Friday, 31 May 2013

079 | ENJOY THE BIRD LIFE AT HOHENSTEIN LODGE

79


ENJOY THE BIRD LIFE AT HOHENSTEIN LODGE

BirdsConTour awards Hohenstein with a two bird rating

Photos and text by Stefan Rust
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)


Part of the attraction of Hohenstein Lodge is its bird life. The lodge, situated at the foot of the Erongo Mountains with its granite boulders near Omaruru, provides a fitting base to do some quality near-endemic birding.

Violet Wood-Hoopoe, Rüppell’s Parrot and Carp’s Tit can be offered. The calls of Herero Chat, Rockrunner and Rosy-faced Lovebird echo around you. A practical birding hide with a bird friendly water spot in place and a wetland area in front of the restaurant has been constructed to maximize the bird watching experience.

                                             

Birding at Hohenstein Lodge certainly delivers and memories will stay with you long after you left this birding hotspot.


Hohenstein Lodge improves the life of birds on its premises and offers their valued guests a good bird watching opportunity. In recognition hereof, BirdsConTour awarded this establishment with a two bird rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award. 

078 | FARM OMANDUMBA REINTRODUCES OSTRICH

78


FARM OMANDUMBA REINTRODUCES OSTRICH

BirdsConTour supports conservation of the ostrich, the Bird Of The Year 2013

Photos and text by Stefan Rust
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)


Omandumba is a protected farm belonging to Harald and Deike Rust. One of their goals is to reinstate the original biodiversity of the farm to offer their guests a broader spectrum of wildlife experience.

Since most game species roam freely on the farm, ostriches were absent for more than forty years. It had become apparent that the only way to get ostriches back onto their land would be through reintroduction. After quite some time of patience, Harald and Deike received two ostrich chicks, an accident separated them from their mother not too far away, and the reintroduction project kicked off, following a secure step by step method. For the first weeks they were kept in a smaller enclosure until they were becoming more stable. Thereafter the healthy chicks were allowed to move into a bigger but still safe kraal to be able to better sense the surrounding and to get customized with the smell, sound and landscape of their future environment. Now, about six months of successful care, they were released into a big paddock in nature next to the house and of such a size that Harald, Deike and their staff are having them in sight to monitor their well-being. Only a small portion of food is offered to encourage these non-flying birds to walk and search their own food in the wild.
The Rust family even took the initiative to remove almost all fences inside their farmland to give the wildlife free roaming access. Fences are often reason why ostriches are not surviving. When chased by enemies they get entangled in the fences and are easy prey for predators, whereas if the ostrich has the space to run, he can outrun a cheetah, given the case that the ostrich recognized the hunter in time.



Harald and Deike have displayed exceptional commitment to the conservation of Namibia’s bird of the year 2013, the common ostrich, and were recognized by BirdsConTour (Bird Conservation and Tourism) with a two bird rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award.


Saturday, 25 May 2013

083 | TRAVEL GIVES WINGS / REISEN VERLEIHT FLÜGEL

83


(Deutsch und / and English)

HELP SAVE OUR BIRDS, SUPPORT “TRAVEL GIVES WINGS”

BirdsConTour promotes bird friendly tourism

Photos by Judith Bigler Schmidli and Stefan Rust and text by Stefan Rust
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)


The traveler these days has a greater sense of awareness, is environmentally conscious and wants to support the nature where he or she is visiting in a direct or indirect way and to support this positive trend, BirdsConTour has launched the “Travel gives Wings” initiative.

    
Big and small travelers find fun and fulfillment during tours that are part of the "Travel gives Wings" initiative.

The main objective is, together with other tourism bodies, to offer the guest a tourism industry (incl. tours and establishments) that is in one or another way involved with bird conservation. This results in the traveler directly or indirectly supporting bird life with his visit.
Another objective is to promote this bird friendly tourism through various projects.

BirdsConTour advises tourism bodies on qualifying for a Bird & Birder Friendly Award with bird conservation and tourism (BirdsConTour).
More information about registering is available in the articles nr. 44, 61, 67 and 71 under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com or contact Stefan Rust tel. 00264 (0)81 129 8415, e-mail. birdscontour@iway.na


RETTE UNSERE VÖGEL, UNTERSTÜTZE “REISEN VERLEIHT FLÜGEL”

BirdsConTour fördert nachhaltigen Tourismus

Fotos und Text von Stefan Rust
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belong to Stefan Rust)


Immer mehr Reisende möchten mit ihrer Reise in direkter oder indirekter Form den Artenschutz fördern und deshalb hat BirdsConTour die Initiative „Reisen verleiht Flügel“ ins Leben gerufen.

