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AFRICA CALLS ! See stunning wildlife and spectacular finches

22 Jul
Cheetah in the Kruger National Park. Photo Kevin Solomon. RFCG 2013 EcoTour guest

Cheetah in the Kruger National Park. Photo Kev Solomon. RFCG EcoTour guest

Join the 2014 RFCG EcoTour to Africa. Following last year’s highly acclaimed tour it’s been decided to organise another tour this year following the same itinerary. The 23 day EcoTour to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe  will depart from Sydney 21 November and return 14 December*. The tour has been designed to not only see a lot of Africa’s  impressive wildlife, but to take maximum advantage to see many of Africa’s wonderful weavers, whydahs and widow finches in their summer nuptial plumage ( Some of the magnificent finches that our guests can expect to see are: Long-tailed Widowbirds, Red-collared Widowbirds, White-winged Widowbirds, Golden Bishops, Red Bishops, Pin-tailed Whydahs, Paradise Whydahs, Shaft-tailed whydahs, Steel-blue widow finches, Black widow finches, Village indigo birds, Dusky indigo birds, Masked Weavers, Thick-billed weavers, Red-headed weavers, Red-billed buffalo weavers, White-browed sparrow weavers and with a bit of luck the spectacular Broad-tailed Paradise whydah plus many of their host species such as Melbas, Violet-Eared waxbills,  Scaly feathered finches, Common waxbills, Black-faced waxbills plus many, many more )

We will be looking for Red Billed fire finches and Blue waxbills next to the mighty Victora falls in Zimbabwe. Phote Eelco Meyjes

We will be looking for Red Billed fire finches and Blue waxbills next to the mighty Victoria falls in Zimbabwe. Phote Eelco Meyjes

The trip will include a 6 day stay in the world famous Kruger National Park at different camp sites. From there the tour will move onto Botswana to experience the majestic and silent beauty of the Okavango Delta. A 3 day stop over near the Chobe river game reserve, in Northern Botswana, has also been included not to mention a visit to the mighty and thunderous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, where we should see red billed fire finches and blue waxbills in the Victoria Falls rain forest nature reserve. All along the route, between these three countries, the group will stop at various key locations to see many of Africa’s most beautiful finches.

Safari tent accommodation example at Nata Lodge. Botswana. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Safari tent accommodation example at Nata Lodge. Botswana. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Accommodation will be comfortable and every effort will be made to ensure that this tailor made finch safari is a truly once in a lifetime experience for all our guests. The tour will once again be hosted by Russell Kingston and Eelco Meyjes. Space is limited to a maximum of 8 guests only. This is to ensure best viewing opportunities. All guests will be required to sign an indemnity prior to the tour commencing

For more information on this exciting 2014 summer RFCG EcoTour to Africa contact RussellKingston indruss@bigpond.com or Eelco Meyjes editor@avitalk.co.za.

* Guests can come from any country, but everyone will need to be in Johannesburg on Saturday 22 November at the commence of the tour.

All profits are donated to the Rare Finch Conservation Group which is a registered non-profit organisation.This specialist conservation group is totally dependant on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild.

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Share the magic world of finch foto’s. An exciting new world for finch enthusiasts

21 Jun
A pin-tailed whydah. Photo Kevin Solomon

A pin-tailed whydah. Photo Kevin Solomon

 

A Red-headed weaver. Photo Sheena deJager Miles

A Red-headed weaver. Photo Sheena de Jager Miles

 

A close up pic of a red-headed weavers nest taken in the Kruger National Park. Photo Lindsay Nutley

A close up pic of a red-headed weavers nest photographed in the Kruger National Park. Photo Lindsay Nutley

 

 

A blue waxbill cock bird. Photo Kevin Solomon

A blue waxbill cock bird. Photo Kevin Solomon

A steel blue widow finch.Cock bird. Photo Russell Kingston

A steel-blue widowfinch. Cock bird. Photo Russell Kingston

As of this month we kick start ” Share the magic world of finch foto’s ” . It’s very simple. All that we ask for is that finch enthusiasts from all over the world send their best finch pics to the secretary of the Rare Finch Conservation Group ( RFCG )  editor@avitalk.co.za. Once a month a selection of the best pics will be posted onto our blog as well as onto our new facebook page Www.facebook.com/rarefinch  The idea is to share the beauty of the more than 600 finch species in the world.  The rules are very simple. 1 ) Only finches photographed in the wild will be shown 2 ) Visuals of mutations or hybrids will not be accepted unless it is under exceptional circumstances of finches photographed from the wild. 3 ) Every pic needs to be submitted with the photographers name and the identity of the finch species. The secretary of the RFCG reserves the right to change the description of the species submitted  4 ) The finch species submitted need not be listed by the IUCN as threatened or near threatened.5 ) It’s agreed that every photograph submitted to the RFCG maybe used by the Rare Finch Conservation Group unconditionally for promotional purposes.

