Just back from Champions of the Flyway 2017: an exhilarating week's birding in the Negev Desert of southern Israel, culminating in a crazy, nonstop, 24 hour bird race to see which team can record the most species in a day. I competed along with the "Birding Africa Black Harriers:" Callan Cohen, Dominic Rollinson, Ethan Kistler and myself. Read more to find out how we did, and how we did it. More importantly, we managed to raise $4,500 to help Doga Denegi fight the battle against the illegal slaughter of migratory birds in Turkey. 3, 2, 1...let's go birding!
You can now own a piece of Faansie Peacock artwork. I am proud to announce that I have produced some high quality A3 prints of selected artworks from my book, Chamberlain's LBJs. These are in limited edition prints of 25. Get your favourite bird, or why not splurge and buy a whole set? I can already picture a series of apalises or larks in your office!
In a few weeks, I'll be joining Callan Cohen, Dominic Rollinson and Ethan Kistler in Eilat, Israel as "The Birding Africa Black Harriers" - one of the teams competing in the annual Champions of the Flyway bird race. I cannot wait to witness migration in all its magnificence at this legendary birding hotspot. But more than that, I am excited about the opportunity to raise funds and awareness to protect our migratory birds against illegal hunting. Please consider adding your voice!
Bonjour! Baillon's Crake has always been a bit of a head-scratcher for me...in this post I ponder some of its peculiarities, not least of which is "who was Baillon?". My friend Thoms Hohls recently connected with this species as the remote Nstikeni Wetland in KZN - only his Baillon's had a bright green bill! See the stunning photos here.
Where do you get 5,000 top-class bird photos if you don't own a camera? Easy. You ask your friend Dylan Vasapolli. As my way of saying thank you to him, I give you my favourite "Vas" images: phenomenal without exception (although he would probably call them "fairly average"). These are from the USA, Panama, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. Enjoy!
Petronias are charming little fellows. Like the related pipits, they walk around on the ground or along tree branches, pumping their tails. Even their calls sound more like pipits' than true sparrows. However, unlike pipits, they nest in tree cavities...or in this case, in a scalding hot metal umbrella stand, which they packed full of feathers.
The first twitchable Temminck's Stint in 29 years - it didn't take much convincing to get me on plane from Jo'burg to Cape Town! I enjoy a quick mid-week twitch as much as the next guy, but this was also a valuable opportunity to take some field notes on a bird that I have only seen in Asia. Includes a short video of the experience. PS: An American Golden Plover and Red-necked Stint were also present at the site - birding heaven!
Any guesses? I found out...the hard way. Before all the counting began though, I made a short "tutorial" video that points out the main feather tracts of a bird, and their respective functions. If you have a few minutes to spare, I am sure you'll find this illuminating. And what a stunning little bird the Black-throated Canary is (or at least, was, before I yanked its feathers out).
The wait is (almost) over! Chamberlain's Waders is currently being printed in Cape Town - the printers have promised me that a big truck full of books will arrive at my house on 10 December 2016...get your pre-order in today.
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!