    
Große und Kleine Reisende finden Spaß und Erfüllung auf Reisen die an der Initiative "Reisen verleiht Flügel" beteiligt sind.

Das Hauptziel beinhaltet, gemeinsam mit anderen Tourismusinstanzen, dem Gast eine Tourismusindustrie, diese beinhaltet den Tour- und Unterkunftsbereich, zu bieten die sich in irgendeiner Weise um den Vogelschutz bemüht. Somit unterstützt der Reisende mit seinem Besuch direkt oder indirekt den Vogelschutz.
Ein weiteres Ziel ist es diesen vogelfreundlichen Tourismus durch unterschiedliche Projekte zu fördern.

BirdsConTour empfiehlt Tourismusinstanzen, sich für die Qualifikation einer Vogel und Vogelbeobachterfreundlichen Auszeichnung durch Vogelschutz und Tourismus (BirdsConTour) zu bemühen.
Weitere Informationen sind erhältlich in den Berichten 44, 61, 67 und 71 unter www.birdscontour.blogspot.com oder bei Stefan Rust Tel. 00264 (0)81 129 8415, E-Mail. birdscontour@iway.na

Friday, 24 May 2013

082 | EXCEPTIONAL SUPPORT IN BIRD CONSERVATION

82


THANK YOU TO BIRGIT LEICHER!

Exceptional support in bird conservation

Photos by Thalia Leicher and Stefan Rust and text by Stefan Rust
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)


BirdsConTour presents an award to Birgit Leicher as a sincere appreciation for her exceptional support in bird conservation.



Mrs. Leicher, the owner of Das Zeichenbüro, an architectural design business, is a highly valued supporter of BirdsConTour. Birgit, a woman of enthusiasm and positive outlook, is the acting power in the “Architecture for a better bird life” project. This serves to counteract the continuous decrease of suitable bird habitat in our cities and villages. This project encourages the development of bird friendly infrastructure.

Bird friendly designs by Birgit Leicher from Das Zeichenbüro

Birgit regularly goes beyond the bounds of business to the benefit of BirdsConTour. Behind this, as the result of her input shows, she cares deeply about the long-term survival of birds.

In bird conservation and tourism is a great deal of administrative work to be completed and always at help is in particular Birgit.

Thank you to Birgit Leicher. This two bird rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award recognizes your support!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

077 | NEW CISTICOLA DISCOVERED FOR NAMIBIA

77


NEW CISTICOLA DISCOVERED FOR NAMIBIA

Birding excitement at Camp Chobe, Caprivi

Photos and text by Stefan Rust
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)


The discovery of the Wing-snapping Cisticola ( Kleinste Klopkloppie / Zwergpinkpink / Cisticola ayresii) by Stefan Rust from BirdsConTour is a wonderful demonstration that Namibia has much to reveal in bird life to us yet.



However, this newly discovered species is probably at risk from human influence, because it may move locally away from burnt grassland in winter and early spring. Unfortunately the Caprivi region is well-known for its intensive burning practices by the local people. In its main distribution area in South Africa, the eastern Limpopo Province, western Mpumalanga, Gauteng, eastern Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the East Cape, the transformation of grasslands to croplands most probably reduces its available habitat.

The Caprivi Tour, jointly organized by Chamäleon Reisen and Pack Safari, was led by Stefan Rust who runs the BirdsConTour organization (Bird Conservation & Tourism). On 16 May 2013, Stefan Rust heard an unfamiliar call that drew his attention to a bird in the short grassland close to his luxury tent at Camp Chobe. This bird, identified as a Cisticola, looked similar to the Zitting, Desert, Cloud and Pale-crowned Cisticolas in non-breeding plumage. But it gave itself away as the Wing-snapping Cisticola by its ringing, high-pitched I’m-airs-airs-airs call interspersed with wing snaps, hence its descriptive name.
Spending two nights at the marvelous luxury tented Safari Camp Chobe, gave Rust the chance to return to this spot. This time, playback attracted the bird to within five meters of where he stood.

The Wing-snapping Cisticola is restricted to short grasslands, with some bare patches inbetween. On the ground of the Camp Chobe it seems to profit from the area where the grass is mowed. Keeping low down in the grass, foraging in it and on the bare ground inbetween for invertebrates is a typical habit of this species.