RFCG EcoTour 2013 group pic. L to R standing Kevin Solmon,Col Roberts,Mick Grixti,Rose Grixti,Sheena deJager Miles,Eelco Meyjes,front row Lindsay Nutley, Mick     , Russell Kingston

RFCG EcoTour 2013 group pic. L to R standing Kevin Solomon, Col Roberts, Mick Grixti, Rose Grixti, Sheena de Jager Miles, Eelco Meyjes, front row L to R Lindsay Nutley, Mick Markovski , Russell Kingston

The pic on the left is of the 2013 RFCG EcoTour group to Africa. Each member of the group kindly donated their best pics taken on tour to the RFCG to help raise the international awareness of finches in general and the conservation work required to help save threatened finches in the wild.

The RFCG is currently planning another 23 day EcoTour to the famous Kruger National Park, Botswana : which includes the Okavango Swamp and to Zimbabwe’s mighty Vic Falls for the end of this year 2014. For more information  contact Russell Kingston at indruss@bigpond.com or Eelco Meyjes at editor@avitalk.co.za

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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Col Roberts does it again ! This time with seldom seen Red-Eared firetails

14 Jun
Red-Eared Firetail Photo Col Roberts

Red-Eared Firetail. Photo Col Roberts

Red-Eared firetails feed in low undergrowth or occasionally on the ground. Photo Col Roberts

Red-Eared firetails feed in low undergrowth or occasionally on the ground. Photo Col Col Roberts

 

A Red-Eared firetails feathering in flight. Col Roberts

A Red-Eared firetails feathering in flight. Col Roberts

 

A perfect side profile of a Red-Eared firetail. Photo Col Roberts

A perfect side profile of a Red-Eared firetail. Photo Col Roberts

 

A family group of Red-Eared firetails : Photo Col Roberts

A family group of Red-Eared firetails : Photo Col Roberts

 

Col Roberts, from Perth in Western Australia, is rapidly building up a reputation for himself as one of the world’s best photographers of finches. Discovered on the recent RFCG EcoTour to Africa, his work ethic and passion for finch photography is simply unbelievable. Up before sunrise and ending after sunset he runs around all day carrying his sophisticated camera equipment looking for the perfect pic.

The Master at Work. Col Roberts from Perth Australia Photo Eelco Meyjes

Red-Eared firetails are found in the extreme South Western part of Australia. This is what the authoritative Clement, Harris and Davis book on Finches and Sparrows says about the bird. ” Uncommon or scarce, and population has declined in recent years. Inhabits the undergrowth of thick or large forests. Occurs alone or in pairs or in family groups…a shy secretive, generally quiet and inconspicuous bird, rarely seen except in slow direct flight from cover to cover.”

This is what Col had to say about his observations

“Just one thing about the finches feeding habits. I’ve noticed they mainly forage for seeds whilst on the ground. They are also very adept at diving into bushes at the first sign of danger. That group shot is the first time I have seen a large group together.”

Col is an honorary member of the Rare Finch Conservation Group and we thank him for supporting the group with his brilliant work. Visit our 27 Feb 2014 blog for more examples of Col’s stunning finch photography

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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Finch photography reaches great new heights

27 Feb
A Southern masked-weaver building its nest. Photo Col Roberts

A Southern masked-weaver building its nest. Photo Col Roberts

A Thick billed weaver building its nest. Photo Col Roberts

A Thick-billed weaver building its nest. Photo Col Roberts

A long-tailed widow finch in full flight. Photo Col Roberts

A long-tailed widow finch in full flight. Photo Col Roberts

DD3C1718A pin-tailed whydah courting its hen . Photo Col Roberts

It’s not often that one sees great action shots of finches building their nests or some stunning photographs of finches in full flight. Col Roberts, who is a magistrate by profession and lives in Perth Australia, must rank as one of the worlds best photographers of finches.

The Master at Work. Col Roberts from Perth Australia on the recent RFCG EcoTour to Africa. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Using his Canon camera, with its 600mm lense plus a 1.4 converter, he is able to hand hold and take incredible high speed photographs of finches in action. Col Roberts was one of our guests on the recent RFCG EcoTour to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. His passion for photography and his absolute enthusiasm for always trying to capture the perfect finch photograph was shared with all of us on tour. Each and everyone of us learnt a trick or two from him. He was always willing to share his knowledge and talent with every member on the tour. Col has very kindly donated a number of his top quality photographs to the Rare Finch Conservation Group, which will be used for promotional and fund raising purposes over the next couple of months.

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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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

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