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Faansie’s Bird Book – a fully fledged field guide…for kids

Oh man, I am so excited to announce my latest project... the first ever fully fledged field guide for birds. In a way I made this book especially for my own two boys, as a way to help them connect with birds and nature in general. But I'm sure they wouldn't mind if your kids read it too. Here's a little sneak peek video...

By | August 17th, 2018|Birds, kids|2 Comments

Faansie versus Harlequin

In this battle there was a clear winner. Spotted Harlequin Snakes, Homoroselaps lacteus, are mildly venomous, and though their venom does not pose any potentially fatal consequences, a bit may well provide you with some nice gory images. Hopefully some of the effects I documented here can contribute to our knowledge on this species. Perhaps not for sensitive viewers.

By | May 10th, 2018|Birds|10 Comments

Herping lingo

Birding has its own, dedicated language. Twitching. Lifer. String. Dip. Tick. The same goes for herping - the study of frogs and reptiles. However, compared to the typical birder, herpers are a decidedly freakish bunch (and I say that as a herper myself). I called in the help of some of the country's top herpers to come up with this illustrated dictionary of herping lingo. I hope they didn't make this stuff up.

By | February 23rd, 2018|Frogs, Reptiles|2 Comments

WADERS now available in eBook format!

Due to continued requests, I have now made my book, CHAMBERLAIN'S WADERS, available in a digital edition as well. As birders, our love for books is only exceeded by our love for birds. But carrying all your literature around in the field can be back-breaking. May I suggest that you get the eBook versions instead (or preferably, in addition)? No forms, no waiting, instant download. But fret not, there are still a couple of thousand copies in my garage if you prefer the good ol' printed version. LBJs books are dwindling though...

By | February 23rd, 2018|Birds, Books|2 Comments

New column for Weg! / Go! magazine

Weg / Go! magazine is South Africa's number one travel and outdoor mag, choc-a-bloc full of places, people, gear, reviews and recipes. In addition, from the March 2018 issue (on sale now), you'll also find a few words by yours truly. A column on our most fascinating birds, presented in the form of stories and personal memories, interwoven with facts about the biology of birds. The first tells the story of a juvenile Greater Honeyguide that somehow ended up on my Grandpa's shoulder.

By | February 23rd, 2018|Birds|1 Comment

The Tantalizing Tankatara Warbler

The last week of August was probably the single greatest twitching saga in SA birding history, with the discovery of two firsts for the country at the same site! The only problem was, one of these, a nondescript warbler merrily swinging its tail about, defied identification. Read the whole story here, and learn a little something about ID of Upcher's Warbler.

By | September 5th, 2017|Birds, Identification|14 Comments

For sale: a unique lifestyle in nature

Where is your favourite place in the whole world? For the last 12 years, mine has been our holiday home in Bushwillow Estate at Vaalkop Dam, 1.5 hours from Pta/Jhb. So it is with a heavy heart that we decided to sell this magical breakaway. But we are also very excited to share this special part of Africa with you. And to give you the opportunity to experience this unique lifestyle in nature! The house is to be sold under sole or fractional ownership of 2-4 partners, fully furnished, including a barge to explore the dam!

By | June 12th, 2017|Birds|0 Comments

Identifying Southern Africa’s Terns

Terns are tough - on that much we can all agree. A lot has been written on their ID in Europe and the Americas, but all from a Northern Hemisphere perspective. If a mixed flock of terns makes you want to tern tail and run, this article is for you. I discuss the Identification of Common, Roseate and Arctic Terns, as well our own special visitor from the frozen south - the Antarctic Tern. Along the way, you'll spot the odd tern of phrase - most of them not very punny. Good luck!

By | June 8th, 2017|Birds, Identification|3 Comments

Hybrid prinias

While birding in the Northern Cape, "in the middle of nowhere", Chris Cheetham encountered a very odd prinia. It turned out to be a hybrid between Karoo and Black-chested. Learn more about hybridization in birds, and the wonderful world of these common but characterful 8-gram cisticolids. It took almost a year before I found the time to write this up. And now it's 01:15. AY EM. I'm off to bed. Want to get up early for more birding tomorrow!

By | May 31st, 2017|Birds|1 Comment

Melanistic Ovambo Sparrowhawk

Do you love raptors and old school rock & roll? Then this post if for you! Check out Lieben Swanevelder's great pictures documenting an exceptionally rare raptor: the seldom seen melanistic morph of an Ovambo Sparrowhawk. But things aren't always that black and white when it comes to colour aberrations - read some of the theories here. And why is this not a dark form Gabar Goshawk? Let me know what you think!

By | May 5th, 2017|Birds, Identification|2 Comments