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Latest news

The power of citizen science: spinning dials in October

2014-11-04 12:58:11

Power of citizen science

The power of Citizen Science is that we are able to collect data on scales otherwise unimaginable. During October SABAP2 reached an awesome six million records. This data, collected by atlasers, is conservation critical. The distribution maps we are generating show exactly where species actually occur, rather than where they are thought to occur, or even where the models produced by statisticians predicts them to occur.

Team SABAP2 continues to beaver away at unprecedented levels. The number of checklists submitted in October was a record 2213. Next best was the previous month, September, with 1879. Then to find the third best month you need to go all the back to November 2010, with 1833 checklists. To put the increase in perspective, the average from January to August this year was 1534 checklists per month and 1447 for the whole of last year. October was festival month for SABAP2!

November has started with a bang! Checklists continue to pour in. On the first three days of November, in spite of a bout of loadshedding, the rate of checklist submission continues at the October rate of 71 checklists per day.

There are three challenges on the go, and it is as well to review them with two months to. Top performer has been the Greater Gauteng challenge. We have already exceeded our target of 3456 checklists for the region. We should reset our aim higher, and go for 125% of target, 4320 checklists.

There are now only 82 pentads out of the 576 without a checklist. We have statistical analysis in view for which gaps in data is a showstopper. So we would be hugely grateful if the Greater Gauteng section of Team SABAP2 pulled out all the stops and got to every pentad this year. Second priority is to get a second checklist for the 194 pentads with only one checklist made in 2014.

The Greater Kruger National Park challenge has, at this stage, visited 349 different pentads in the region, just one short of the target of 350. 89% of the target of 1250 checklists has been made. No problems here.

The Western Cape is falling behind the clock. The targets here were set as reaching the same data volumes as in 2013. 84% of 2014 is behind us. 83% of the target of 700 pentads have had at least one visit. 82% of the target of 2500 checklists have been made, so 452 remain. So this is a gentle plea to atlasers in the Western Cape to roll up their sleeves and get this year’s contribution to SABAP2 up to 2013 levels! There is still time to get back on track.

During November, the arrival of Palearctic migrants continues. Let us continue to atlas as diligently this month as we did last month!

Thank you all for your amazing dedication and commitment to SABAP2.

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Six million records in the SABAP2 database

2014-10-30 06:30:28

Six Million SABAP2 records

Six million records in the SABAP2 database. Team SABAP2, you have got from five million to six million in two days less than a year. The previous millions have all taken about 13 months (apart from the first, which took two years!).

We are steadily building not only the start-of-the-21st-century distribution maps, but we are also getting enough data on an annual basis to start thinking about mapping changes in bird distribution continuously. No one, nowhere, has come close to achieving this!

Well done, Team SABAP2. Seven million, here we come.

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SABAP2 at 70% in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland

2014-10-26 20:17:32

SABAP2 at 70%

70% of the 17633 pentads in the original SABAP2 area of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland have been visited at least once. When we started the project on 1 July 2007 this level of coverage seemed an unimaginable pipedream. This is the day for a resounding celebration for the Citizen Scientists who have participated in the project. Well done, Team SABAP2. You are building the maps of current distribution for all our bird species. You are participating in the most important bird conservation project in the region. Without these maps, and the ability to compare them with the maps produced by the first bird atlas project, bird conservation would be based on guesswork.

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Northern Cape reaches 40% – congratulations to all involved

2014-10-12 16:29:50

Northern Cape 40%

It is the day for an awesome celebration for SABAP2. Coverage in the Northern Cape reached 40% on the evening of Saturday, 11 October 2014. This map does not show what 40% coverage looks like, it shows what has been achieved in the Northern Cape in the past twelve months. Vincent Parker has now been steadily beavering away single-handed for the past year, mostly in the section of the Northern Cape south of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park to about Upington. And in a five-day burst in September, the Prieska Atlas Bash team added more than another 100 pentads (and there is still data to be submitted).

311 atlasers have been active in the Northern Cape and have submitted 6146 checklists containing nearly a quarter of a million records of bird distribution. This is extraordinarily valuable data. If you are one of those 311, please treat yourself to an appropriate celebration.

The Northern Cape is especially important to SABAP2, because many of the bird species occurring here come to the edges of their ranges. It is also an area where climate change is predicted to have a large impact. The impact of climate change on birds is likely to include changes at the edges of ranges. SABAP2 wants to document the ranges as they are now.

A year ago coverage in the Northern Cape was 29%. That was six years of effort. The 11% increase in the past year is therefore hugely impressive. We especially salute Vincent, and the Prieska Atlas Bash Team.

An expedition or two to other parts of the Northern Cape will help SABAP2 towards its next big Northern Cape milestone, a concept that seemed a total pipe-dream not long ago, 50% coverage.

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