More blue swallows counted this year
The second annual national blue swallow count which took place on November 13 and 14, 2004 found a total of 134 adult birds. This number is an increase of 40 birds from the count in 2003. The birds were all found in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, and for the second year no birds were seen in Limpopo.
The majority of the swallows breed in KwaZulu-Natal, with most birds being found in the Richmond, Donnybrook and Ixopo area. A total of 107 birds were seen in the province. The remaining 27 birds were found in Mpumalanga, in the Graskop and Sabie areas. Five chicks were seen at two known nests during the count. A pair is known to be breeding in the Kaapsehoop area, but no birds were counted during the official census.
The birds, considered to be critically endangered in South Africa and vulnerable worldwide, come to South Africa in September to breed before returning to more northerly parts of Africa in April.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Blue Swallow Working Group carried out the count, which was sponsored by Sappi, the World Wide Fund for Nature SA, The Green Trust and Rand Merchant Bank. Individual sponsors who donated prizes include Big Sky Fishing and Outdoor (Sabie), Soul Creations (Kaapsehoop), Design for Africa and Amble Inn.
Guided tours to see blue swallows are carried out in Kaapsehoop by Edward Themba. He can be contacted on 072 340 5588.
BirdLife South Africa in conjunction with Mr Roy Cowgill will be running a week-long bird course at the Sappi/WWF – SA BirdLife Training Centre at Wakkerstroom from 20 – 27 January 2005.
The aim of the course is to allow aspirant guides or people simply interested in birds the opportunity to spend an entire week studying the different aspects of birds and will cover issues such as what makes a bird a bird, basic bird identification, bird families, parasitism and migration to name a few. Guiding skills will also be included. This is not a guide qualification course.
The cost for the entire course, which includes stationery, meals, accommodation, lectures, lecture notes and field outings, is R2800.00 per person. Accommodation is provided. The closing date for bookings is 15th January 2005.
For further information or to book please contact Nigel Anderson on: Telephone 017 – 7300433 or E-mail Wakkerstroom@birdlife.org.za