A glimpse into an outing with children of the Cederberg...

Published: 10 June 2009

The grade 4 – 6 children of Dwarsrivier Primêr were ready and waiting on the 7th May. On our previous outing, we’d taken a walk from the school up the valley and had paid special attention to the ‘suikerbekkies’ - sugarbirds and sunbirds. The children had noticed how these birds were always found on the ‘suikerbossies’ (a type of protea that stands quite tall, with flowers filled with sweet nectar).

In order to deepen their newfound interest in ‘suikerbekkies en suikerbossies’, we set out for a nearby stand of suikerbossies, with books and pencil crayons. As soon as we entered the bushy area, all the children were quiet and all eyes looking out for the sugarbirds with their long tails. We tiptoed through the proteas, but couldn’t see any birds, so we began by drawing a suikerbossie flower, on which the bird could perch.

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The children spread out and each found a flower to draw. One of the boys came rushing over to me, whispering and gesticulating. He had seen a sugarbird. By the time the rest of us had rushed silently over, the bird had flown off. We did see sunbirds, but they didn’t stay still long enough to look at properly so the children used the bird book to help them to draw a sunbird on their flower (see drawings).

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The children were taught how to use binoculars – trying to focus on birds in flight is practically impossible, even for skilled binocular-users... They found more stationary and equally interesting things to focus on, like lizards!

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