Wednesday 11 September 2013

Southern Africa trip summary.

First and foremost it is important to stress the tremendous amount of work that went into organising this trip by our incredible friends Peter and Jenny Sharland and Sue Oertli. Not only did they spend a lot of time and effort in producing an excellent and very successful itinerary, they also sponsored the whole thing pretty much from start to finish!!!  We are very grateful to them and hope they got as much out of the trip as we did.

Spotted Thick-knee
21st August: arrive Johannesburg and head for Garingboom Guest House in Free State Province. Blacksmith Lapwing, Crowned Lapwing.
22nd: birding Gariep Dam. Kittlitz Plover, Burchell's Courser. Return to Johannesburg.
23rd: Start of road trip - Johannesburg to Elephant Sands, Botswana. Three-banded Plover.
24th birding Elephant Sands area then drive to Kasane and Water Lily Lodge. Rock Pratincole.
25th: birding along Chobe river with Pangolin Photographic Safaris, drive to Island View Lodge Katima Mulilo, Namibia. African Jacana, Water Thick-knee, Long-toed Lapwing, Collared Pratincole, White-crowned Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing.
26th: birding Island view lodge.
27th: drive to Shankara Lodge, Rundu.
28th: birding Shankara Lodge.
29th: drive to Lawdons Lodge (Drotsky's cabins)
30th: birding along the Okavango river. African Snipe, Lesser Jacana.
31st: drive to Thakadu Bush Camp. Spotted Thick-knee.
1st September: drive to Johannesburg.
2nd: birding local Risidale area, then Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens.
3rd: birding Parys area. Wader Quest talk at Delta Park Environmental Centre. Double-banded Courser.
4th: travel to Cape Town and Afton Grove guest house, Noordhoek, via Boulders beach Simon's Town. African Black Oystercatcher.
5th: birding around False Bay. Drive to Table View.
6th: birding around Western Cape province along the coast north of Table View. Chestnut-banded Plover, White-fronted Plover.
7th: birding Rooi-Els area, drive to Cape Town airport, return flight to UK.

We are also grateful to Trevor and Margaret Hardaker and Chris Spengler in the Western Cape area.  Chris showed us around the fynbos habitat around False Bay, Trevor took us birding on the 6th and got us the last of the target species and Margaret took us birding specifically to get Cape Rockjumper that we missed with Chris.
African Black Oystercatcher, False Bay Western Cape, South Africa.
We saw a total of 29 species of which 19 were new for Wader Quest. We missed some of the 26 possibles due to timing, they were northern migrants that had not yet arrived, and the remaining three were coursers which can always be tricky. The Wader Quest total is now 128 species.

Burchell's Courser, a hard bird to find, but thanks to Riƫtte Griesel we saw a group of 7 birds.
We raised £80.00 for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper captive breeding programme and $65.00 AU for the Hooded Plovers project at the talk given at the Delta Park Environmental Centre. We met many interesting and friendly birders at the talk and thank them for their support and generosity.

The Wader Qest lecture gets under way in Johannesburg.
We travelled a total of 26,647km (5,994.50 surface travel and 20,652.50 air travel).

Wader Quest had a fantastic and productive tour of southern Africa and we would like to thank everyone who was involved in the planning and execution of the whole thing. We appreciated the time that people gave freely to help us in our quest and know that without such support we would never have been able to see everything we did. We also hope that Wader Quest South Africa will be able to continue and gfrow so we can work together in the future to raise funds for small wader and shorebird projects around the world.

Wader Quest South Africa travelling companions at Elephant Sands.
Megan Sharland, Kim Oertli, Jenny Sharland, Peter Sharland and Sue Oertli.

Chris Spengler
Trevor and Margaret Hardaker.

Southern Africa, great place, great people and great birding!

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