Two Emerging Explorers Team Up To Share a Live Expedition

Steve Boyes and Jer Thorp have teamed up to share the 2013 Okavango Wetland Bird Survey across the Okavango Delta with the world in real-time. Follow every step of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute’s research team as they explore a new route across the Okavango Delta that will reveal the secrets of wetland birds at an unstudied time of year. No one before has been able to get into these areas to census birdlife. It has been worth it! Without the struggle over the last two weeks we would not have seen paradise on earth and documented it. We have already seen 3,500 bird sightings and will probably see twice as many as previous years. I have never seen wildlife densities like this before and have, again, been blown away by the Okavango Delta.

(The Office for Creative Research)
(The Office for Creative Research)

Zoom into the high resolution map that updates our live movements every 20 minutes using a GPS transponder. Every evening we upload all sightings, comments, sounds, sights and heartbeats (of myself and two members of the research team). Jer and his team receive the data and represent it immediately on the satellite image. Check on our progress every now and then… Each evening we write blogs about our live experiences on the most gruelling expedition I have ever undertaken. Got to:

Go to to follow our every footstep live for the first time!


Expedition Diary:

What struggle. We are doing the impossible. We are surveying the birdlife along the islands south of Chief’s Island in September. No real hippo problems today, but we did not find our way. There is just no water. Nothing. We dragged the mokoros for a few hours and crashed our way through the reeds. We found water and then lost it to dead-ends and reedbeds. We are now on an island in the middle of nowhere for the nigh. We had two reconnaissance teams out to look for the water and we found it! Tomorrow we will be on the Boro Channel on our way to Maun. The research has been more than we expected and has taught us a lot about how these bird species utilize the receding floodwaters. We now know how much wetland birds depend on the flood cycle for feeding and breeding. I look forward to writing up the results at the institute.


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Meet the Author
Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.