This discovery and the rich bird life in this area prove to the owner, managers, staff and neighbors of Camp Chobe to be on the right way in protecting birds and their habitat. For their efforts in bird conservation, BirdsConTour prepares a Bird & Birder Friendly Award qualification for this accommodation.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

076 | BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (06.05.'13 - 19.05.'13)

76

BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (06.05.'13 – 19.05.’13)

Text from Stefan Rust
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belong to Stefan Rust)

Dear birding friends, 

as birdwatching is a relatively new and one of the fastest growing and a most popular pursuit, it attracts people of all ages around the world. There can hardly be a better place than southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa) to nurture an interest in birds as it supports almost 1000 bird species, which is about 10 per cent of the world's entire bird. Taking birding to new heights, Hobby-Ornithologist Stefan Rust together with BirdsConTour represents some of the ontour bird sightings and several other interesting birding aspects to showcase the fun of birding, promote citizen science, highlight conservation, indicate where to view what birds and raise awareness of southern Africa's (sometimes international) birds and their habitats.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS WORK GETS DISTRIBUTED INTERNATIONALLY

Have a quick look if you, your site or neighborhood is included in this scientific informational work (alphabetically arranged):

Ababis Farm
Agrimark Shell Service Station (Rehoboth)
A-little-Sossus Lodge
Avis Dam
Bwabwata NP
Casa Piccolo Pension
Camp Chobe (Caprivi, Namibia)
Chamäleon Reisen
Chobe NP (Botswana)
Etosha Safari Camp (Gondwana)
Gorges Lodge (Zimbabwe)
Mahangu NP
Nunda River Lodge
Pack Safari
Redecker Irmi
Seidarap Gästehaus
Sossusvlei
Susuwe Island Lodge (Birre Island)
Swakopmund
Victoria Falls Airport (Zimbabwe)
Victoria Falls NP (Zimbabwe)
Voigtland Farm (Stefan Voigts)
Voigts Stefan (Farm Voigtland)
Windhoek, Von Falkenhausen Str.

BirdsConTour Report (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe) Personal Highlights:

BIRDSCONTOUR FOR A CLEANER BIRD HABITAT
BLACK STORK
BOOTED EAGLE
LAPPET-FACED VULTURE, TAGGED
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE
WING-SNAPPING CISTICOLA

Distance traveled: 5 103 km

06.05.'13  Farm Voigtland  Lappet-faced Vulture (1) In Kenya they are known to break open Common Ostrich eggs with their bill.

06.05.'13  Pension Casa Piccolo, Windhoek  Rock Kestrel (1) Prey availability motivates a post-breeding movement whereas the territory-holding males stay longer in nesting area than females. Also see more interesting observations on these Kestrels in the article nr. 68 under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com.

07.05.'13  Agrimark Shell Service Station, Rehoboth  House Sparrow (2) The occurrence of these two birds at this recently opened new petrol station about two weeks ago proof the adaptability of this species. Making use of a scavenging niche in urban and suburban areas they spread throughout southern Africa since the 1800’s when they were introduced at Durban in South Africa.

07.05.'13  Farm Ababis, Naukluft  Black Stork (2) Seemingly this pair will start laying eggs soon and if conservation continues possibly one day this species will not be classified as endangered in Namibia anymore. This winter breeding habit is explained through having an abundance of food in ponds where the water level is receding this time of the year.

07.05.'13  Avis Dam, Windhoek  Great White Pelican (40) Mrs. Irmgard Redecker reported fourty Great White Pelicans at Avis Dam in Windhoek. Greatest movements of these large birds occur when water levels of wetlands get low, but mostly they remain within 200-300 km of breeding sites. Occasionally, such as in extremely dry years such as the current year, they wander in groups more widely.

07.05.'13  Sossusvlei  Temminck’s Courser (3) They are often found next to the road that leads from Sesriem to Sossusvlei. It is possible that they feed on the insects that are killed or injured by the passing vehicles. This habit might have developed from their method of feeding on killed or injured insects by fire.

07.05.'13  A-little-Sossus Lodge  Short-toed Rock-Thrush (1) During winter time they are found predominantly in flat country, whereas in summer in rocky outcrops and escarpments. This explains the absence of this bird at A-little-Sossus Lodge during summer.

08.05.'13  Walvisbay Lagoon  Egyptian Goose (1) This long living bird, up to 15 years,  is South Africa’s most abundant waterfowl on wetland surveys. Although historically it was probably restricted to flood plains and large rivers, it nowadays can even be found in the ocean, such as this individual bird.

