Welgevonden Birding Big Day 2010

The annual Sappi BirdLife South Africa Birding Big Day was held on 27 November 2010. This competition is used as a fundraiser for BirdLife South Africa while at the same time collects data used for the study of bird demographics. The aim of this competition is for a team of birders to record as many bird species by sight or on call within a 24 hour period within a defined geographic area.

A team can enter this competition in various different categories and sub-categories, the Welgevonden Team entered under the “Traditional Birding Big Day – Farm category” and all birding was done within the boundaries of the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve. A standard team consists of 4 team members, for a bird species to be recorded two of the four team members need to see and identify the bird. If the bird is heard three of the four team members need to confirm the bird species. “Team Welgevonden” consisted of Gerhardt Lorist (Team leader), Marinus Lorist, John Lambert and Glen Parker. Shaun McCartney, Joshua Lewis and Jodi Hurwitz also joined the team for different parts of the day.

Welgevonden Birding Big Day started at 04h30 at the Main Gate area then moved into the reserve along the Taaibos Valley past Fig Tree plains and into the southern parts via Kudu Kloof and Lily Dam. The team returned to Main Gate via the Sterkstroom Valley after sunset.
As always, the Main Gate area proved very productive with around 80 species being recorded.

The southern area also proved very productive especially after the fires in this area in October. An additional 30 spp were added to the list in the southern part of the reserve, a juvenile Capped Wheatear caused a bit of excitement as it is easily confused with the rare vagrant the Northern Wheatear.

The “Team Welgevonden” total count for the day was 161 species (download here) which made Team Welgevonden the winners in the Farm Category. Of the 161 spp, 17 are endemic to Southern Africa with the team also recording an uncommon summer migrant, the European Honey buzzard

Nalana lodge also participated in the Birding Big Day and it was great to have an extra pair of eyes on the reserve to report on special birds. I would like to see more lodges enter this year.

Team Welgevonden would like to thank Mark Galbraith, from Wooded Peaks for the use of his game viewer and the WLOA for covering the fuel costs.