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Latest News

Progress with 2016 atlasing in Hessequa by Johan Van Rooyen

Sensational September for SABAP2

The power of citizen science: spinning dials in October

Six million records in the SABAP2 database

SABAP2 at 70% in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland

Northern Cape reaches 40% – congratulations to all involved

Only 99 left! Claim yours now

SABAP2 priotrities: October to December 2014

2014 could easily be SABAP2's best year for data collection!

Greater Kruger National Park Challenge – 2014 – the mid-year progress report says "Outstanding"

Two-thirds coverage in 2014 of the Four Degrees of Greater Gauteng reached on 5 July

DAY 1 of YEAR 8 of SABAP2

UCT planned maintenance this weekend: 09h00 Saturday 21 June – 17h00 Sunday 22 June

Colour Rings on Swift Terns

SABAP2 doing awesomely in 2014; today we celebrate the milestone of a "MiniProject"

There is one thing that SABAP2 does better than any similar project, anywhere on this planet

You are awesome, Team SABAP2. You have made 20000 checklists for the Western Cape

Citizen Science Week : Saturday 8 March to Sunday 16 March

SABAP2 up to the end of February, 2014

SABAP2 at the end of the first half of February 2014

One hundred thousand checklists in the SABAP2 database: awesome milestone, well done, Team

Be part of the "Kruger Green Team"

These Four Degrees are on the cusp of a lot of milestones

Increasing in abundance, but not in range – Dark-capped Bulbul

How did we get along in the first half of November?

SABAP1 vs SABAP2: the Rock Dove aka Feral Pigeon

How to submit records to the Virtual Museums

SABAP2 strides ahead in October

Five million records

Project progress, first half of October

THIS COUNTDOWN CLOCK IS NOW BELOW 100

September progress with SABAP2

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released

Barberspan conference 28 November – 3 December 2013

Weaver Wednesday [66]: Sao Tome Weaver

Weaver Wednesday [65]: Black-necked Weaver

Sappi TREE TUESDAY, and today we are featuring the Knobbly Creeper

Today is Sappi TREE TUESDAY! The Weeping Sage Buddleja auriculata

Weaver Wednesday: Village Weaver

Public Lecture Wednesday 18 September "The metamorphosis of the butterfly atlas"

2000 up on Facebook

"Citizens who advance science"

This part of South Africa is especially important for annual coverage!

SpringMAP 2013

Weaver Wednesday: Cinnamon Weaver

Bring the trumpets out of the cupboard! Sound the fanfare

Virtual Museum records

Twenty years of CWACing the Bot River Estuary

Atlas bash to Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape, 8-11 August 2013

Save the date: 20-21 July 2013, SABAP2 workshop, Port Elizabeth

Twenty years of CWACing the Bot River Estuary

The 25th of July1993 marked the first Coordinated Waterbird Count (CWAC) for the Bot River Estuary, one of the largest estuarine systems in the Western Cape. It was one of the first wetland sites to be counted soon after the CWAC programme was launched in 1992. The 6th of July 2013 will mark the 20th anniversary of these counts which have been coordinated by Mariana Delport of the Tygerberg Bird Club.  Counts and observers have undergone various changes through the years. Says Mariana, "The first count was originally scheduled for 17 July 1993, but due to bad weather conditions it was postponed to 25 July 1993.  Initially we only counted the Bot River Estuary (known locally as the Botriviervlei), but from 1995 we included the nearby Kleinmond Estuary as the two systems are closely linked."

The CWAC pioneers, made up of four teams, included Mariana Delport, Willie D’Hondt, Colin Jones, Jurie and Adele Fourie, Anton Nel, Mossie Smit, John and Debbie Philogene, Margaret McCall, Talitha le Seur, Brian Vanderwalt, Ann Rickets, Libby Kerr, Brenda Anderson and Beverley Patterson. From this group Mariana and Beverly remain as active counters! Additional counters from Kleinmond, Hermanus, Somerset West and Cape Town have given of their time to assist with the counts over the last 20 years. 

Most counts have taken place twice a year (February and July), but from January 2003 until December 2006, all sections were counted to monitor the changes within a full breaching cycle of the estuary. The results were included as a chapter in Doug Harebottle's PhD thesis and which had important conservation outcomes for the estuary's waterbirds. Quarterly counts were then done for another three years. Mariana comments, "This called for some dedication, especially for us driving all the way from Cape Town, sometimes in adverse weather conditions!"

This is an incredible data set and probably one of the longest running series of waterbird counts for a South African estuary. Mariana says, "Looking at the results of the past 20 years, not much has changed since 1993. Numbers of Red-knobbed Coot, Yellow-billed Duck, Cape Shoveler, Red-billed Teal, grebes, flamingos, terns, shorebirds, have varied seasonally as well as based on the breaching regime of the sand bar at Meerensee". But she adds, "...some species, such as Red-knobbed Coot and Great Crested Grebe have seen gradual declines in  numbers and in more recent years we have seen an increase in the number of Blue Crane along the upper reaches of the lagoon, which is great.  Occasionally some rarities make their appearance, like Osprey, Black Harrier, Common Black-headed Gull and African Openbill."

 

The ADU salutes Mariana, her team and the Tygerberg Bird Club for taking ownership of this important wetland as a CWAC site over the past twenty years. It takes dedication and commitment to sustain monitoring at these levels. Like Stan Madden and the Blesbokspruit wetlands, Mariana has been the stalwart and champion for the Bot estuary CWACs.

We are also extremely grateful to all the citizen scientists who have given up their time, petrol and effort to help with these counts. Ensuring continuity for these counts is vital to understand the long-term dynamics of waterbird populations and everyone's contributions makes a difference; in Mariana's words "Let’s continue for another 20 years!"

 


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