We met in late 2002 through work and, with Trevor being a partner in an architectural practice and Margaret being a Quantity Surveyor by trade, our paths were bound to cross at some point. Initially starting as a friendship with long chats about what we did in our spare time, there was soon a realization that there was a mutual interest in wildlife and the general outdoors life. At this point in time, Trevor’s wildlife interest was already well out of hand and he longed for a soulmate to share his passion with. Thinking that Margaret may be the one to do this with, he eventually plucked up the courage to ask her out on a date and, in true form, the first date turned out to be a real test of Margaret’s endurance to deal with a biodiversity-mad twitcher. He whisked her off to Paarl Sewage Works (not a good first impression to make with the potential in-laws!) and introduced her to the fineries of birding. Needless to say, Margaret passed the test with flying colours and the rest, as they say, is history…
Over the years, we have shared a number of wonderful experiences and tried to spend as much time in the field as possible. This ranges from day trips in and around Cape Town where we live to trips right across South Africa. Our field time takes on many different forms – sometimes, we are just out there to relax and get away from it all whilst other times has us sharing another of our pastimes, photography. Yet other times, we might be involved with a particular project that we are collecting data for and over the years, we have been involved with the original and second South African Bird Atlas projects, the South African Frog Atlas project and the South African Reptile Conservation Assessment, all run by the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town to map distributions of the various groups of animals.
We are also avid twitchers and are happy to chase after a rare bird at the drop of a hat. Part of the fun of this is the adrenaline rush that one gets when you hear the news of a rare bird and the anticipation on the trip there wondering if you are going to be lucky enough to connect with the bird. Fortunately, in recent years, most of the rare birds have been in the Cape region, not requiring terribly long trips, but we have had to travel further afield for at least a few of them. Things that come to mind are an Asiatic Dowitcher at Leeupan in Gauteng, a Gull-billed Tern at Ndumo Game Reserve and a Golden Pipit at Pongola Nature Reserve, both in Kwazulu Natal and a Common Redstart at Nossob in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Of course, “dipping” the bird is also always a possibility and the first Irania for the country at Williston in the Northern Cape was a prime example where we joined a large group of twitchers from right across the country in search of this mega which had last been seen the evening before the masses arrived! Lifelist numbers have always been a major driving force to us and, to this end, Trevor became only the second ever person in 2007 to pass the magical 900 mark on his Southern African list, sharing this milestone with the legendary Ian Sinclair. This happened on a Monday morning when a Wilson’s Phalarope was located close to where we live and resulted in a celebratory party of note with many of our birding friends that evening – in fact, the celebration was so intense that a number of the people at the party never made it into the office the following day… Margaret's list, by comparison, is not that far behind and she has just recently achieved 800, a milestone perceived by many in SA as the major target to achieve in one’s local birding career.
Trevor has also served as chairman of the Cape Bird Club and as a member of the Council and Board of Management of BirdLife South Africa in the past whilst he currently serves as the chairman of the South African Rarities Committee. Together with good friend, John Graham, he also runs Zest for Birds, a pelagic trip and bird guiding company which, on its website at www.zestforbirds.co.za also hosts a number of photographic galleries including all the latest SA rarities as well as a good number of “listing clubs” varying from those covering the whole of SA to provincial ones and site-specific ones. Trevor is also involved with the online rarities database for SA at www.rarities.co.za and also runs the Southern African Rare Bird News Reports, an email alert system notifying people of the latest rarities in the area. (http://groups.google.co.za/group/sa-rarebirdnews)
|Our passion for wildlife has also led us further afield to start exploring the rest of the world’s treasures and, so far, we have been fortunate to set foot in the following places, most of which have been absolutely incredible and introduced us to a whole new world of exciting wildlife.|
|Singapore||South Africa||South Georgia||Swaziland||Thailand|
|Uganda||United Arab Emirates||Venezuela||Vietnam||Zimbabwe|