Rand Aid birders now extra chirpy

Located on the banks of the Juskei River and adjacent to a greenbelt, Rand Aid’s Inyoni Creek, Elphin Lodge and Tarentaal retirement villages are known for their prolific birdlife.

And now, thanks to the efforts of an Elphin Lodge resident and her daughter, residents have access to a beautiful, illustrative bird guide.

Felicity Kanichowsky is known as the village’s resident bird expert. She is a member of the Witwatersrand Bird Club, the oldest bird club in South Africa, and of BirdLife South Africa (formerly the South African Ornithological Society). She is also involved in the South African Bird Atlas Project, which is an important biodiversity monitoring programme. The Atlasing initiative depends on a network of volunteers who map the distribution of birds.

“I love birds; they are my passion,” she says.

Felicity serves on the village’s residents committee. She says a request was made at one of last year’s meetings for pamphlets on the village’s birds, plants and trees to be compiled and she volunteered to undertake the ornithological one.

“I asked my eldest daughter, Jacqueline Phillips, to help me, which she very willing did. It is easy for me to list the birds around me, as I do that on a regular basis for my Atlasing programme,” says Felicity.

In the end, she had a list of 71 birds which she forwarded to her daughter.

“I was blown away a few weeks later when she sent me a copy of the beautiful pamphlet she had put together,” says Felicity.

Helen Petrie, Elphin Lodge’s manager, says the village appreciates Felicity and Jacqueline’s efforts in compiling the comprehensive guide.

“Thanks to them, bird spotting in our villages will be so much more rewarding,” says Helen.

The guide is available at Elphin Lodge’s office at a nominal cost of R10.

Inyoni Creek resident and environmentalist Ria Milburn and village deputy manager Marinda Looyen at the village’s waterside clubhouse, using the bird guide put together by Elphin Lodge’s Felicity Kanichowsky.

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