views of Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar and Sidamo Lark.

En-route to Yawello, some of the most memorable birds included White-tailed Swallow and Stresemann’s (or Ethiopian) Bushcrow (photo).

Click here to continue to the trip report to find out what else they saw.

Join Michael Mills in Ethiopia from 5 to 20 April 2014. Two places left.

Email Marje Hemp info@birdingafrica.com or phone +27 21 531 6405 to enquire or receive the tour details.

A quick update from our three Madagascar bird tours

November 24, 2013

Callan has just finished an incredible two-week natural history tour of Madagascar and his next birding tour starts tomorrow! He met up with Michael Mills and the other Birding Africa group at Andasibe a few days ago where we shared some good stake-outs, including a Madagascar Sparrowhawk nest — and this Madagascar Crested Ibis too. Will post more pics later, but here’s a Jewel Chameleon and a Painted Gecko from a night walk last week.

Madagascar Crested Ibis on a Birding Africa Madagascar tour

Jewel Chameleon on a Birding Africa Madagascar tour

Painted Gecko on a Birding Africa Madagascar tour

Ortolan Bunting in Namibia – a first for southern Africa!

November 16, 2013

Claire Spottiswoode has just sent a photograph of an Ortolan Bunting, photographed a few days ago in Namibia by Paul Donald.

Paul has just arrived back in email contact in Luderitz and reports that the bunting, which would represent a first for southern Africa, was briefly on the verandah at NamibRand Family Hideout (which is here: 25°17’14.12″S 16° 4’5.45″E) on 13 Nov 2013 at about 9.20 am. It only stayed for about 10 seconds and he could not relocate it.

He can’t download the photo off his camera while travelling so this is a screen grab off the camera, sent from his iPod. Good luck if any of you are considering try to relocate it!

all the best
Callan

Ortolan Bunting, NamibRand, Namibia, (c) Paul Donald

New Trip Report: Uganda and Rwanda

August 31, 2013

Our journey through Uganda and Rwanda this month was once again a resounding success, with great views obtained of the four main target birds: Shoebill at Mabamba Swamp, Green-breasted Pitta at Kibale, Grauer’s Broadbill at Mabwindi Swamp in Bwindi and Red-collared Mountain Babbler at Nyungwe, Rwanda. We logged a total of just over 530 bird species, including heard-onlys.

Here follows the summary of the trip and the link to the full trip report.

Green-breasted Pitta photographed on this BIrding Africa tour © Andrew de Klerk

Green-breasted Pitta photographed on this Birding Africa tour © Andrew de Klerk

Our standard ‘Uganda Specials’ tour was supplemented with a quick pre-tour loop through the lower-altitude forests of Budongo and savannas of Murchison Falls, adding substantially to our species list. Our Specials tour also took in the endemics of the lofty Albertine Rift forests and various other habitats en route. During the two weeks we visited wetlands at Lake Victoria’s Mabamba Swamp, Lake Bunyoni and the Nyabarongo River in Rwanda, mid-altitude forests at Kibale and “The Neck” of Bwindi, grasslands and savannas at Queen Elizabeth, and montane forests at Bwindi and Rwanda’s Nyungwe. Some of the group also opted to spend a day tracking Eastern Gorillas.

Besides the four biggies, other highlights included Ituri Batis, Nahan’s Partridge, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Black Bishop, Cardinal Quelea, Puvel’s Illadopsis and Brown Twinspot in the Budongo area; Heuglin’s Francolin, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Red-winged Grey Warbler and Shelley’s Sparrow at Murchison Falls; Lesser Jacana, Long-toed Lapwing, Blue Swallow, Weyns’s Weaver and Orange Weaver at Mabamba Swamp, Papyrus Gonolek nearby, Speckle- breasted Woodpecker and White-winged Swamp Warbler en route to Kibale, Toro Olive Greenbul, Grey Parrot, Joyful Greenbul, Thick-billed Cuckoo and White-collared Oliveback at Kibale, Senegal Lapwing and White-tailed Lark at Queen Elizabeth, Swamp Nightjar and Red- throated Wryneck en route to Bwindi, Many-coloured Bushshrike and Grey-headed Sunbird at “The Neck”, Handsome Francolin, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Grauer’s Warbler, Doherty’s Bushshrike, Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s Rush Warbler and Dusky Crimsonwing at Ruhija, Papyrus Yellow Warbler and Carruther’s Cisticola at Lake Bunyoni, Ruaha Chat en route to Nyungwe, Mountain Buzzard, Red-throated Alethe, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Equatorial Akalat, Dwarf Honeyguide, Kungwe Apalis, Willard’s Boubou, African Broadbill, Lagden’s Bushshrike, Neumann’s Warbler and Purple-breasted Sunbird at Nyungwe and Papyrus Canary at the Nyabarongo wetlands.

Mammal highlights were Chimpanzee at Budongo, Leopard in a tree at Murchison Falls, Central African Red Colobus and Grey-cheeked Mangabey (Uganda Mangabey) at Kibale, Leopard beside the road in Queen Elizabeth, l’Hoest Monkey and Eastern Gorilla at Bwindi and Angola Pied Colobus at Nyungwe.

See the detailed trip report.

See the 2014 tour dates and prices.

To join Michael Mills in July and August 2014, please contact Marje Hemp: info@birdingafrica.com.

 

Back from the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland!

August 25, 2013

Thanks everyone for visiting our stand at the British Birdfair, and for attending Callan’s lecture on combining birding with the wildebeest migration in Tanzania. It was great to connect with new and old friends and talk about the exciting tours we have planned over the next year. A huge thanks to the birdfair team (including Tim Appleton, Martin Davis and everyone) for making it all happen! See you all next year…

Callan, Deirdre and Marje at the British birdfair

Callan, Deirdre and Marje at the British birdfair

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