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Crocworld Conservation Centre reintroduces Monthly Lecture Series

The Crocworld Conservation Centre kicks off another series of conservation lectures this year, with the rescuing of baby flamingos

Crocworld reintroduces Monthly Conservation Lecture Series

Crocworld Conservation Centre is delighted to announce the return of its monthly environmental lecture series, which will be hosted at the newly launched Fish Eagle Café.

The first lecture in the series will take place on Saturday, 9th March. It will explore the rescue and rehabilitation of abandoned Lesser Flamingo chicks at Kamfers Dam near Kimberley in the Northern Cape.

According to Birdlife Africa, the Lesser Flamingo is listed as “Near-threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. This is mainly because of a declining population, few breeding sites, and human-induced threats to the breeding sites.

Kamfers Dam is one of only four breeding localities for Lesser Flamingos on the African continent and the only breeding locality in South Africa. It supports the largest permanent population of the species in Southern Africa, with an estimated population of sixty thousand Lesser Flamingos.

However, due to the severe drought, more than five thousand chicks and eggs were abandoned in January this year. The Kimberley SPCA approached various rehabilitation centres around South Africa, including the uShaka Sea World Animal Health Department, to assist in hand-rearing the Lesser Flamingo chicks.

The Crocworld Conservation Centre kicks off another series of conservation lectures this year, with the rescuing of baby flamingos
The Crocworld Conservation Centre kicks off another series of conservation lectures this year, with the rescuing of baby flamingos

 

Since 27th January staff at uShaka Sea World have worked tirelessly to rehabilitate more than 250 chicks. According to Ann Kunz of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), staff and volunteers have spent hours feeding chicks special feed through syringes and constantly monitoring the birds, many of which were initially in uShaka Sea World’s hospital.

“Last week, chicks were a delicate creamy white colour with some darker down feathers. Most of them are now sporting a pinkish tinge on their feathers with bright red faces and scarlet mouths. This week was a milestone as many of the chicks in special care have left the ICU and are spending a couple of hours each day in the high care enclosure outside, enjoying the sunshine,” said Kunz.

Join the staff from the uShaka Sea World Animal Health Department who will be sharing their fascinating experiences rearing these flamboyant birds at Crocworld Conservation Centre’s recently launched Fish Eagle Café. The restaurant boasts exquisite views, delicious food and great service, under the management of the vastly experienced Executive Chef and manager Morne van Zyl.

Martin Rodrigues, Crocworld Conservation Centre’s manager said, “We are ecstatic that our monthly lecture series is launching with such an interesting subject. We look forward to our guests enjoying a combination of knowledgeable experts in a picturesque venue.”

Registration for the event is at 08h30 with the lecture beginning at 09h00. Tickets will cost R50.00 and include an Early Bird Breakfast with a cup of percolated coffee, as well as entrance into Crocworld’s indigenous gardens, and bird and reptile centres.

For more information or to make a booking, contact Morne van Zyl at the Fish Eagle Café on083 658 7073 or email mvanzyl@cbl.co.za. Alternatively contact Martin Rodrigues on 078 484 1859 or Crocworld Conservation Centre on 039 976 1103.


Catch us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/thesardine.co.za/ where we also keep up a steady stream of news.

Check out our Trips and Travel menu above.

 

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Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1: tight game down on the Umzimkulu

The Fish Eagles of the Umzimkulu wake lodge guests at the Umzimkulu Marina, each morning. Don't worry though, they start at a reasonable hour - fishing time!

Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1

Our two resident fish eagles, a pair that have been living and breeding here on the lower Umzimkulu River, for decades it feels, were circling over head. The colours of the afternoon showing no sign of the impending cold front. The sun was out. The river had swelled magnificently since the mouth started closing.

And there were fish about. As I edged along the bouncy noisy floating jetty at the Umzimkulu Marina, a bunch of mullet were startled by something 50 m down towards the mouth. The blue-tailed guys were jumping for joy (according to science), and there were kingfish-like smashes going on, sporadically, all over. The perfectly calm water making it so much easier to see fish and movement.

Then one of my favourite things – a turtle! It popped his head up down where those mullet were having a panic from before. I cast one near him, kingfish and all sorts tag turtles when they hunting, but remembering a turtle ate my lure twice before in this river, I quickly cranked away.

Enjoying the scene, cast after cast, things looking good for putting in some real fishing time. And I really am looking for a garrick, to round off my winter estuary season.