08.05.’13  Seidarap Gästehaus  Great White Pelican (8) Stephan Lukaschik, owner of Guesthouse Seidarap, reported 8 Great White Pelicans flying over his property in eastern direction. Greatest movements of these large birds occur when water levels of wetlands get low, but mostly they remain within 200-300 km of breeding sites. Occasionally, such as in extremely dry years such as the current year, they wander in groups more widely.

09.05.'13  Sea Breeze Guesthouse, Swakopmund  Laughing Dove (1) Sometimes it is worth it to take some time to even observe a common bird like the Laughing Dove. During nesting time you might be lucky to be a witness of the behavior when a brooding bird is disturbed from the nest and gives a distraction display where it apparently falls from the nest and then drags itself along the ground as though being unable to fly.

09.05.'13  Etosha Safari Camp  Green-winged Pytilia (1) Interestingly the adults remove their chicks’ droppings for only about 4 days and then allow it to accumulate in the nest. Obviously there is a reason to it but is up till now not known. Like some doves for example use their droppings to strengthen their nest.

10.05.'13  Etosha NP, Okaukuejo  Barn Swallow (1) This palearctic-breeding summer migrant usually departs late February till April and some as late as May in Zimbabwe. So this individual seen at Okaukuejo is either a very late departure, not recorded for Namibia or it is a rare overwintering bird, although written to happen perhaps most frequently in Western Cape.

11.05.'13  Etosha NP, Okaukuejo  BirdsConTour for a cleaner bird habitat  Today the initiative “BirdsConTour for a cleaner bird habitat” was officially launched. To celebrate this happening, Stefan Rust, founder of BirdsConTour, bird conservation and tourism, together with members of a tour group, chose to clean the big Sociable Weaver nest in Okaukuejo rest camp in the Etosha National Park from ropes. Several birds already got entangled in the litter, which they found lying all over in the camp and incorporated in their nests. This nest is most probably Namibia’s most prominent nest. Many visitors have photographed it and spend some time observing the nest building activities of these busy little Sociable Weavers. For more information on this initiative please read the article nr. 75 under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com.

11.05.'13  Etosha NP, Klein Namutoni  White-headed Vulture (1) This uncommon species in southern Africa has an estimated African population of 7 000-12 500 birds whereof about 500 pairs live in southern Africa. This species is not a very typical vulture as it is a scavenger, predator and a pirate. Being able of killing small mammals and kleptoparasitising eagles, it is dominant over Tawny Eagle, Marabou Stork and vultures except the Lappet-faced Vulture.

11.05.'13  Etosha NP, Klein Namutoni  Lappet-faced Vulture (3) Little is known about the movements of this species. Sometimes non-breeders move further than 1 00 km. Researchers attach yellow wing tags with a black number on certain birds to find out more about their movements. Today three Lappet-faced Vultures were seen at the Klein Namutoni waterhole in Etosha NP, Namibia, at 12:00 with one having a yellow tag with the number E152 on it. Where was this bird tagged, by whom and how old is this bird?

11.05.'13  Etosha NP, Klein Namutoni  Greater Flamingo (3) This juvenile and the two adult birds are still here, since the 2nd of May ’13. Most probably these three birds make use of Klein Namutoni while dispersing from the drying out of Fishers Pan. See article nr. 72 under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com.

11.05.'13  Seidarap Guesthouse  Bird & Birder Friendly accommodation  What a joy! Celebrating the birthday of one of the guests of the Caprivi tour on the verandah at Seidarap Guesthouse with coffee and cake, while enjoying the wild bird activity at the bird restaurant only about 30 m away. Read more about this bird and birder friendly accommodation in the article nr. 25 under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com. How to register your establishment of whatever kind, find out in articles nr. 61, 67 and 71.

12.05.’13  Nunda River Lodge  Pygmy Goose (7)  Its main distribution is set by the availability of water lilies. Its diet consists mainly of ripe seeds and flower parts of water lilies. In South Africa this species is classified as near-threatened.

13.05.’13  Mahangu NP  Spur-winged Goose (150) Perhaps this large group is preparing for a Large winter moult gathering. These localities are often traditional.

