Dale Jackson, Tanda Tula’s Operations Director, took part in the annual Birding Big Day hosted by Birdlife South Africa this past weekend. The challenge is to see or hear as many birds as you can in a 24 hour period within a 50km radius of your starting point.
He had an incredible day and saw some fantastic bird life, this is his story……
“With the onset of summer and some good rainfall the bird life in the Timbavati and Greater Kruger area is incredibly abundant at the moment. Resident birds and have taken on their breeding plumage and migratory species are arriving in their droves from higher up in Africa, Europe and even Asia. Fortunately, this coincides perfectly with our annual BBD!
Our team has competed in this event for the last 10 years and is made up of myself, Nick Squires, Warren Moore and Cathan Moore. Our starting point this year was just to the south of Olifants Camp in the Kruger National Park. With the magnificent Olifants River running directly in front of camp and some wonderful habitat along its banks we were treated to some really wonderful sightings.
Our day began with an early morning walk along the river line in the hope of finding the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl. Although we didn’t managed to see one we were treated to some wonderful sightings of Black-crowned Night Heron, White-backed Night Heron, Rufous-winged Cisticola and many more fantastic birds. We continued through the park towards Letaba Rest Camp to target some more water birds and were rewarded with wonderful views of Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff’s, Whiskered Terns and Yellow-billed Egret.
From Letaba it was further North to take in some grass and vlei areas and finish at Mopani Rest Camp where we were treated to a Peregrine Falcon hunting bats on the wing which was really something to witness; the speed and precision at which this falcon flies is truly something to take in.
We finished our day on 211 species, which is not our highest, but still pretty amazing! The highlight for me personally was just to take in the sheer beauty and vastness of the Kruger system which we are a part of.”