The Ultimate Birders Christmas Wish-list Part 2

Updated: Nov 26, 2020


Over the last week, we had a great response from Part 1 of The Ultimate Birders Christmas Wish-List. As we start week two we are looking forward to showcasing the next seven items on the Christmas list.


As a team of birders, as we put together the list, we looked at things that we would like to see under our Christmas tree. We looked to feature some expected items, but we also tried to think ‘outside the box’ and look beyond what would be on a traditional birders Christmas list. We also looked to cater for different budgets, so almost whatever budget you have, we think you will find something on the list. We think we have come up with some great ideas, so we really hope you enjoy the products that we suggest.


So here are the next seven items on our wish-list:


1) Grumpie Crestie - Adam Cruickshank

I know this has been said far too much already, but 2020 has been a year like no other. Once the New Year’s festivities had wound down, a year lay ahead with boundless possibilities. Suddenly a few months into the year we were thrown a horrible curve ball that none of us expected – Covid-19 which meant that as a nation we experienced a five-week full lockdown. Birders that were used to traveling all over to see special birds, were suddenly constrained to their gardens. What happened as a result is birders started to take note of the birds that were right there on their doorsteps. This is the circumstances that led to Lynne Wilde writing the delightful book, ‘Grumpy Crestie’.


As the subtitle says on the cover of the book – this book is ‘the life and times of a suburban Crested Barbet during the 2020 Lockdown’. This book isn’t an ornithological textbook that looks at the finer scientific related information around birds, instead this is a fun and light read that shows how nature often is a great metaphor for what is happening in life at any given time. As Lynne observes Crestie daily she notes his comings and goings, his interaction with other birds, and then drawing on her imagination she writes a fascinating account of Crestie’s time during lockdown (there is even a love story woven into the narrative). The book is put together from a lot of short daily accounts of Crestie’s life over this time – meaning that the book is a light read that the whole family can enjoy (the text of the book was originally social media posts written by Lynne). This book will be a fun addition to any birder’s bookshelf, and I am sure just like me, you will have many chuckles and moments of joy as your read about this delightful bird!


If you would like to order the book in time for Christmas, please make sure to order it before the end of November. There are 2 options available: the Book for R299 or a Limited Edition of 50 numbered, autographed and inscribed books beautifully packaged in a box for R500 . Signed by Grumpy Crestie and his PA (Lynne).


To order the book or to get more information visit https://bit.ly/grumpycrestie or email wildeone@iafrica.com

2) Powder Lite Hooded Vest from Columbia Sportswear - Calvin Harris

This product is easy to recommend as I have owned a similar item from Columbia for the past 4 years. The Powder Lite Hooded vest is an incredibly versatile garment in that it can be worn as a layer or your primary item of warm clothing. What makes it a particularly great is that as the name suggests it is very light and is fantastic at keeping you warm. The Columbia designed Omni-Heat lining is similar to that of a survival blanket in keeping your core temperature warm at all times whilst remaining breathable. Whether traversing Sani Pass or a during a fresh winter morning on the coast, this vest is sure to keep you out in the field and birding for longer!

For more information please visit https://columbiasportswear.co.za/


3) Swallow from Natte Valleij Wines - Tyron Dall

Pearl-breasted Swallows return each year to breed in the cellars of Natte Valleij, and Winemaker Alexander Milner is happy to report that they are once again nesting this year. This has inspired the name and label for this red wine blend.


Natte Valleij pride themselves in keeping things traditional. Grapes are picked by hand, bottled by hand, corked by hand, labelled by hand and most defiantly drunk by hand.

This is an ideal gift to give your birding loved one, as it’s a high quality, hand crafted wine, with a wonderful example of how farming and nature can coexist.


P.S. bonus points are awarded to your loved one if they are clever enough to spot that the label features Barn Swallows, while the story on the back of the bottle mentions Pearl-breasted Swallows.


