Lalibela is home to a multitude of beautiful and unique birds. Aside from watching out for the spectacular wildlife on your next game drive, why not also look to the skies to see if you can spot some of these beautiful winged creatures.
Here are a few beginner birdwatching tips to get you started.
1. Be quiet.
Silence is the key to successful birdwatching. Some birds are easily frightened by sudden noise and will fly away to take cover. The quieter you are, the closer you can get to the bird.
2. Patience is a virtue.
Birdwatching requires a lot of patience. You often have to sit and wait until you spot a bird or until it moves into a more visible spot.
3. Eyes first, binoculars second.
Good binoculars are also birdwatching essentials. Make sure that your binoculars are getting a bright, crisp picture. We recommend 7-power or 8-power binoculars – these give good magnification as well as allowing a wide enough view.
However, before whipping out the binoculars, try spotting a bird with your naked eye. It’s easier to spot a bird without binoculars. Relax your eyes, keep your head still, look for movement and listen for sounds – once you’ve spotted the bird, then bring the binoculars up to your eyes for a closer look.
4. Use a field guide.
A field guide will help you identify and distinguish between birds. We recommend Sasol Birds of Southern Africa. It is the most popular and comprehensive field guide of southern Arica’s bird species. There is also an app edition – so that you can access it more easily and conveniently from your mobile phone.
5. Wear neutral clothing.
This rule applies to safari in general – whether bird watching or game viewing, it’s best to wear neutral clothing. Neutral colours help you blend in with your surroundings so the birds are less likely to notice you.
6. Be specific.
Once you’ve spotted a bird, it’s likely you’ll want to tell your fellow birders. When you’re giving directions as to where a bird is, be specific as possible. Use large points of reference first (e.g. the large thorn tree to the right) and then become more detailed (e.g. the lowest branch on the right, with the fewest thorns). You can also use the clock system (e.g. Thorn tree 2 o’clock).
7. Keep record.
Carry a small notebook where you record your sightings. Take note of how you identified a bird to help you in future. Most birders also keep a life list, which is a list of all the birds they’ve seen since starting birdwatching.