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The following is a report from coordinator Garth Shaw on the progress of this challenge for the southwestern region of the Western Cape.
'Hi to all atlassers!
Progress over the last four weeks has been very good with a total of 35 cards being submitted since 14 May (in fact, a couple more have been submitted between me updating my excel spreadsheet on Friday and typing this - but I'll leave those cards for next months report).
Sixteen of these 35 cards were 4th cards for pentads, spreading the green carpet even further through the Western Cape. The coverage map is really starting to show our contribution!
The most impressive degree square is hands down 3218 where Zenobia van Dyk atlassed no fewer than 24 pentads, mostly in the area between Clanwilliam and Lamberts Bay. Thank you Zenobia for this impressive contribution. The 3319 degree square also had 6 target cards being submitted of which 2 were for virgin pentads.
I'd like to encourage all Western Cape atlasers to make use of the cooler weather, and wetter mountain areas to make a trip or two into some of the mountainous pentads. I'm going to make an unqualified statement that mountain birding in the Cape is better in the winter than the summer anyway, due to the abundance of water, and flowering protea species. I did a trip myself up into the mountains recently ravaged by fire near Wolsely and was very pleased with what I was rewarded with! Beautiful, and very vocal, Cape Rockjumper certainly the highlight!
I'd like to make a plea by quoting from the recently published Ornothological Observations publication by Alan Lee and Phoebe Barnard, Endemic Fynbos Avifauna: Comparitive Range Declines a Cause for Concern:
"Fynbos species mostly occur in areas less easily accessible to the general public. A drive to encourage survey efforts in the central parts of the Fynbos biome, which at this stage are largely with two or fewer cards is to be encouraged. Only then can we confidently comment on a species' Area of Occurance and the degree of range fragmentation."
The rather alarming, but very well written publication can be downloaded from: http://oo.adu.org.za/content.php?id=36
We desperately need more cards from the "difficult to access" mountain regions...let's enjoy our endemic natural heritage, atlas a pentad, and contribute to knowledge for its conservation!!
Thank you to all atlassers (not just Western Cape atlassers) for you valued efforts!