13.05.’13  Susuwe Island Lodge  Lesser Striped Swallow (many breeding) There are two subspecies in southern Africa, the Hirundo abyssinica unitatis and the H. a. ampliformis. Interestingly the breeding times of these two subspecies differ greatly. The peak breeding season for the H. a. unitatis is in October till January, whereas the other ones peak is in May. These peak breeding seasons match with the rain season in the distribution area of the H. a. unitatis and with the high water of the rivers in the distribution area of the H. a. ampliformis. These are the times with the most food abundance.

13.05.’13  Susuwe Island Lodge  Long-toed Lapwing (2) This natural rare species in southern Africa due to its need of special habitat, is found only in the Caprivi Strip, Namibia, Okavango Delta, and Chobe River in northern Botswana, and at the Zambezi River at Kazungulu in northwestern Zimbabwe. This uncommon bird is found only one bird per 146 km river in northern Botswana and perhaps in Namibia as well.

14.05.’13  Susuwe Island Lodge  Grey-headed Bush-Shrike (1) In Namibia this is an uncommon species, in eastern Caprivi Strip. They make ‘larders’, where they impale prey on thorns or spikes. Its diet can be prey as large as a 1 m long Bird Snake. In case of prey to big to swallow, they often wedge it into a forked twig or crevice to tear it to pieces with their beak.

14.05.’13  Bwabwata NP.  Red-billed Oxpecker (3) In Namibia live estimated 2 800 birds. Their food consists mostly of ticks. In one birds stomach there were 1 665 ticks found and almost all food is obtained on host animals.

15.05.’13  Camp Chobe  Whiskered Tern (±50) Our southern African population is quite small, less than 7 500 pairs. Although this species is not classified as threatened, one needs to be aware that the global population of Chlidonias hybrida sclateri is a small and breeds mostly in southern Africa. Unfortunately cattle wrong managed can be a big disturbance. Birds will abandone their nests if this disturbance occurs before egg laying.

15.05.’13  Chobe NP., Botswana  Luapula Cisticola (2) In whole southern Africa this species is only found in north central and northeastern Namibia, northern Botswana and northwestern Zimbabwe. The foraging and food of the Luapula Cisticola is until present undescribed.

16.05.’13  Chobe NP.  African Fish-Eagle (9) One pair on the southern side of the Chobe River started already with the incubation of eggs. Fishing activities by locals is direct competition for the eagle. Uncontrolled fishing decreases the African Fish-Eagle population. This was clearly proved when guerilla activities drove people away, where after birds returned because large fish abundance increased.

16.05.’13  Camp Chobe, Namibia  Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver (7) These birds tend to build their bulky thorn twig nest with 1-6 nest chambers into high trees, windmills, towers or similar within the vicinity of water. They do not only benefit from artificial water but also from the disturbance of woodland, the presence of domestic livestock and rural settlements. Altogether they profit from human neighborhood.


16.05.’13  Camp Chobe, Namibia  Wing-snapping Cisticola (1) Although not yet being registered for this area, the exploitation of this species, easily confused with the Cloud Cisticola, into this further west region can be explained with the rapid transformation of grasslands to croplands in its natural habitat.
Camp Chobe unconsciously creates an ideal habitat for this species in that they regularly mow the grass around the infrastructure and having occasional bare patches between natural grass tufts.
This occurrence of the Wing-snapping Cisticola (Cisticola ayresii) at Camp Chobe, 4 km east of Ngoma border post to Botswana, is a first timer for Namibia. 
Read more in the article nr. 77 under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com.

17.05.’13  Chobe NP, Botswana  Southern Ground-Hornbill  (2 adults, 4 juveniles) Nowhere in southern Africa common and allover vulnerable to human activity. The low density and slow population turnover leads to the alarming disappearance and slow recovery of these birds. To rescue the Ground-Hornbills, one of the actions taken is in gathering and hand-rearing of otherwise redundant last-hatched chicks.

17.05.’13  Chobe NP., Botswana  Green-backed Heron (1) This secretive and solitary bird prefers sites not fished by humans. Because of its shyness no precise population numbers exist.

17.05.’13  Victoria Falls NP, Zimbabwe  Trumpeter Hornbill (2) This species is vulnerable to forest exploitation. Droughts that effect tree growth is another matter of concern because the Trumpeter Hornbill depend on warm, coastal, lowland forest.

17.05.’13  Gorges Lodge, Zimbabwe  Verreaux’s Eagle (1) They are known to be territorial year-round. Because of political circumstances in Zimbabwe illegal hunting is a matter of concern and this again influences the available prey for the Verreaux’s Eagle. To support this terrestrial pair of eagles the managers of Gorges Lodge are feeding this wild pair for quite some time. By now they got accustomed to the feeding that this eagle feeding developed to an additional guest attraction. Read more about this in the article nr. 4 under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com.

