Around 1995, I put a message on IFLA-L inviting IFLA birders to contact me with a view to forming an IFLA Bird Club. There were four responses. One of the names now escapes me, but Pentti Vattulainen, Charles Townley and I subsequently got together during or after a number of IFLA Conferences, and on some other librarianly occasions, for a bit of international birding. In 1996 Pentti did some challenging early-morning birding in a very smoggy and birdless Beijing. After the Copenhagen Conference in 1997 we went on an expedition to a wetland on the outskirts of that city and were surprised to encounter a living hedge of spotting-scopes – coincidentally a very rare American Golden Plover had been discovered there. After the Bangkok Conference in 1999, with logistical support from the National Library,we had an expedition to a nature reserve in Thailand. Here our enthusiasm for penetrating the jungle was somewhat dampened by the information that wild tigers roamed there freely, and by the attention of leeches. But a walk in a wetland on the outskirts of Buenos Aires in 2004 netted a good haul of lifers for all three of us.
So in 2015 the IFLA Bird Club, had it ever been formally constituted, would have been celebrating its 20th birthday. And since I make my home in South Africa, this seems to me a good excuse to line up, following the Cape Town Congress, a super birding expedition in South Africa and Namibia. I have to emphasize that this is not a formal post-Congress tour. It is a purely private initiative for my IFLA and other birding friends. But we are likely to have some places available for IFLA birders who have not so far been part of our birding activities.
For birding purposes Southern Africa can be roughly divided into a moister eastern part and a more arid central and western part. Most international visitors who want to see birds and animals head for the Kruger National Park and the game reserves of KwaZulu-Natal — many IFLA delegates who came to Durban for the 2007 Conference will have seized that opportunity. The trip I’m planning for 2015 will take in the western half of Southern Africa, home of many endemic species, from Cape Town in the South, through the Fynbos and Karoo Biomes into Namibia, and as far north as the Angolan border on the Kunene River. The tour will be led by an experienced bird guide, Japie Claassen, who specializes in this region. For an impression of the birds that may be seen, I have posted here a report on such a trip in August 2013. Japie is knowledgeable about other fauna and flora too. We’ll see a lot of animals. Although we will not look only at birds, participants will need to be birder-tolerant.
We are thinking of tour lasting 19 to 25 days and costing between ZAR 26,700 and ZAR R37,800. (For USD, divide by ten; for Euros, divide by 15, approximately.) It could be scaled down if necessary.
I can provide more information, including draft itineraries to any interested IFLAites. I can be contacted at peterjlor[at]g