My book Chamberlain's LBJs is now available from NHBS in the UK. If you're NOT based in South Africa, buying the book directly from NHBS is highly recommended (our beloved SA postal service is somewhat less reliable of late). NHBS has excellent shipping and reasonable prices. But be warned: while you're browsing, the temptation to stock up on other great natural history titles will be overpowering!
Hard to believe today, but the Great Snipe used to be so common in South Africa that it was hunted in large numbers by snipers (yes, that's where the word comes from). It then disappeared for about 80 years. However, could two separate sightings in January 2015 herald a return of this spectacular wader? That would be great indeed.
Has Dave Deighton done it again and discovered a new species - the Pelagic Nightjar? I'm afraid not. Nevertheless, his photos of an Eurasian Nightjar migrating over the Mediterranean in broad daylight deserve to be seen. You can also hear me reminisce about my first kiss, and see some plagiarized stuff from Peter Ryan - on a potential vagrant with a superheroic name.
We can all contribute to conservation in our own way. In my case, as the illustrator (and editor, graphic designer, cartographer) for the new 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. These are my ten favourite illustrations, with a little background on the artwork and the bird featured. I hope my passion for this project, and for the species it aims to protect, comes through in the art.
I am very proud to announce my new book: CHAMBERLAIN'S WADERS - the definitive guide to southern Africa's Shorebirds. Following in the footsteps of Chamberlain's LBJs, the book includes more than 600 new paintings, covers the ID and biology of 80 species and is packed with extra info. Watch this video to get a sneak peek at what the book will look like when it's done (towards the end of 2016).
How common is hybridization really? Probably more common than you think. Some estimates suggest that at least 9% of all bird species have interbred in the wild. A case-in-point is this apparent male hybrid between a Great Sparrow and Cape Sparrow that Ursula Franke-Bryson ringed in Namibia. I hope that this short guest blog from Ursula will entice birders to keep an eye open for the unusual – even with birds as everyday as sparrows!
The swift and fearsome Eurasian Hobby migrates south from Eurasia into Africa, while its dragonfly prey, the Globe Skimmer, migrates across the Indian Ocean with the monsoon winds. These two species meet in Namibia, where ringer Ursula Franke-Bryson had an incredible encounter. In this guest post, Ursula highlights the distribution, migration, food and feeding strategies of this astonishing little falcon.
I am in love with the coastal town of Mtunzini! Apart from its lekker laidback, holiday-style atmosphere and beach-vibe, the entire area is simply pumping with wildlife; from Gaboon Adders cruising the suburban streets at night, to Palmnut Vultures lazing on the beach. Furthermore, nature-tourism facilities and opportunities are excellent with a plethora of trails, drives, monuments, outings, activities and adventures to be enjoyed.
In 1912 a missionary named Paschal Boneberg found an odd little frog in the streams behind Mariannhill Church near Durban...and the world was introduced to the Kloof Frog, Natalobatrachus bonebergi. These fascinating forest frogs have always been high on my wishlist, but I've always come up empty handed. That all changes when I teamed up with Nick Evans for an evening of kloofing in Kloof.
Welcome to Ngoye Forest! If you're a birder, you will end up here sooner or later, as this relict 3,900 hectare forest patch in the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal is the only place in southern Africa to see Green Barbet (aka Woodward's Barbet, if you're so inclined), among many other endemics. There is even now a tarred road right through the forest, so no excuses! I tried something a little different with the layout this time - hope it works!