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Raptor Identification, Course in Centurion. Presented by Etienne Marais

Here is some feedback from a previous raptor course:

"thanks for the super course. I learnt a lot and hopefully all your wonderful tips will bear fruit in future field trips." Monica O'Leary, West Rand Honorary Rangers.

"Thanks again for the excellent presentation, I learned so much, and enjoyed it tremendously." Amanda Walden

It was a thorough, well organized weekend. I did not know what to expect but was certainly not disappointed. Bravo, thank you!....... Rex & Natascha Snelder

Thanks for the opportunity to do the Raptor Course with you over the weekend. It was most enjoyable, and I learnt a lot. I have always been a bit afraid of raptors because they are so difficult to identify, so they have always been a bit of a mystery to me. But I think I have more confidence now. Jean Kimble

Raptor Outing Summary 11 September

The raptor course includes a short field outing. The outing for the July course was held on 11 September and here follows a short report:

Sunday 11 September was an enjoyable early morning outing to Northern Farm with a group participating in a course on Raptor Identification. Before the raptors started showing we heard Red-chested Flufftail, and several African Reed Warblers were in full song (they were also present the week before). A Little Sparrowhawk flew over the dam and headed up into a big Pine Tree. Heading onto the second dam, we had a nice Half-collared Kingfisher which evaded most of the group as it left it's perch and shot down the creek. We then had a good look at a single South African Shelduck on the big dam where the hide is. Shortly afterwards a Long-crested Eagle appeared in a leafy tree before flying off. A little later a nice Black Sparrowhawk was seen perched in almost the same spot as the Long-Crested Eagle and it took off as well - carrying a prey item. Searching the area did not produce much else, save more fly-by views of the Long-crested Snake-Eagle. Last week, Dean who works at Northern Farm reported seeing 6 Long-crested Eagle in close proximity and showed me the photos - it seems that there are more of these birds around than one might think !!

We then headed down to the bottom of the farm and spent some time watching an immature Black-chested Snake-eagle - one of those very tricky raptors that often leads to birder "headaches"! We went in search of a pair of Ovambo Sparrowhawks that had been reported from some Eucalyptus trees - but there turned out to be a lot of trees. A rather rufous bird was disturbed and took off - not unlike the "rufous-form" immature Ovambo Sparrowhawk reported earlier in the week. Another Ovambo was then seen soaring up to a great height. We searched the area for a nest, and in the process flushed several Coqui Francolin. Then a male Ovambo Sparrowhawk was seen coming towards us from the western side carrying something, and it dived into the copse. The nest we found was "under-construction"

7 raptor species in time to get back and watch the Rugby and a total outing list of nearly 80 species!

Etienne Marais 12 September 2011
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