Winter birding at Welgevonden:

Gerhardt Lorist

Most birders feel that summer is the best time to go birding and they are right when you look at the species diversity that we have over the summer months with all the visiting migrants. However, winter birding can be just as rewarding, an added bonus being that when the trees drop their leaves it’s easier to see, identify and photograph all the birds.

All of the Southern-African, non-migratory eagles breed in the winter as there is just too much competition while the summer migrants are here. During the winter period an increase in the activity of resident raptors will be observed with these birds courting, mating and nest building, if they don’t have a nest they already used during previous seasons. If eagles are seen flying around with sticks in their talons attempt, to follow them and you may be rewarded with some nest building behaviour.

Due to the cooler winter temperatures the large birds that need the hot air thermals to gain altitude will be grounded until midmorning which increases the chance of seeing there beautiful birds up close.

Most large raptors are monogamous (mate for life) and both parents help with the incubation and feeding of the chicks. Males will often bring food to its mate while she incubates the eggs.

There are lots of raptor nests on Welgevonden, a number of which are close to the roads. Please report the location and species of raptors seen on these nests to gerhardt@welgevonden.org

Our most common large raptors are Black-breasted- and Brown Snake Eagles, African Hawk-Eagles and African Harrier Hawks (Gymnogene). There have also been sightings of Tawny, Martial, Fish and Verreaux’s (Black) Eagles.