And there came the fish eagle. Locked on target. Heading for the grunter bank in the middle, a hundred metres in front of me. Picking up speed and lowering trajectory he came in like a missile. Swooping in, the flaps came on and the the highly adapted landing gear came out.

Bang! Splash! Chaos!

The fish eagle literally came to a dead halt. Whaaaaat. We have twice seen the fish eagles here kill huge otters. And eat them all day right in front of us on Dead Man’s Island. So this was unbelievable!

As much as the eagles wings were flapping like crazy – the huge bird went right under for a second. But it came back up and the battle waged on. It looked like the fish eagle was still in the game at one point. The birds wings took for a moment, and I saw the huge back of whatever it was on the bottom end, being dragged up and out of the water. Huge, like 10kgs or so. But then a violent twist and huge splashing brought the eagle tumbling back down into the water.

The eagle came back up thrashing. And then it just let go!

Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1

The fish eagle then flew off into the sun, and found a rad spot on a huge tree. And let out a huge fish eagle cry. But it sounded like laughter. And when it’s partner joined in with a chorus – it also sounded very high spirited – like – “Hey man how big was that fish dude!” Whaaahaaahaaahaaa…

True fish eagles! Having a blast down on the river in the afternoon.

 

Come and join us down at the Umzimkulu River…get in touch on umzimkulu@gmail.com or check out our river fishing packages at the following link:

Umzimkulu Estuary Fishing

https://thesardine.co.za/product/umzimkulu-ambush-5-days/

 

 

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The Kruger Park with Krugerview Backpackers in Komatipoort

The Kruger Park with Krugerview Backpackers in Komatipoort

Staying at the Krugerview Backpackers in Komatipoort means a lot of things to us today…

Firstly, it’s forecast for today, at Skukuza Camp in the Kruger Park, to be an easy 45 degrees. Which means that in all likelihood, and according to the locals, Komatipoort might hit over a queasy 50 degrees!?

Secondly however, you can escape to the more moderate climes of Skukuza and other Kruger camp pools, with a quick drive. Being a mere 12 km from Crocodile Gate, Komatipoort is the ideal fun border town to break your journey between the Kruger Park, and Mozambique. Ressano Garcia is about the same distance in the other direction.

If you stay at Krugerview Backpackers, just behind the town in the pretty residential suburb, you literally look out from the huge open plan lounge and viewing deck, and into the Kruger Park. The park extends eastwards and south from Crocodile Gate, to Ressano Garcia.

You also get to wallow in the cool pool, chill in the heavenly breeze, and refresh yourself with an ice cold something.

Rates are great, it’s clean and homely, with all kinds of backpacker type accommodation options.

Secure parking and coded gate with restaurants in walking distance. Delicious Portuguese African fusion in house food available on request.

Free Wi-fi and a great kitchen and dining area round off a really classy backpackers in a fantastico location.

Contact the Krugerview Backpackers team here.

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Expert addresses challenges facing wildlife at monthly Crocworld Conservation Centre talk

Expert addresses challenges facing wildlife at monthly Crocworld Conservation Centre talk

Increasing human encroachment into natural areas and the accompanying environmental impact is threatening the lives of our ever-diminishing wildlife population. Director of the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), Paul Hoyte, will be talking about ‘The Challenges Facing Our Wildlife’ as part of Crocworld Conservation Centre’s monthly lecture series, taking place at 9am on Saturday, 8 October.

Having joined the CROW team as Marketing and Communications’ Officer in 2013, Hoyte immediately took to his role of raising the public image and profile of the organisation and its work in local wildlife rehabilitation.

His dedication to the Yellowwood Park-based centre was evident and – with the 36-year-old organisation’s strong belief in succession from within – Hoyte was appointed as Director of CROW in July this year, taking over from valuable predecessor, Claire Hodgkinson.

“As Director, my role involves fundraising, marketing, strategic partnership development and, of course, heading up the organisation’s dedicated team of staff and volunteers,” explained Hoyte. “I have experience in operations’ management from my previous work experience and am currently completing a degree in Communication Science through Unisa.”

CROW was established as one of South Africa’s first wildlife rehabilitation centres dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of all indigenous wildlife found in KwaZulu-Natal. It is run by a small, yet experienced team of staff and volunteers who assist more than 3 000 orphaned, injured and displaced animals every year. From mongoose, genets and monkeys to birds, reptiles and antelope, CROW gives these distressed animals a second chance at a free, safe and sustainable life. As with all registered, non-profit organisations, CROW relies solely on the support and goodwill of the public locally and internationally to ensure the doors remain open.

