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The four one-degree squares centred on Gauteng have had a special focus in SABAP2, the Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project. This is because this is the area most highly impacted by development and which will see the highest development pressure into the future. It is also straddles the boundary between the savanna biome and the grassland biome. The development of suburbs has seen grassland transformed first into treeless housing estates and rapidly becoming mature suburban habitat with lots of trees, mimicking the savanna biome, and creating a southward extension of the savannah biome. And many savanna bird species are moving south.
For all these reasons, this is an important area in which to study birds intensively, and to evaluate how they are responding to change. Even more valuable is that there are lots of citizen scientists in this region to help build up the database. If you are an atlaser in Greater Guateng, please redouble our efforts, even if it seems, at first glance, to be a well-covered area.
For 2013, we set ourselves the twin challenges of visiting every one of the 576 "pentads" in the four degree region. The amazing news is that the number of unvisited-in-2013 pentads has dropped below 100. 83.3% of the pentads have at least one list.
The second challenge was to AVERAGE six lists per pentad. That needs a total of 3456 checklists (=576×6). The photo shows we have reached 74.1% of the target. We ought to have been at 75% at the start of this month. So we have 2-and-a-half months of 2013, the best months for birding in the year, to reach the target. There are 78 days left in 2013 to do another 896 lists. That is 11.3 lists per day to reach 100%.