For more information please visit http://www.nattevalleij.co.za/


4) Alva 220g Single Burner Gas Cooker - Calvin Harris

I first stumbled across this product whilst watching Youtube videos on some of the most versatile and practical camping equipment. It is recommended by most Overland tourists due to its compact size, efficiency and low cost. This product is the Alva single burner gas stove. It makes use of propane gas canisters which seem to last forever, and it is able to boil water really fast! Needless to say, I have also found this product very useful during our periodic load shedding, so apart from Birding you still may want this product. Whilst out in the field, there are many times where you may want to pull over and make a cup of tea or coffee. This gas cooker makes the entire process quick and painless. The handy storage box keeps everything in one place so you never have to worry about losing any items. Perfect for camping or day trips, I can highly recommend this for any Birder!


For more information please visit https://alva.co.za/


5) Coffee from Outliers Coffee Roasters - Adam Cruickshank

There are few things I enjoy more than sipping a cup of coffee and listening to the dawn chorus, as the first rays of sun kiss the African soil. Outliers Coffee allows one to enjoy great birds while drinking good coffee – after all life’s too short for bad coffee! What I love about Outliers Coffee is that this is a family run business, not a massive corporate entity – just people that are committed to producing great coffee with good customer service. Many people who buy coffee from them have raved about how well they treat their customers and how they look forward to picking up their coffee.


What makes this brand even more special is their passion for conservation – while you enjoy the best coffee that money can buy, you know that your purchase has made a small difference. Three of the blends specifically support bird conservation projects – Dawn Chorus supports Birdlife South Africa, Elusive supports The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Birds of Prey Program, and the Sentinel Blend supports VulPro (vulture conservation). When you purchase a 250g R10 is donated, and when you purchase a 1kg bag R40 is donated to these causes.


What a great way to enjoy a good cup of coffee, sipping it knowing that every sip has helped conserve the natural world around us!


For more information please visit https://outlierscoffee.co.za/


6) Baobab Fruit Feeder and Suet Pop's from Elaine's Birding - Adam Cruickshank

While having breakfast in the morning before the rush of the day starts, there is something that is strangely therapeutic while sitting and watching the birds on my feeders. It is not always possible to get out into the wild, but my feeders allow me to get a small taste of the wild right outside my window. If you were to visit your local nursery or hardware shop, you will find many options if you wish to get bird feeders for your garden. What one often finds is plastic options, that are cheap at first, but end up getting broken and needing replacing all too often (not to mention the environmental impact that plastics have on our environment).


Elaine’s Birding supplies bird feeders and bird related products – that are not only good quality – but are also Birdlife South Africa Endorsed. This means you are buying from someone that is not only in this to make money, but also has a passion for birds and bird conservation. Elaine’s passion for birds and her creativity came together to allow her to design and create stunning products. Products made by a birder for bird lovers.

The two products that I suggest for your birding Christmas wish-list is firstly the high-quality Baobab Fruit Feeder. The feeder has two perches for birds to rest on while feeding off the bird friendly skewers. The feeder also has a handy V shaped base to catch the fruit that falls off the skewers. It is powder coated, ensuring it is of the highest quality and is easy to clean. Secondly, the highly popular Suet Pops – which is made with Elaine’s original recipe. Ingredients include vegetable suet, insects, and assorted grains. In the words of John Kinghorn – ‘The birds go mal for those suet pops!’.


To top it all off Elaine’s products all proudly designed and produced in South Africa, which means that her products create employment opportunities.


I think that just maybe other birders will also go 'mal' for these great products!


For more information please visit http://elainesbirding.co.za/


7) Swarovski Optik Lens Cleaning Kit - Tyron Dall

This professional and stylish kit is perfect for keeping all your treasured and expensive birding optics in prime condition. The kit includes a bottle of lens cleaner, a cleaning brush, one microfiber cloth, 10 sealed moist wipes in foil pouches, printed instructions and a soft bag with a belt loop to carry them all.


So there you have it, another seven great gifts for the birder in your life.


Let us know in the comments section what you think of the ideas we gave and let us know which of the gifts you would like most under your tree.


Be sure to follow The Birding Life on Facebook and Instagram to stand in line to win daily prizes between the 16th November-15th December 2020 in our #TBLChristmas2020 giveaway. Everyone who enters any of the daily competitions also goes into the draw for the grand prize, which is a pair of Vortex Diamondback 10x42 Binoculars.




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