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There is one thing that SABAP2 does better than any similar project, anywhere on this planet, North America and Europe included. We measure the timing of arrival and departure of migrants with more precision over a wider area than anyone else does. In an era of global climate change, the bird species that are predicted to battle the most to survive are the long distance migrants. ADU PhD student, Elsa Bussiere, has completed an analysis of the SABAP2 data for 18 long distance migrants, some intra-African and some Palearctic. The results are fascinating, but the take home message for this news item is that the SABAP2 data are able to deliver the important results we have been claiming they can achieve. And no one else, anywhere, can do it as neatly as we can. So, as project leaders, we are absolutely certain that we are not asking you to waste your time and money going atlasing! We are collecting high quality information.
Over the next few weeks the final departure for many species will take place. If you go to the species information on the new SABAP2 website you will see that many species are starting to become less frequently recorded as they depart. It is 06h30 on 11 April now, and I am looking at the European Roller (go to this link) with 10 submitted records since 1 April, and the most recently submitted record was on 6 April, five days ago. SABAP2 is able to measure how the relative abundance thins out, and how departure takes place spatially within southern Africa.
And over the next few weeks there are lots of public holidays. Atlasers, please make submitting a few checklists over this period a priority. It does not matter how many checklists the pentad already has. The data collected now help us to quantify the timing of departure in autumn 2014. The old data are important, because we can measure change by comparing this year’s data with the old data. But this is our only shot at collecting data in autumn 2014!
And finally, after voting for the candidate of your choice on 7 May, you should plan to do an atlas list, and vote for as many species as you can find in your favourite pentad. You ought not to be able to vote for many of the migrants, but that is critically important information, because it tells us that they have gone.
The picture is a European Roller from the BirdPix Virtual Museum (Dawie de Swardt, Soetdoring Nature Reserve, Free State: see the full details of this record). So a final request. Please take your camera with you, and if you get a chance to make records of mammals, reptiles, butterflies, scorpions, spiders, dragonflies, etc, for the Animal Demography Unit’s Virtual Museum (vmus.adu.org.za), please do so. The Virtual Museums have a new, overarching, page on Facebook.