18.05.’13  Gorges Lodge, Zimbabwe  Little Sparrowhawk, Lanner Falcon, Augur Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Black-chested Snake-Eagle ( ) An absolute paradise for people enjoying birds of prey is the Dibudibu lapa at the Gorges Lodge. Here you can set up your scopes and do some undisturbed and unforgettable birds of prey spotting.
Breeding Booted Eagles arrive at breeding area mid July and depart by March. This individual can well be an overwintering bird.

18.05.’13  Gorges Lodge, Zimbabwe  Black Stork (2) It is good possible that this is a breeding pair. May is the month when most observed birds in Zimbabwe started with egg-laying. Winter breeding is an adaptation to make use of the abundance of prey when the water levels are receding. In all southern Africa the only country where this species is not classified as threatened or similar is in Zimbabwe.

18.05.’13  Victoria Falls Airport, Zimbabwe  Violet-backed Starling (1) Normally a migrant from tropical Africa, this male bird seems to be a member of a small year-round population in the northern parts of southern Africa.

18.05.’13  Caprivi Strip, Namibia  Spotted Eagle-Owl (7 roadkills) On a 500 km length of road 7 roadkill owls were seen. It seems as if they are feeding on roadkill carcasses more often as thought, whereby they collide with vehicles. This Trans Caprivi Highway is especially by night highly frequented by trucks.

18.05.’13  Bwabwata NP, Namibia  Southern Ground-Hornbill  (2 adults, 2 juveniles) Nowhere in southern Africa common and allover vulnerable to human activity. The low density and slow population turnover leads to the alarming disappearance and slow recovery of these birds. To rescue the Ground-Hornbills, one of the actions taken is in gathering and hand-rearing of otherwise redundant last-hatched chicks.

18.05.’13  Windhoek, Von Falkenhausen Str.  Spotted Eagle-Owl (1) They are often territorial in towns and cities, hunting insects and rodents under street lights and nesting on buildings. They increasingly move into urban and suburban habitats.
Just before sunset, a dark juvenile African Harrier-Hawk mobbed this individual and later a handful African Red-eyed Bulbuls.

18.05.’13  Windhoek, Von Falkenhausen Str.  African Harrier-Hawk (1 dark juvenile) This dark version juvenile was recognized while being busy mobbing the Spotted Eagle-Owl. It would be interesting to know if this juvenile was born here in Windhoek. Over the past almost two years regularly adult African Harrier-Hawks were observed in this area. This needs some closer observation, because Namibia has surprising scarce breeding records of this species. Previously written about this bird in article 53 under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com.


Enjoy Birding, 
Stefan Rust
Please note: Most scientific information has been taken from Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, V11th edition!
(For further reading see www.birdscontour.blog.com)
(For more information contact Stefan Rust on +264 (0)81 129 8415 or birdscontour@iway.na)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

075 | BIRDSCONTOUR FOR A CLEANER BIRD HABITAT


75

LITTER IS A THREAT FOR BIRDS

BirdsConTour for a cleaner bird habitat


Photos by Judith Bigler Schmidli and Stefan Rust and text by Stefan Rust 
2013



(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)


In 1960 researchers in New Zealand found plastic in the stomachs of dead prions for the first time. By mid-1980 research showed that more than 90% of petrels and shearwaters off southern Africa contained plastic. The accumulation of plastic in their stomachs reduces the effective stomach volume. This influences the amount of food they have to consume. But also the toxins and other compounds cause a problem.

  

Most litter, especially plastic, in coastal waters comes from the main land. Because of the light weight and low density of most plastics, water and wind carries them far from their source area, mainly from land. What makes it even worse is that biological decay happens very slowly.

                              

An entangled and dead Sociable Weaver              Ropes being incorporated in the nest can cause   
                                                                               problems

It’s not just seabirds that face problems. Entanglement is another big threat. Birds often get caught in litter, causing needless suffering leading to slow death. Discarded fishing line, bags, ropes and bands, basically anything with a loop, can cause problems. A lot of birds incorporate litter in their nests, often entangling their chicks or even themselves.

If we continue pumping litter into the environment, we support the death of many more birds and other wildlife. It is also important to know that by far the majority of marine litter derives from land-based sources.
Uncontrolled release of waste into the environment (littering) is a big problem and education, recycling, reducing and re-using will help solve the problem but will take some time.

