By Ronnie Hazell
On Sunday 13 March, six teams, made up of Hermanus Bird Club members, took part in the annual Mini Big Birding Day.
Although light rain had been forecast for the morning, most of us managed to keep dry as the showers were pretty scattered.
To start at 6:00 a.m. was somewhat challenging as the overcast conditions did not allow any light through. Even so, two teams managed to find a Fiery-necked Nightjar, and most others saw Spotted Eagle-Owls.
Thereafter the teams set forth on their various routes. While some had more success than others, the general consensus was that everybody had a good time. It was hard to believe that 12 hours of concentrated searching could pass so quickly.
Meals were gobbled down at roadblocks, shortcuts were taken to arrive at special locations and, by the end of the day, speed limits were probably stretched somewhat in order to squeeze in one more bird.
At the ensuing prize-giving and braai, each team reported on the highlights of the day. It was interesting to hear what other twitchers had seen or missed.
Scores were varied, but one thing was certain – the winners were the Hermanus Harriers, comprising Graham and Barbara Palmer, Mike Ford, and Lee Burman. They came home with a record 135 species, followed closely by the Naughty Terns made up of Mike and Helen MacNaught and Gavin and Cynthia Turner with a very respectable 128.
For me it was a wonderful day – my first in this competition, but certainly not my last. This is what birding is about. The event provides a wonderful opportunity for people to get to know one another as well as to share their birding prowess and learn from the members of their team.
Let’s hope that more teams enter in future.