Conservation centre to host seabird talk

2015-07-08 06:00
PHOTO: supplied

Ornithology expert David Allan’s talk will give an insight into the pelagic seabirds that can be seen off our coast.

PHOTO: supplied Ornithology expert David Allan’s talk will give an insight into the pelagic seabirds that can be seen off our coast.

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ON 11 July, Crocworld Conservation Centre will be hosting a talk titled “Deep-Sea Bounty - the Magnificent Seabirds of KwaZulu-Natal’s Open Oceans.” It will be delivered by ornithology expert David Allan. Allan’s talk will give an insight into the pelagic seabirds that can be seen off our coast, and is the latest in an series of monthly environmental lectures. The lectures focus on the magnificent flora and fauna of southern Africa, and in particular, of the South Coast. Their purpose is to instil in those who attend a greater understanding of and appreciation for the natural wonders that exist on our doorstep.

As the curator of birds at the Durban Natural Science Museum, Allan has had plenty of experience with the birdlife of KwaZulu-Natal. He is an expert in a variety of avian species, but is particularly passionate about pelagic seabirds. After moving to Durban from Cape Town two decades ago, he began leading deep-sea birding trips that allow others to experience the thrill of seeing these ocean-going species in their natural environment. Since then, he has led more than 60 such expeditions and has become a renowned authority on pelagics.

Those who attend Allan’s talk on 11 July will be regaled with stories from his expeditions, including the tale of how Allan and his team learnt to attract rare seabirds to the vessel using a unique chumming technique. Allan will touch on some of his favourite­ pelagic species, including skuas and petrels, shearwaters and albatrosses. Guests will learn about the adaptations that allow these species to find food in the ocean and to survive without seeing land for long periods of time. Allan will illustrate his talk with photos he has collected during his time at sea.

The talk begins at 9am, although guests should aim to arrive half an hour beforehand in time for welcoming and registration. Allan is expected to speak for about one to one-and-a-half hours, which will include a question-and-answer session and will then be followed by tea, coffee and scones. Crocworld Conservation Centre general manager Martin Rodrigues is looking forward to the event. “David Allan presents fantastic talks and we are very excited to hear him speak on 11 July. We expect the talk to be popular, so please book your seats as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Tickets for this event are R70 per adult, and R30 for pensioners, pupils and scholars. They include entrance into Crocworld Conservation Centre’s regular exhibitions, and guests are invited to stay and explore the park after the talk finishes.

Bird enthusiasts will love the centre’s collection of aviaries, which house more than 35 species. The centre is also home to a variety of snakes and four crocodilian species, including Henry the Nile crocodile - which, at the age of 114, is the oldest known Nile crocodile in captivity. After a morning of exploring, guests can purchase light lunches and refreshments at Le Rendez-Vous, the park’s restaurant which overlooks the ocean, enabling visitors to keep an eye out for passing whales, dolphins and seabirds.

To book, contact Nolean Allun, Crocworld Conservation Centre on 039 976 1103, 083 654 9651 or e-mail

Account details: Crocworld (Crookes Brothers Limited) Banking details: FNB. Branch: Scottburgh. Branch code: 220227. Account number: 53640119111. Please fax proof of payment to 039 978 3279. - Supplied

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