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A classroom for Benson’s community

25 Jun
The late Benson Bamutura. Photo Eelco Meyjes

The late Benson Bamutura. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Benson Bamutura, who was one of the very few people in the world to see the elusive Shelley’s crimsonwing finch,  sadly passed away 26 January 2014.

In memory of this great bird man it is planned to build a classroom in his home village in Uganda. Please read the link below. We would like to ask all our Rare Finch Conservation Group friends and supporters to consider making a donation, no matter how big or small, to this very worthwhile initiative by the Michigan State university in the US.

Without Benson we would not have been able to complete our first field study in Uganda on the threatened Shelley’s crimson-wing finch, nor would we have been able to conduct our very first RFCG fund raising EcoTour

 

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Frank Mabasa is a top bird guide in the famous Kruger National Park

10 Feb
Frank Mabasa ( center ) pointing out a variety of fire finch species that could be seen at Crooks corner near the Pafuri picnic spot in the Kruger National Park. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Frank Mabasa ( center ) pointing out a variety of fire finch species that could be seen at Crooks corner near the Pafuri picnic spot in the Kruger National Park. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Frank Mabasa has already identified more than 258 bird species in one of the wildest and remote parts of the Kruger National Park. With more than 17 years of  working as a guard and looking after the Pafuri picnic spot , which is in the most northern part of the KNP, and often referred to as the absolute mecca for birders and twitchers he is always willing to help guests find that very special species.

Frank Mabasa receives a RFCG cap, coffee mug and T shirt from Eelco Meyjes in appreciation for his valuable services as a bird guide

Frank Mabasa receives a RFCG cap, coffee mug and T shirt from Eelco Meyjes in appreciation for his valuable services as a bird guide. Photo Kevin Solomon

Frank already in his early years showed a very keen interest in birds and today is able to mimic many of their calls. In 2006 BirdLife South Africa recognised his talents and he successfully qualified as a bird guide. Guests on the recent RFCG EcoTour to the Kruger National Park had the opportunity to meet him and enjoy the benefits of his vast experience.

Some of the finches that can be seen in this very northern part of the park are the indigo finches, a variety of the fire finches, violet ears, pin tailed whydahs , common waxbills, melbas and the very seldom seen lemon-breasted canary.

Strong interest for doing a similar 23 day tour has already been indicated.( See the Kruger National Park, Botswana and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe ) For those finch enthusiasts that may wish to participate on the next tour please contact either Russell Kingston at indruss@bigpond.com or Eelco Meyjes at editor@avitalk.co.za. All tour participants will be required to sign an indemnity form prior to departure. All profits are donated to the Rare Finch Conservation Group.

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is dependant on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za

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SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

The end of a very sad week

31 Jan
Benson Bamutura

Benson Bamutura. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Benson Bamutura, who became a legend within the RFCG and was one of the very few people in the world to see the elusive Shelley’s crimsonwing finch, sadly passed away on Sunday 26 January. He was buried on Monday 27 January at his home in Bigadi, near Kibale national park in Uganda.

Without Benson the RFCG would not have been able to do its first field project in Uganda nor would it have been able to do its first EcoTour

Benson was a great man and he really knew his birds well. Everyone he met always liked him immediately

Benson played an important role in helping to make the world aware of the rarity of the Shelley’s crimsonwing finch.

May his soul rest in peace

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Join the exciting RFCG EcoTour to Australia in July 2014

20 Nov
The spectacular Gouldian Finch from Australia. Photo Russell Kingston

The spectacular Gouldian Finch from Australia. Photo Russell Kingston

IT’S A TRIP OF A LIFETIME
1) Attend the Queensland finch Societies Inc. 5th International finch convention in Brisbane, Australia. The 3 day convention is held every 3 years. Includes a gala dinner, top international and local speakers, conservation work matters, workshops, healthcare, aviary tours, specialist vendors.
2 ) See Russell Kingstons world class facilities in the Harvey Bay area plus many other top class facilities.
3 ) See Mike Fidlers world famous gouldian finch research centre in the Hunters Valley area near Sydney
4 ) All airfares, meals and accommodation are included

TOUR DATES : 2 to 13 July 2014

Your tour host will be world renowned author on finches Russell Kingston. For more information contact Eelco Meyjes at editor@avitalk.co.za . All tour participants will be required to sign an indemnity prior to departure.

THIS WILL BE THE LAST BLOG UNTIL MID DECEMBER. EELCO MEYJES IS CURRENTLY ON THE RFCG ECOTOUR TO THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, BOTSWANA AND ZIMBABWE. ALL PROFITS FROM THE TOUR WILL BE  DONATED TO THE RARE FINCH CONSERVATION GROUP

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is dependant on donors and sponsors to carry out its finch conservation work in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za

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SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

RFCG flies its flag with great pride and honour

26 Oct

Conservation work is all about endurance and perseverance. Success does not come easy and in essence it is not for the faint hearted. Based on this reality it made good sense to link the Rare Finch Conservation Group brand name to long distance cycling events

The new RFCG cycling top that will be seen at major long distance cycling events in South Africa. Photo Eelco Meyjes

The new RFCG cycling top that will be seen at major long distance cycling events. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Starting last year with Alex Antrobus and Murray Baumont, who cycled all the way from Johannesburg to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, then onto Nairobi in Kenya, a distance of more than 5000 km, it started a healthy new trend. They wore their T shirts with great pride wherever they went and it gave the RFCG some very good exposure.

Part of our strategy this year is to promote the RFCG brand name to a wider audience outside the relatively small avicultural community. With time this audience may become a valuable support group for the work that we do.

It all started in 2012 with Alex Antrobus ( left ) and Murray Beaumont who cycled from Joburg to Uganda and then onto Kenya wearing the RFCG brand name with great pride

It all started in 2012 with Alex Antrobus ( left ) and Murray Beaumont, who cycled from Joburg to Uganda and then onto Kenya. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Cycling is the new golf in the world, and it is one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa. Over the next couple of months the brand name will be seen at some of the countries premier long distance off road and on road cycling  events. Starting with the 55 km 94.7 MTB challenge on 10 November , then the 94.7 km road cycle challenge, The 110 km Cape Argus challenge in Cape Town in March and ending with the 900 km 9 day Joberg2C off road cycle event in April 2014. Exposure to the brand will be seen by a good few hundred new people, not to mention the times that it will be visible during all the training rides required to participate in these long distance events.

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependant on donors and sponsors to carry out its finch conservation work. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za

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SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

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