“In my years at CROW I have learned so much about the impact we as a society have on our wildlife every single day, from a simple piece of litter to not recycling or conserving water,” explained Hoyte. “Collectively, people have more influence over their surrounds than they realise, from micro to macro. Through this talk, I want people to see the dangers we create while providing them with practical ways to slightly adjust their daily habits so that they can reside in harmony with all living creatures. It’s our way of life that create the challenges faced by wildlife each day and the main reason thousands of animals get admitted to CROW each year.”

The hour-long talk is sure to provide the audience with some astounding insights into our natural world and what we can do to make a difference. Guests are encouraged to arrive for registration and welcoming at 8.30am, with the talk set to begin at 9 am, after which there will be time for questions before complimentary tea and coffee are served. Tickets will include entry into the park and cost R75 per adult and R35 for pensioners and scholars.

Guests are also invited to stay after the talk to discover the rest of the park. Birders will relish the opportunity to explore the park’s aviaries, which house endemics like the Blue Crane as well as local favourites like the Knysna Turaco. The park is also home to an impressive collection of snakes, crocodiles and alligators, while more than 200 wild bird species have been spotted on its grounds. Refreshments will be available for purchase at sea-view restaurant Le Rendez-Vous, while those with an interest in gardening should pay a visit to onsite Izinyoni Indigenous Nursery.

To ensure availability, tickets for the talk must be reserved in advance. To book your place, contact Nolean Allun, Crocworld Conservation Centre on 039 976 1103 or 083 654 9651 or email crocworld. Account Details: Crocworld (Crookes Brothers Limited) Banking Details: FNB, Branch: Scottburgh, Branch Code: 220227, Account Number: 53640119111. Please fax the proof of payment to 039 978 3279.
For more information about Crocworld Conservation Centre, visit www.crocworld.co.za, @CrocworldCC on Twitter, or Crocworld Conservation Centre on Facebook. To find out more about Izinyoni Indigenous Nursery, which is located on the grounds of the centre and open to the public from Monday to Saturday between 8am and 1pm, visit www.izinyoni-nursery.co.za.

Director of the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), Paul Hoyte
Director of the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), Paul Hoyte
This Black Sparrowhawk was released after being found covered in a bird repellent gel and unable to fly. Fortunately for this little guy, the CROW team were able to clean the sticky substance off his feathers and get him back into the wild.
This Black Sparrowhawk was released after being found covered in a bird repellent gel and unable to fly. Fortunately for this little guy, the CROW team were able to clean the sticky substance off his feathers and get him back into the wild.
CROW River Clean-up.
CROW River Clean-up.
Monkey Covered in oil.
Monkey Covered in oil.
This Blue Duiker was recently released onto a reserve in the North Coast after narrowly escaping the clutches of a poacher.
This Blue Duiker was recently released onto a reserve in the North Coast after narrowly escaping the clutches of a poacher.

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Expert Ornithologist David Allan to give talk on Raptors at Crocworld Conservation Centre

Expert Ornithologist David Allan to give talk on Raptors at Crocworld Conservation Centre

Expert Ornithologist David Allan to give talk on Raptors at Crocworld Conservation Centre

Expert Ornithologist David Allan to give talk on Raptors at Crocworld Conservation Centre
Expert Ornithologist David Allan to give talk on Raptors at Crocworld Conservation Centre

Fans of Crocworld Conservation Centre’s monthly environmental talks are in for a treat on May 14th, when renowned ornithologist David Allan will become the latest in the park’s long line of influential speakers. Entitled ‘Birds of Prey – New Frontiers in our Knowledge and Identification”, Allan’s talk promises to carry on the series’ tradition of celebrating the fascinating flora and fauna of Southern Africa.

 

In his talk, Allan will give guests an insight into two of his most recent field trips. On the first of these trips, Allan helped several esteemed ornithologists from overseas to document the presence of a bird of prey only recently recorded for the first time in Southern Africa. On the second, he joined a team investigating the status of a rare bird of prey in Zululand – and it is tales of these fascinating exploits that will form the core of his talk on May 14th.

 

Allan will also explore the new developments that have allowed scientists to better understand the status of southern African raptors, and to more easily identify one species from the next. In particular, he will go into detail regarding the Bateleur Eagle, Zululand’s Southern Banded Snake Eagles, and the identification of buzzard species throughout the region. With several decades of birding experience under his belt, no-one is more qualified to talk on this subject than Allan.