Under these conditions, BirdsConTour takes the step of collecting uncontrolled litter wherever and whenever possible to prevent wastes from entering the life cycle of birds.

  



On the 11th of May 2013 the initiative “BirdsConTour for a cleaner bird habitat” was officially launched. To celebrate this happening, Stefan Rust, founder of BirdsConTour, bird conservation and tourism, together with members of a tour group, chose to clean the big Sociable Weaver nest in Okaukuejo rest camp in the Etosha National Park from ropes. Several birds already got entangled in the litter, which they found lying all over in the camp and incorporated in their nests. This nest is most probably Namibia’s most prominent nest. Many visitors have photographed it and spend some time observing the nest building activities of these busy little Sociable Weavers.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

074 | GRAULÄRMVOGEL


74
FREUND DER ANTILOPEN

Graulärmvogel

Fotos und Text von Stefan Rust
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belong to Stefan Rust)

  Corythaixoides concolor pallidiceps


Steckbrief

Namen: Corythaixoides concolor (Lateinisch) / Grey Go-away-Bird (Englisch) /
               Kwevoel (Afrikaans)

Familie: Turakos

Verbreitung: Namibia und Angola bis Mosambik

Lebensraum: Offene Wälder, Savannen, Parks

Größe: 47-50 cm

Gefieder: Einheitlich grau; Geschlechter gleich

Stimme: Lauter, nasaler und abfallender go-away Ruf

Nest: Lockeres Zweignest meistens in einer dornigen Akazie

Brutzeit: Ganzjährig; hauptsächlich Februar-Mai

Nahrung: Meistens Früchte, auch Termiten


Besonderes

Die englische Bezeichnung ist eine Nachbildung ihres Warnrufs, über den sich schon so mancher Jäger erzürnt hat.



Drei unterscheidbare Unterarten des Graulärmvogels gibt es im südlichen Afrika. Der Corythaixoides concolor concolor, der eine schmutzig wirkende olivgrüne Brust hat, bewohnt den östlichen Teil des Verbreitungsgebietes. Der Corythaixoides concolor bechuanae, bei dem die Brust gar nicht oder nur wenig grün gefärbt ist, besetzt die nordzentralen Teile des südlichen Afrika. Im Caprivi Streifen und in der nordöstlichen Kalahari Namibias ist diese Unterart auch verbreitet. Im restlichen Namibia lebt der Corythaixoides concolor pallidiceps mit einer etwas beigefarbenen anstatt grünlichen Brust.

Geschäftig durch die Baumwipfel, von Zweig zu Zweig hüpfend, auf der Suche nach Früchten, Hülsen, Knospen und Blüten, verrät sich ein Trupp dieser geselligen Vögel oft durch ihren Ruf.
Die volkstümliche Bezeichnung Kwävogel ist eine Nachbildung seines Warnrufs. Zu der Zeit, als die im südlichen Afrika lebenden San Buschmänner noch von der Jagd abhängig waren, war dieser Vogel bei ihnen recht unbeliebt. Dies begründete sich darauf, dass wenn die San mit Pfeil und Bogen auf Jagd gingen und sie sich durch das Pirschen anders als gewöhnlich bewegten, erregte dieses Verhalten die ohnehin von Natur aus mitgegebene Neugier des Graulärmvogels. Von Baum zu Baum fliegend folgte er ihnen.
Hatten die Jäger ein potentielles Beutetier erspäht, galt es für sie, sich mit größter Vorsicht an das Tier zu pirschen. Dieses, in den Augen des Graulärmvogels immer ungewöhnlicher werdende Verhalten, weckte beim Graulärmvogel so sehr den Argwohn, dass er vor Aufregung lauthals anfing zu kreischen: „Kwä, kwä!“ Das Beutetier, bei dem es sich meistens um Antilopen handelte, kannte aus Erfahrung her die Bedeutung dieses Schreies,  und ergriff die Flucht. Die enttäuschten Jäger richteten sich auf und schrieen verärgert: „Geh weg Vogel!“ Einige Menschen sind der Meinung, dass hieraus die offizielle englische Bezeichnung Go-away bird (Geh weg Vogel) für diesen Vogel entstand.

