Birding and Falconry - Birding

Birding is simply incredible at Sentinel.  Digby and Vanessa participated enthusiastically in the Southern African Bird Atlas Project in the late 1980's and early 90's.  We know our birds.  We have to, because we also know that serious birders appreciate being able to share clues to identification, calls, breeding records and habitat!  Birding is a big part of the enjoyment of eco safaris on Sentinel Ranch, where over 400 species of birds have been recorded. 

Birdwatching on Sentinel Ranch is wonderful at any time of the year, but during our warmer months, November - March, one can make the most of the hundreds of visiting migrant species that occur here during the summer, including the secretive Olive Tree Warbler and the ubiquitous summer siren, the Woodland Kingfisher. Nine species of cuckoos visit our area in summer, and ten species of owls are recorded here. Of the really beautiful and colourful birds, we can show you eight kingfisher, four bee-eater and four roller species...spectacular sightings to say the least!

Our checklist includes breeding populations of Red Data Book species such as Verreaux's (Black) Eagles, Secretary Birds, Kori Bustards, Grey Crowned Cranes, Lappetfaced Vultures, Saddlebill Storks and Pel's Fishing Owls.  Sentinel is home to one of the last truly wild populations of Ostriches in Africa.   With our diverse and varied habitat types, you are sure to tick off a few lifers!  If you are lucky, you may be in the right place at the right time to see one of our rare vagrant species, such as a Buffspotted Flufftail, Crested Guineafowl, Narina Trogan or perhaps a Palmnut Vulture! And if anyone sees a Collared Palm Thrush on the northern bank of the Limpopo River - LET US KNOW! (They've been recorded on the south side!)

Falconry: Vanessa and Digby's younger son,  Tarquin, is a falconry enthusiast and took falconry as a hobby at his high School (incidently called Falcon College).  Though he is at university currently, he is available during his  holidays to tell you about the fine art of falconry.  He has personally worked with Wahlberg's Eagles, Little Banded Goshawks (Shikra), Gabar and African Goshawks, and his passion for falconry is quite infectious.  He'll tell you all about the hardware involved (gloves, tethers, hoods, etc) and show you how falconry bells are made.  It's hands-on,  and a unique window on a very specialised sport.