Sasol Marakele Birding Breakaway 2010

Dr Pat Benson wat ‘n praatjie oor die Kransaasvoëls gelewer het. Hy is reeds vir die afgelope 30 jaar besig om die Kransberg kolonie te monitor.

THABAZIMBI – The Honorary Rangers of Marakele National Park were the first to present a birding week-end (about 16 years ago) with the sponsorship of SASOL. This event was celebrated during the week-end of 15-17 October when 35 birders converged at the Bontle Camping Site to tick as many birds as possible during the annual birding week-end.

Die voorafgaande week het ‘n groot brand in die Vaalharts/Thabazimbi/Alma-omgewing gewoed en, volgens berigte, het tot 50% van Marakele afgebrand. Dit het entoesiaste egter nie afgeskrik nie. Van beginners tot gesoute voëlkykers het die naweek bygewoon, met sterk verteenwoordiging van die Johannesburgse en Oos-Randse voëlklubs. Daar was selfs ‘n voëlkyker uit Zambië wat spesiaal moeite gedoen het om na Marakele te kom en uiteindelik drie ‘lifers’ gekry het.

Almal het kampeer in die Tsessebe-sirkel en goeie vriendskapsbande is gou gesmee, veral tydens Vrydagaand se kaas-en-wyn. Saterdag is daar teen ligdag begin met soektogte en teen die tyd dat die aandvuur gebrand het vir braaivleis, het die talle spanne reeds oor die 70 voëls afgetik.
Gerrie Jansen van Rensburg from BirdLife Northern Gauteng (Chairperson: Bird Ringing) acted as our bird specialist and was available to answer questions and adjudicate rarities. Two new sightings were added to the Marakele bird list: the Black-fronted Bush Shrike and Yellow-bellied Greenbul. When Gerrie called the list during brunch on Sunday morning 162 birds were ticked, with one team having achieved a total of 97 for the week-end – and this without leaving the camp on Sunday morning! Prizes, sponsored by the Chamberlain group, Random House/Struik and Briza publishers were handed out for rarities and the highest totals. A lucky draw ensured that numerous birders received the Africa Geographic calendar of  ‘Southern African Birds 2011’ and various other items, all sponsored by SASOL.

On Saturday evening the well-known vulture specialist, Pat Benson, gave an instructive talk on vultures around the world, where he had been involved in studies, but concentrated on the Kransberg vultures. He rents a house below the Marakele breeding colony and is still monitoring this colony.

Gerrie het ook Saterdagaand met die teenwoordiges gesels en wenke gegee oor hoe om voëls op te spoor. Insiggewend was sy inligting oor die verbod op die gebruik van ‘reuk en klank’ om diere te steur of op te spoor in natuurreservate, veral Nasionale Parke. Dit het voëlkykers se oë laat rek, want bykans almal wou (of het reeds) gebruik gemaak van PDA’s.

Na die bedrywighede gereël deur die Ereveldwagters was talle mense traag om die Nasionale Park te verlaat en het nog vir oulaas deur Kwaggasvlakte gery om te kyk of hulle nog voëls kon opspoor. Die naweek was so genotvol dat almal aangetoon het hulle wil die volgende SASOL Birding Breakaway bywoon in 2011.