Birdwatching is definitely one of those Clarens activities, which much like quilting most wouldn’t partake in often, if not at all. But Birdwatching is a favourite past time in the town. Therefore when the opportunity presents itself why not try it, especially if you haven’t before. It’s really one of the many leisurely Clarens activities.
Birders and Bird watchers in the town view Birdwatching as a kind of recreational activity where they practice observing birds in their natural environment as a hobby. And as easy as that may seem Birdwatching is somewhat of a skill that would require some form of concentration as you keep your eye on the prize, which is spotting the various hidden birds.
Or by listening for bird sounds as Birdwatching often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more easily detected and identified by ear than by eye. And Birdwatching can also be done either with the naked eye or through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes.
Clarens usually host an annual Birding Weekend during the month of February where bird enthusiasts ascend on the Golden Gate Highlands National Park to partake in the weekend’s event. This year the event will be happening between 12-14 February and it’s the 10th Birding event held at the Golden Gate.
The purpose of the event is not only about Birdwatching but also to raise funds for various SANParks conservation projects within Golden Gate Park. And today the Golden Gate Vulture Hide, which was partly funded by previous birding events, provides birders the opportunity to spot the rare bearded vulture.
While the data gathered at the event will be an official census of birds in the park and make an important contribution to the official bird list of the park and surroundings. On the weekend of the event there will be Clarens activities of a 4X4 route accompanied by a ranger providing for a rare opportunity to experience ‘Little Serengeti’, a part of the park that is abundant with animals and not open to the public.
Some of the special species of birds that have been recorded at Golden Gate are Cape Vulture, Bearded Vulture, Southern Bald Ibis, Gurney`s Sugarbird, Ground Woodpecker, Bush Blackcap, Whitebellied Korhaan, Verreaux`s Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Yellow Wagtail, South African Shelduck etc.