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!
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.
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.
Black-rumped Buttonquails, Turnix nanus, are certainly some of the most elusive and tough-to-see-properly of Africa's birds. Ringers Ursula Franke-Bryson and Tom Bryson couldn't believe their eyes when the little bundle in one of their mistnets at Mutinondo Wilderness in northern Zambia turned out to be this poorly known species. Read on to hear why I think buttonquails are probably some of the planet's weirdest birds!
Am I the only birder who secretly likes mynas? Despite their bad reputation, you have to admire their tenacity and adaptability. This post solves a mystery that has intrigued me for several years, and highlights a behavioural quirk of mynas that actually contributes to environmental conservation. Recycling!