FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS NG Church Hall, Langebaan 21 & 22 April 2017 << go back

posted on 21 February 2017

The “Flight for Birders” bird identification and conservation course by Dr Anton Odendal will be presented at Langebaan on 21 & 22 April 2017. This course is aimed at bird-watchers from the greater West Coast Peninsula region. We have been requested to develop regionally specific sections for this course and this has now been done. The feature on birding destinations will focus on bird-watching opportunities in the West Coast National Park and the Cape Whale Coast birdfinder web page will be practically illustrated highlighting the difficult to identify birds of the region. The section on birding tourism will focus on the critical role that the Western Cape in general and the Cape West Coast region in particular could play in this regard.


Kindly note that new participants will received complimentary membership from the West Coast Bird Club for the rest of 2017.


The costs include the course notes and a certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa – roughly 1,600 slides and drawings will be used. In many cases images of similar and potentially confusing species have been combined on the same slide in order to illustrate differences. The development of an infrastructure for birding tourists in local areas will also be highlighted. In the vast majority of the slides English and Afrikaans names of species are printed onto the slide.   The course focuses on basic steps in the identification of birds, places heavy emphasis on where to find the rare and often endemic birds in southern Africa and illustrates how ordinary bird-watchers could become involved in the conservation of birds and their habitats. 


                                                                                PROGRAM SCHEDULE                     


  • One of the bird guide books (Newman's, SASOL or Robert's), preferably one that you are prepared to make notes in to illustrate key identification features of species.
  • Notebook and pen
  • Binoculars
  • Comfortable walking shoes (Second day only)
  • Hat and sunscreen (Second day only)
  • Lunch picnic baskets
  • Coffee and tea will be provided.             


DAY 1: Friday 21 April

(Kindly note that short breaks will be taken on the hour).

08h30 to 09h00:  Registration

09h00 to 10h00:  The basic approach to Flight for Birders and what to look for when trying to identify a bird 

10h00 to 10h15:  Tea

10h15 to 11h30:  The identification of garden birds

11h30 to 12h15:   A special section on some of the brood parasites  of southern Africa and their host species:  Cuckoos, whydahs, honeyguides and indigobirds.

12h15 to 12h30: Guest speaker introducing the West Coast Bird Club

12h30 to 13h00: Lunch

13h00 to 14h00:  How to prepare when visiting a new birding area:  Illustrating the Cape Whale Coast birdfinder web-page

14h00 to 14h30:  A focus on birding tourism - the critical role that the Western Cape Province in general and the West Coast region in particular could play in this regard

14h30 to 15h00:  How to prepare before visiting a new area – a case-study on birding in one of South Africa's larger National Parks: participants will get a choice between the West Coast NP, Tankwa Karoo NP, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park or the northern sections of the Kruger NP

15h00 to 16h00:  An overview of some threatened birds in Southern Africa: what are conservation agencies  trying to do about problems through conservation programs and how can ordinary birders help? 

  1. The Dyer Island Conservation Trust: Working towards saving AFRICAN PENGUINS
  2. BLSA's ALBATROSS Task Force
  3. There is hope for AMUR FALCONS migrating through India


DAY 2: Saturday 22 April

08h00 to 09h00:  Practical outing in small groups applying the principles taught – weather permitting

09h00 to 10h15:  Those difficult to identify species – the “Little Brown Jobs” of the Western Cape

10h15 to 10h30:  Tea

10h30 to 11h00:  The identification of raptors and birds of prey

11h00 to 11h45:  The identification of raptors and birds of prey (Continued)

11h45 to 12h30:   A special focus on the Owls of southern Africa

12h30 to 13h00:  Lunch

13h00 to 14h00:  The identification of the fairly common waterbirds in the Western Cape.

14h00 to 15h00:  An introduction to coastal birds and waders, as well as swallows, swifts & martins

15h00 to 15h30: The 101 species in southern Africa that every avid birder needs to be able to identify – how to distinguish between the various families of birds.  (An open-ended participatory discussion on photographs of the most common birds representing different families of birds).

15h30+: Closure.



DATES: 21 & 22 April 2017

VENUE: NG Church Hall, Langebaan

COSTS:  R 500-00 that include the course notes & certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa.

Kindly note that new participants will received complimentary membership from the West Coast Bird Club for the rest of 2017. Gift vouchers for attendance of the course are now also available – an ideal gift for friends and family members interested in nature in general and birds in particular.


TO REGISTER AND SECURE YOUR PLACE:  Contact Elaine at mwjasser@mweb.co.za or 082 455 8402.  All further queries could also be forwarded to Elaine.



Flight for Birders