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  LBJ's Field Course - Larks, Pipits and Cisticolas

Next Course: 22-24 September 2017


This weekend is presented annually by Etienne Marais at Ezemvelo Nature Reserve - since 2004. The Weekend has earned a reputation as aImage of Zitting Cisticola hands on practical FIELD course on some of our more tricky and frustrating groups. Apart from showing you a wide array of LBJs, the weekend also aims to showcase the remarkable diversity of birds found in Eastern Gauteng and the area within and around Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, near Bronkhorstspruit.

The weekend is undoubtedly the best way to get to grips with the identification of the most important groups of LBJ's, namely Pipits, Cisticolas and Larks. The course is limited to 16 Participants.

Participants will receive a course booklet which includes a set of detailed notes on the identification of Larks, Pipits and Cisticolas, which include a lot of pointers which you will not find in the field guides. A lecture covers key aspects of identification and provides some insight into each of the species which occurs in the region. The field work is focussed on getting excellent and sustained views of the birds in question. On most of these weekends participants are able to study 7 Cisticolas, 5 Larks and 4 Pipits in the field.

After participating in this weekend, you will be able to identify a range of LBJ's with far greater confidence, and will have mastered the process required to get to grips with the more difficult birds.

Ezemvelo and Surrounds - an area of huge birding potential.

Ezemvelo offers excellent birding in grassland and transitional bankenveld habitats. The Wilge River cuts through kloofs and krantzes, creating habitat for riverine species, including African Finfoot, Half-collared Kingfisher and Black Duck, as well as a host of woodland and bushveld birds. Kloofs, kranztes and rocky outcrops hold Verreaux's Eagle, Alpine Swift, Striped Pipit and both Cape and Short-toed Rock-Thrush. Gauteng's only African Goshawks occur in wooded kloofs in this area.

Extensive vleis hold Red-chested Flufftail and numerous warblers, including Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, which is common here. The grassland is excellent for larks, including endemic Eastern Clapper, Melodious, Spike-heeled and Eastern Long-billed Lark.

While Ezemvelo is itself a very productive area, nearby grasslands provide added diversity and increase the chance of a seeing an amazing number of 10 Larks and 10 Cisticolas! While looking for these species there is also the chance of bumping into species like Denham's Bustard, Blue Crane and Temminck's Courser. Indeed on our last trip we saw all these species, and also a pair of Secretary birds

Other great birds we have encountered on the LBJ weekend are distinctly not LBJ's ! This is a good time for Nightjars and we have recorded four species on the weekends. African Cuckoo-Hawk, White-bellied Korhaan, Red-Chested Flufftail and Honey-Buzzard are among the best birds recorded on previous weekends.

Web page Updated 27 May 2017 © Indicator Birding