The Bearded Vulture Award
Wits Bird Club were presented with a beaded Bearded Vulture in 2010, after making a donation to a project that was aimed at the satellite tracking and monitoring of the Endangered Bearded Vulture. Following the passing of Professor Steven Piper, the club committee, felt it would be a fitting tribute to Steven and his legacy, to annually award an individual who has dedicated their time and energy to bird conservation.
This years award was presented to : Derek van der Merwe
Derek Van Der Merwe of the Endangered Wildlife Trust has been running the Livestock guard dog programme for a number of years. The placing of Livestock guard dog in grassland areas such as the Wakkerstroom and Chrissiesmeer areas has had a major positive impact. Prior to the introduction of guard dogs, the use of hunting dogs, indiscriminate shooting and poisoning to control predators was affecting other non-target species including families of cranes. WBC has in the past donated to this worthy project and we would now like to recognise Derek’s dedication and hard work by awarding him the Bearded Vulture floating trophy. Congratulations Derek and please do continue updating us with your regular reports.
Derek receiving his award from Wits Bird Club Chairman, Andy Featherstone
Previous Recipients: Boudewyn van der Lecq (2011); Nial Perrins (2012); Andre Marx (2013); Etienne Marais (2014); Ernst Retief (2015); Geoff Lockwood (2016); Henk Nel (2017)
The Wits Bird Club Diamond Award is presented annually and recognises the invaluable contributions of any bird club member. Inserted into the plaque are diamonds so generously gifted to us by De Beers to mark our 60th Anniversary in 2007.
This years winner: Lester Niss
To Lester in appreciation for all the Bird Quizzes he has put together over the last few years. So enjoyed by all who attend them.
Lester joined the WBC around 1985 after completing Monty Brett’s Bird Identification Course, so he has been birding for the last 33 years. Lester has served on the WBC committee and co-ordinated the program during that period. Lester has always been attracted to trivia and so compiling the annual quiz is a pleasure for him. His Southern African life list stands at about 780, but he is not a fervid “twitcher”, therefore his list grows very slowly. Lester aim’s to be the SLOWEST person in South Africa to reach 800.
Lester receiving his award from club chairman Andy Featherstone.
Previous Recipients: Koos van Dyk (2008); Stan Madden (2009); Gisela Ortner (2010); Joan Strugnell (2011); John Freer (2012); Gail Schaum (2013); Alison Hansen (2014); Barbi Forsyth (2015); Murrie Slotar (2016); Gail Schaum (2017)