Bird Watching Tips

Sep 28, 2020 | 0 comments

Often when making a trip to a nature reserve such as Dinokeng Game Reserve, guests get caught up in ticking the Big 5 off their list of ‘must-see’ animals that they forget to look to the skies.

iKhaya LamaDube is situated in the Eastern Side of Dinokeng Game Reserve which is a great area for Birding and sometimes the most unusual sightings!

Here are our tips for making the most out of your bird-watching experience in the reserve, how to capture your sightings and what you can expect to see.

Top tips for bird watching

    1. Be quiet.
      Birds have much better hearing than humans and while you may  have gotten a good look at the bird, try contain your excitement to allow others with you to enjoy the sighting and possibly snap some pictures of your find.
    2. Keep it smooth.
      Avoid sudden movements which may startle the bird or flock
    3. Learn about habitats and behaviours.
      If you’re hoping to spot a particular bird you’ll need to know where to look and what behaviours to expect
    4. Look up!
      Albeit an obvious tip, sometimes one can get accustomed to looking through the thick savanna in hopes of spotting a lion and forget about our winged friends entirely!
    5. Have a decent pair of binoculars.
      The fact of the matter is that you might not enjoy birding, or you may lose interest if you can’t tell for sure what you’re looking at. If you’re not yet ready to commit to buying a new pair of binoculars, we suggest borrowing from a bird-loving friend before making your own purchase.
    6. Keep your phone on silent.
      Nothing can ruin a potentially great sighting more than an unwelcome phone call
    7. Lose the bright colours
      Try to wear neutral clothing which blends in with your environment
Little--Bee-eater bird watching
Birding-iKhaya-Crimson-Breasted-Shrike bird watching

Birding photography tips

  1. Practice on the little guys. 
    More common birds such as weavers, sparrows and robins are used to people and make good test subjects when getting used to understanding the behaviour and movements of birds. You’ll have enough opportunity to figure out your camera settings and learn your angles.
  2. Try birdwatching with the sun at your back. 
    Not only will you be able to identify the bird while witnessing all its colours and features but your photographs (generally taken with your camera pointed toward the sky) won’t be washed out due to hazy interference.
  3. Shoot at a high shutter speed. 
    Depending on the camera you have, you should be aiming to shoot at speeds of anywhere between 1/250 and 1/1600
  4. Patience! 
    Birdlife photography is about patience and waiting for the right moment to snap while striking a fine balance between not waiting too long before taking your picture in case your bird flies away.
  5. Invest in a large memory card and snap away.
    Consider a continuous shutter to capture multiple shots of your bird for you to sift through later

Birds you can expect to see while bird watching on the Eastern side of the Reserve:

  • Martial Eagle Breeding site Polemaetus bellicosus
  • Blue Cranes (Summertime) Anthropoides paradiseus
  • White-bellied Korhaan Eupodotis senegalensis
  • Secretary Birds Sagittarius serpentarius
  • African Snipe Gallinago nigripennis (During Raining season)
  • Snake Eagles Brown Circaetus cinereus and Black-chested Snake Eagle Circaetus pectoralis
  • Variety Lark and Pipet species
  • Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti
  • Recent Sighting of Swallow tail Bee-eater Merops hirundineus
  • Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloides
  • Marsh Owls Asio capensis

And more!

Have you seen any interesting birdlife in and around the Dinokeng Game Reserve? Don’t forget to tag us on social media so we can share your sightings with you!

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