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Warbler "Boot Camp" - Warbler Weekends
March 2015

These exclusive field courses on the tricky palearctic and wetland warblers have become something of a classic on the Southern African Birding Calendar !

Palearctic migrant warblers are among the most fascinating and remarkable birds one can see in Southern Africa. Many are tricky to identify and others hard to see. Top stars on these weekends include River Warbler, Thrush Nightingale, Olive-Tree and Icterine Warblers. Both weekends are run as field-courses with a mix of skills sessions, ID discussion and just plain good birding ! The second weekend has a bigger emphasis on the River Warbler - one of the most sought after birds in the region!

Due to popular demand over the last several seasons, we will be running two Warbler weekends in 2015. Note that due to the facilities and nature of the weekend numbers are limited to nine participants.

These are:

1. Warblers in the Field: 6 - 8 March 2014, Wolfhuiskraal.

2. Warblers in the Field (Long-Weekend) 19 - 22 March 2014

Both events are run as a field-course in the identification and location of warblers in South Africa, with an emphasis on the palearctic migrants which are present. These events take place in mid/late March, which is usually (depending on sufficient rains) prime time for the highly elusive River Warbler). Other Warbler species are also usually present, including Common White-throat, Olive-Tree Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Great Reed-Warbler and Sedge Warbler. Both weekends include a course booklet with additional information on warblers and the aim is to become confident in their identification and location.

This is of course a fantastic area for other birds. In recent years our "Warbler weekend" birdlists have included Western Marsh Harrier, Bronze-winged Courser, Southern White-faced Owl, Black-winged Pratincole, Collared Pratincole, Cuckoo Finch, Great Sparrow, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Baillon's Crake, European Nightjar, Pink-billed Lark and Red-footed Falcon to name a few!

Background and More Information

Come and take part in a birding weekend with a difference! This is currently the only birding event on the South African birding calendar specialising in seeing difficult warblers, and has become an annual event - which is usually booked out several months in advance. Based at Wolfhuiskraal - a bird-rich cattle ranch in the Zaagkuildrift area, these weekends will enable you to learn about this difficult group of birds, and work towards mastering the identification of warblers as well as learning how to watch and find them in the field. The March weekends takes place at the very best time to find the elusive and sought after River Warbler - which may be present if rainfall during mid and late summer is sufficient.

The weekends will be focussed on getting to know and getting to see several of the more difficult warblers, which are found in our region and become more active before migration. Species to be expected include Common White-throat, Olive-tree Warbler, Garden Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, and quite possibly at this time of year, the very elusive River Warbler. The latter usually requires an early start and some patience to have a chance of seeing, and we will be there at the right time to locate this bird, which has in some previous years been common in the area.

Depending on conditions, the wetland birding can also be excellent and apart from those mentioned above (2010), we expect to encounter species such as Dwarf Bittern, Greater Painted-Snipe, Lesser Moorhen, and even possibly Harlequin Quail and Baillon's Crake. Other species which occur in the area and which one may see at this time of year include Eurasian Hobby, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Cuckoo Finch, Kurrichane Buttonquail and Bronze-winged Courser. Rufous-bellied Heron, Saddlebilled Stork and African Pygmy-Goose have also been recorded and at times the floodplain is visited by large numbers of assorted herons and may also host pratincoles and harriers.

This is a self-catering weekend, and we will be staying at the new improved Wolfhuiskraal Bush Camp.

The house has several en-suite rooms, as well as rooms which share a bathroom, and/or for which the bathroom is outside. There is a well equipped kitchen and the braai area in front of the house will be the focus of much good cheer.

Firewood and braai-fires will be provided for the evenings.

Cost is dependent on the types of rooms used, please get in touch with us for pricing and availability. Booking of specific accommodation is on a first-payed first served basis and a 50% deposit is required to confirm your booking.

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Web Site Updated 27 May 2014 © Indicator Birding