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Gauteng Birding Survey 2006.

 

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Why a birders survey for the Wider Gauteng Region?



Like many other parts of Southern Africa, the Pretoria-Johannesburg region has it's own bird specials. Species that come to mind include Tinkling Cisticola, Orange-river Francolin, Melodious Lark and Grass Owl - all of which can be seen at relatively accessible sites in the region.

However, there are no species that unique to this area, and - as with most regions, the "specials list" could be regarded as somewhat arbitrary. Ultimately, for most birders, a special is a bird you have not seen, and the more rare, difficult or spectacular and unusual, the more the excitement of the chase. The survey aims to get a better idea of what birders really should be targeting when they visit the region, bearing in mind which other regions they have visited before.

The Pretoria-Johannesburg region (also referred to as the wider Gauteng Region) is defined broadly as within 100km from either Johannesburg and Pretoria, and most sites are within an hour of these two major centres.

The birds which are usually regarded as specials of this reagion include those which are difficult to see elsewhere, or most accessibly seen close to Johannesburg-Pretoria (especially if you live here). Some species are localised endemics (Melodious Lark), while others are potential splits (Short-toed Rock-thrush). The region also offers a variety of raptors such as Ayre's Eagle, Ovambo Sparrowhawk and in Summer, Amur Falcon, as well as a host of rather spectacular birds, which would feature on most birders wish list (Blue Crane, Secretarybird). Obviously the specials which one can see in a region are somewhat different if one is a first time visitor to Africa, as compared to someone who has lived and birded here for decades!

Because Johannesburg is the entry point for most international visitors, and Gauteng is the home of more birders than any other metropole in Africa, the list of "most desirable" specials is of interest for a number of reasons.

This survey is the first (as far as we know) attempt to "quantify" a specials list for a particular region, and base it on what people actually want to see, rather than on a theoretical "specials list"

Results for this survey will be made available to all participants in this survey, local bird-clubs and other interested role-players.

Prizes

In order to encourage participation in this survey, Indicator Birding is offering the following "lucky-dip" prizes which can be won by anyone taking part in our survey:

  • A full day free guided birding with Etienne Marais - from Johannesburg or Pretoria - to be "tailor-made" to focus on the birds you want to see. For an example of what this day can be like, see this day trip report.
  • A copy of "Pipits of Southern Africa", by Faansie Peacock (Delivered by Netbooks)
  • 1 Copy of the new edition of "The Photographic Guide to Southern African Birds", by Ian Sinclair and Ian Davidson Delivered by Netbooks
  • 1 Copy of the Southern African Birdfinder, By Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode and Jonathon Rossouw.


  • Web Site Updated 25 August 2006 © Indicator Birding
    e-mail: etienne@birding.co.za