Baillon’s Crake: et voilà

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.

By |2020-05-16T15:19:57+00:00February 3rd, 2017|Birds|1 Comment

Pick of the pics: Dylan Vasapolli

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!

By |2020-05-16T15:19:57+00:00February 2nd, 2017|Birds|9 Comments

Twitching Temminck’s Stint

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!

By |2020-05-16T15:19:58+00:00December 3rd, 2016|Birds|7 Comments

How many feathers does a canary have?

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).

By |2020-05-16T15:19:58+00:00November 18th, 2016|Birds, Morphology, Videos|2 Comments

LBJs now available at NHBS

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!

By |2020-05-16T15:19:58+00:00November 7th, 2016|Birds|0 Comments

Great Snipes making a comeback?

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.

By |2020-05-16T15:19:58+00:00July 6th, 2016|Birds, Conservation, Identification, Videos, Waders|7 Comments

The Pelagic Nightjar – a species new to science?

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.

By |2020-05-16T15:19:59+00:00June 29th, 2016|Birds, Migration|2 Comments

The artwork of the Eskom 2015 Red Data Book

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.

By |2020-05-16T15:19:59+00:00June 6th, 2016|Birds, Books, Conservation, Illustration|0 Comments