Flight for Birders

Flight for Birders

A bird identification course for novice and intermediate bird-watchers:     

Bosheuwel Environmental Educational Centre, Agulhas National Park

11 & 12 May 2017

The “Flight for Birders” bird identification and conservation course by Dr Anton Odendal will be presented at Bosheuwel, Agulhas National Park on 11 & 12 May 2017. This course is aimed at bird-watchers from the greater Overberg region. We have been requested to develop regionally specific sections for this course and this has now been done. The feature on birding destinations will focus on bird-watching opportunities in the West Coast National Park and the Cape Whale Coast birdfinder web page will be practically illustrated highlighting the difficult to identify birds of the region. The section on birding tourism will focus on the critical role that the Western Cape in general and the Cape Agulhas region in particular could play in this regard.

The costs include the course notes and a certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa – roughly 1,600 slides and drawings will be used. In many cases images of similar and potentially confusing species have been combined on the same slide in order to illustrate differences. The development of an infrastructure for birding tourists in local areas will also be highlighted.  In the vast majority of the slides English and Afrikaans names of species are printed onto the slide.   The course focuses on basic steps in the identification of birds, places heavy emphasis on where to find the rare and often endemic birds in southern Africa and illustrates how ordinary bird-watchers could become involved in the conservation of birds and their habitats.



  • One of the bird guide books (Newman’s, SASOL or Robert’s), preferably one that you are prepared to make notes in to illustrate key identification features of species. “The Raptor Guide of Southern Africa” (Expanded Edition) by Ulrich Oberprieler will be very helpful during the section on Birds of Prey.
  • Notebook and pen
  • Binoculars
  • Comfortable walking shoes (Second day only)
  • Hat and sunscreen (Second day only)
  • Lunch picnic basket
  • Coffee and tea will be provided.


DAY 1: Thursday 11 May

(Kindly note that short breaks will be taken on the hour).

08h30 to 09h00:  Registration

09h00 to 10h00:  The basic approach to Flight for Birders and what to look for when trying to identify a bird

10h00 to 10h15:  Tea

10h15 to 11h15:  The identification of garden birds

11h15 to 12h30:   A special section on some of the brood parasites  of southern Africa and their host species:  Cuckoos, whydahs, honeyguides and indigobirds.

12h30 to 13h00: Lunch

13h00 to 14h00:  How to prepare when visiting a new birding area:  Illustrating the Cape Whale Coast birdfinder web-page

14h00 to 14h30:   A focus on birding tourism – the critical role that the Western Cape Province in general and the Cape Agulhas region in particular could play in this regard

14h30 to 15h15:  How to prepare before visiting a new area – a case-study on birding in the West Coast National Park, featuring the waders of the Western Cape

15h15 to 16h00:  An overview of some threatened birds in Southern Africa: what are conservation agencies  trying to do about the problem through conservation programs and how can ordinary birders help?

  1. The Dyer Island Conservation Trust: Working towards saving AFRICAN PENGUINS
  2. BLSA’s ALBATROSS Task Force
  3. There is hope for AMUR FALCONS migrating through India

DAY 2: Friday 12 May

08h00 to 09h00:  Practical outing in small groups applying the principles taught – weather permitting

09h00 to 10h15:  Those difficult to identify species – the “Little Brown Jobs” of the Western Cape

10h15 to 10h30:  Tea

10h30 to 11h00:  The identification of raptors and birds of prey

11h00 to 11h45:  The identification of raptors and birds of prey (Continued)

11h45 to 12h30:   A special focus on the Owls of southern Africa

12h30 to 13h00:  Lunch

13h00 to 14h00:  The identification of the fairly common waterbirds in the Overberg region.

14h00 to 15h00:  Focus on the swallows, swifts & martins and the terns of the Western Cape

15h00 to 15h30: The 101 species in southern Africa that every avid birder needs to be able to identify – how to distinguish between the various families of birds.  (An open-ended participatory discussion on photographs of the most common birds representing different families of birds).

15h30+: Closure.


DATES: 11 & 12 May 2017

VENUE:   Bosheuwel Environmental Educational Centre, Agulhas National Park

COSTS:  R 500-00 for adults that include the course notes & certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa.


Kindly note that gift vouchers for attendance of the course are now also available – an ideal gift for friends and family members interested in nature in general and birds in particular.


Contact Elaine at mwjasser@mweb.co.za or 082 455 8402.  All further queries could also be forwarded to Elaine.

Details and course programme.