Seit einigen Jahrzehnten hat der Graulärmvogel seinen Einzug in menschliche Siedlungen gehalten und gilt somit als Kulturfolger. Seitdem teilen Gärtner ihr Gemüse und Obst mit diesem kecken und klugen Tier. Er beschert uns viele Stunden lustiger und interessanter Tierbeobachtungen vor unserer Haustür.
Die Taktik eines Kulturfolgers, sich dem Menschen anzuschließen, gefördert durch die nahrungsarmen Trockenzeiten unserer Breiten, verlangt ein hohes Maß der Anpassungsfähigkeit und Kompromissbereitschaft was wiederum die Klugheit dieser Vögel unterstreicht.

Diese Art ist nicht gefährdet. Gefahrquellen seitens des Menschen sind jedoch offene Wasserstellen ohne vogelfreundliche Vorrichtungen. Reservoirs auf den Farmen sollten mit einem vom Rand bis auf den Boden des Reservoirs reichenden verzweigten Stamm ausgestattet sein. Durstige Vögel können hier ihren Durst löschen ohne Gefahr zu ertrinken. Viehtränken sind stückweit vogelfreundlich, sobald sie mit einer im Wasser, nicht zu glatten und nicht zu steil ins Wasser führenden, Insel in Form eines Steins oder Ähnlichem mit einer dementsprechenden Größe, ausgestattet sind.

Die Annahme liegt nahe, dass dieser, sich überwiegend vegetarisch ernährende Graulärmvogel, bekannt als Knospen-, Blüten- und Blattvertilger, mit einer hohen Populationsdichte, einen unterstützenden Nutzen zur Bekämpfung der Verbuschung hat.

Monday, 6 May 2013

073 | ARCHITECTURE FOR BIRD LIFE

73
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNER SUPPORTS FEATHERED ARCHITECTS 

BirdsConTour and Das Zeichenbüro architectural drawing office, joint bird protection

Photos and text by Stefan Rust 
2013

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)

The bird protection company BirdsConTour (Bird Conservation and Tourism) warns of a population decline of the wild birds in Namibia’s cities and villages.  


Bird friendly designs by Birgit Leicher from Das Zeichenbüro


   The feathered architects

Sometimes goals of different bird protection projects can be effectively achieved, when in cooperation with companies. Therefore BirdsConTour with the project “architecture for a better bird life” collaborates with architectural firms and design offices - like in this case with the business Das Zeichenbüro.  Only with its support, a bird protection project of such magnitude can be implemented.  

People and animals both have a residential right and can live very well side-by-side

The rapid expansion of Namibian towns and villages robs many birds of their habitat.  They become scarcer because they find less food and nesting opportunities through the erection of human infrastructure.  Local nesting and food providing plants disappear to make space for building developments, and rocks with potential breeding spaces are blown up. With the demolition and renovation of older buildings with sufficient edges and niches, nesting places for birds visibly disappear.  

Especially during the chick rearing period birds keep our gardens free from pests


To keep the useful birds, which help in the eradication and control of garden-and plant parasites and pests, in the immediate vicinity of the people in cities and towns in Namibia and also partially helping them to resettle, a reversal of the negative trends had to be achieved. Together with architectural technologist Birgit Leicher, owner of the company, Das Zeichenbüro, BirdsConTour put together an action plan, which provides that in new buildings as well as renovations,  feeding stations and nesting possibilities in the form of artificial niches and nests are provided in the architectural plans,  and are offered to the customer in the "bird-friendly package" so that the feathered architects of cities and towns have sufficient food and nesting opportunities again.

                                                                                    
If no niche can be incorporated such as into this wall, then an appropriate nesting box will do                       The erection of a wild bird station in the garden

This bird protection is only possible through the support of the client. Therefore a customer is rewarded with an honor, after the completion of a bird friendly project.

Through the participation of a customer with this action plan, he not only creates his own nature reserve but also contributes easily to the protection of the species.  
Should the client have children or should the project involve children, a finished project will simultaneously serve the purpose to bring the importance of nature closer to the them. Also the sense of responsibility can be promoted among young people through the conscientious feeding of garden birds. But not only children profit from the bird friendly infrastructure, even for adults living /and or working with neighboring bird life is very pleasing.

A bird friendly background, house and yard, is not only fun, but also promotes the sense of responsibility in young people

Following the exemplary collaboration with Das Zeichenbüro, BirdsConTour plans to involve more architects in this „Architecture for a better birdlife“ action plan and to award them as bird friendly companies.  

For inquiries, BirdsConTour (www.birdscontour.blogspot.com) is available under birdscontour@iway.na or call 081 129 8415