7/25/2009

Raptors of Southern Africa

For some weird reason I came across a lot of info about South Africa this week that I thought would be worth sharing on my blog. I decided to end the week with a birding list from South Africa. I wanted to share my top 5 list of raptors in SA. It was tough to narrow these down and I couldn't put them in any order even though I tried.

Vultures:

Bearded
Lappet-faced

Palm-nut
Egyptian
Cape

Eagles:

African Fish
Martial
Crowned
Black (Verreauxi)
Bateleur

Hawks:

Black Sparrowhawk
Jackal Buzzard
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Lizard Buzzard

Pygmy Falcon

Owls:

Pel’s fishing
Verreaux (Giant Eagle)

Spotted Eagle
African Grass
Barn
Southern White Faced
Pearl-Spotted Owlet
African Wood
Marsh
African Scops

7/24/2009

View of Table Mountain - South Africa

The World cup soccer will be hosted in South Africa next year and one of my friends sent me a picture of this magnificent soccer stadium that is being built in Cape Town. Wow - what a view of Table Mountain (TM), Lion's head (to the right of TM) and Devils's peak (to the left of TM). The highest point on Table Mountain is 3,563ft above sea level.


Please click on image for full size

Wild tigers in Africa - video

Here's a video showing the aftermath of the unfortunate incident that took place at Tiger Canyons in South Africa.


7/23/2009

Wild tigers in Africa??

Almost without fail when I tell people I’m from Africa they mention all the amazing animals in Africa including tigers. I blame this misconception of tigers in Africa on children’s story books like the jungle book. A controversial conservation project has led to wild tigers now living in Africa. Wildlife movie maker and conservationist John Varty (JV) took two captive/tame tigers and taught them how to hunt and be ‘wild tigers’ in Africa. JV’s mission is to build a model for tiger conservation that can be emulated in the rest of the world.

Obviously this project has met with mixed response from the public and the wildlife community. Many people feel that there is no place for tigers in Africa and that making Tiger Canyon a tourist attraction sends the wrong message to the public. Others feel that JV is doing a valuable job conserving and breeding tigers in the wild. A recent incident at Tiger Canyon puts the spotlight back on the tigers and fuels the debate about human interference with wild animals.

Shadow, a tigress in the preserve has taken to biting the tires of the off road vehicles that are used in the preserve. Obviously this is a large expense as tires need to be replaced each time. JV has tried everything from electrifying the around the wheels to constructing iron grids around the wheels, all attempts have failed leading to more than 10 expensive tires being destroyed over the last 18 months.

Recently JV was trying to photograph the tigress with her cubs when she came up and destroyed another tires. JV called for backup and while they were changing the tire the tigress charged again heading straight for a tire. This time JV took out his handgun and fired a round into the ground. Sadly the shot bounced off the dirt and hit the tiger in the leg. As a result of the shot the tigress suffered a broken bone in her paw and this may hamper her ability to hunt.

What are your thoughts on this initiative? Obviously this incident is tragic, but we can’t weigh the merits of the project on this one unfortunate accident. It is common practice to fire a shot into the air or the dirt when being approached by a dangerous animal in Africa when on foot. Having said that, JV does acknowledge that the shot was fired in anger and in hindsight he should have fired it into the air.

For more info about this incident click here. Here's a link to the early years of the project including the documentary Living with tigers.

7/21/2009

Screech owl kills Sharp Shinned Hawk

I came across this video on Youtube and I had to share it. Here's the description of the video:
"While perched and stalking birds, a Sharp-shinned Hawk fell prey to an Eastern Screech Owl. The event occurred late afternoon, 3 p.m., in Northwest Lower Michigan and about 45 feet from my back window. I have a feeding station there. The event lasted about 20 minutes. The Sharpie had been perched about 10 feet up in a spruce tree for over 45 minutes, and earlier in the day, mobbing behavior by local birds indicated the possibility there was an owl in the area. I did not witness the initial attack, but saw two large birds locked together spiraling toward the ground. As an eye witness, I can assure viewers that this was indeed an Eastern Screech Owl".


Sit down and stay a while

I LOVE reading comments from people popping in to my blog. If you're new to my blog I would REALLY appreciate it if you would take a couple of minutes to drop me a note.

I have a first time visitors page/birding guest book that I'd love you to complete.

Please check it out at http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2007/11/are-you-out-there.html

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7/20/2009

Spotted Owl safety net is back

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department on Thursday killed a plan issued by the Bush administration to allow more logging in western Oregon that reduced protection areas for the endangered spotted owl, saying it was "legally indefensible and must be withdrawn.
"We have carefully reviewed the lawsuits filed against the (logging plan) and it is clear that as a result of the previous administration's late actions, the plan cannot stand up in court and, if defended, could lead to years of fruitless litigation and inaction," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar....MORE>>