 

Allan’s illustrious career in ornithology began whilst working for the Percy FitzPatrick Institute for African Ornithology and the Avian Demography Unit, both at the University of Cape Town. After moving to Durban over 20 years ago, he joined the Durban Natural Science Museum – where he now works as the Curator of Birds. Allan has authored and co-authored several books on birds of prey, the most recent of which is entitled Geographical Variation of Southern African Birds.

 

Crocworld Conservation Centre General Manager Martin Rodrigues is excited to welcome Allan to the park, saying “David Allan is a fantastic speaker and a real expert in ornithology. It is always such an honour and a privilege to have an individual of his calibre speak as part of our conservation talk program”. Rodrigues goes on to encourage guests to book swiftly for Allan’s talk, which promises to be one of the most popular yet.

 

The talk will begin at 9:00am on May 14th, although guests are asked to arrive at 8:30am for registration. Allan will speak for approximately one hour, after which there will be time for questions before tea and coffee are served. Tickets for the talk are priced at R75 per adult, and R35 for pensioners and scholars. All tickets include entrance into the Centre, and guests are warmly invited to stay after the talk and explore the park’s amazing reptile and bird displays.

 

Those that wish to make a day of it may purchase lunch from on-site restaurant Le Rendez-Vous, while Inzinyoni Indigenous Nursery is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in horticulture. The nursery is located on the grounds of Crocworld Conservation Centre and open to the public from Monday to Saturday from 08h00 until 13h00. To ensure a place for Allan’s talk, guests are kindly asked to confirm bookings in advance.

 

To make your reservation contact: Nolean Allun, Crocworld Conservation Centre on (039) 976 1103/ (083) 654 9651 or e-mail crocworld@cbl.co.za.

 

Account Details: Crocworld (Crookes Brothers Limited) Banking Details: FNB, Branch: Scottburgh, Branch Code: 220227, Account Number: 53640119111. Please fax the proof of payment to (039) 978 3279.

 

For more information about Crocworld Conservation Centre visit www.crocworld.co.za @CrocworldCC on twitter and Crocworld Conservation Centre on Facebook. To find out more about the Izinyoni Indigenous Nursery visit www.izinyoni-nursery.co.za

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Birding in Zimbabwe with Paul Cook

Paul Cook Birding in Zimbabwe. Taken at Pine Tree Inn in Juiliusdale, Zimbabwe, on a recent trip across Africa.

Birding in Zimbabwe with Paul Cook

Rollin into Juliusdale I took every wrong turn I could. Fresh into a new country, Zimbabwe, new roads for us everywhere, but soon the dusk brought us to our journeys end, Froggy Farm, a few kilometres out of Juliusdale.
Our host at Froggy Farm, eager botanist, agronomist, poet and birder – Terry Dawson, has known The Sardine’s Birding Editor, Paul Cook, leader of our current foray, for eaons.

Indigenous fig tree is host to all kinds of bird. Birding in Zimbabwe
Indigenous fig tree is host to all kinds of bird, at Froggy Farm. Birding in Zimbabwe is keeping us busy as we head towards Kariba.

Soon The Frenzy and I were lost in a cacophony of bird speak and Rhodesianisms, gestures and all.
Then the sound of an Wood Owl penetrated the stone walls of Terry’s magnificent hilltop dwelling. Even The Frenzy took note now and it wasn’t a second before the third testament – The Roberts Book, was on the table, open at the right page. The birders were eagerly trying to recruit The Frenzy to their ranks, and they were winning!
When on a game drive, one of my pet hates is coming across an eagerly parked solitary vehicle. Usually with 6 to 8 passengers, and each one engaged in a starting much with an invisible animal deep in the bush somewhere. I stare and scope excitedly only to realise they are birders!
But then it’s easy to notice how many different birds species abound. And each with their own distinct character and behaviours…
Determined. Thief. Romantic. Cuckolder. Weird. Crazy. Heralder. Protector. Devious. Pious. Faithful. Mischievous. Dogged. Annoying. Intelligent. Crafty…
Birds seem, as most animals, to possess a portion of the human id, in one form or another. And they use these developed traits for survival.

So it is with this revelation that we begin Paul Cooks tenure as editor and chief blogger of The Sardine Birding column.
The Birding column is sponsored by Yamaha Inhambane.