19 August 2014: Lecture on Raptors

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East Rand Bird Club, Benoni

I was invited to lecture on raptors during the monthly evening meeting of the East Rand Bird Club in Benoni. The enthusiastic feedback gave evidence that everyone enjoyed my “It’s NOT a Kingfisher” presentation. Thank you, Henriëtte and Willem, for arranging this.

Raptors Benoni


15 – 17 August 2014: Touch-the-Earth – Pilanesberg National Park

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Touch-the-Earth Wilderness Trails

This unique organisation runs fascinating trails in Pilanesberg. The eight of us enjoyed the weekend tremendously. Warren, Johan and Mark are outstanding guides while Robbie impressed us with his cooking skills on the camp fire.

I have joined forces with Touch-the-Earth to conduct unique birding and wilderness weekends in Pilanesberg in future. Please see the Tours & Outings page for detail.

Pilanesberg 1Photo by: Robbie Young



26 July 2014: Lecture on Raptors of the Pretoria Country Club

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BirdLife Northern Gauteng

Philip Calinikos, Chair of BirdLife Northern Gauteng (, invited me to address members of the Pretoria Country Club on the raptor species recorded at the club. These include birds such as the Shikra (see photo) which breed in the tall trees.

The two organisations are currently conducting a survey of the birds which use the various habitats on the golf courses, either seasonally or permanently. Philip’s presentation gave interesting insight into the occurrence and behaviour of these creatures. Thank you, Philip.

Pretoria Country Club

Photo by: Alan Knott-Craig



12 – 13 July 2014: Drakensberg – the Chain Ladder

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This family outing started at midnight on the Saturday morning when we left Pretoria. We arrived at the Sentinel car park at around 5 o’clock – just in time to have an hour’s sleep before breakfast. It was bitterly cold, the wind cutting into any exposed flesh.

The walk via the chain ladder to the top of the Amphitheatre took us the whole day and we reached the car park again as the sun was setting. Then it was off to a guest farm where the spent the night.

An unforgettable weekend!

Drakensberg- Chain ladder


4 – 6 July 2014: First Aid Course

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South African First Aid League

Anna and I completed a First Aid Level I course to comply with legislative requirements. Thank you, Maria of the Bushveld Mosaic Environmental Course, for allowing us to join your group of students. My thanks also to the presenter, Etienne Step of the South African First Aid League, for including wilderness aspects such as the treatment of bites by venomous creatures. This was not the first course I have attended on the subject, but certainly the most comprehensive, professional and enjoyable.

First Aid - Ulrich    First Aid - Anna