|2013-05-05 ||Doug Harebottle |
|SABAP2 workshop: Intaka Island, Century City – ths Saturday 11 May, 09h00 – 15h30 |
Together with Intaka Island Eco-Centre, the ADU will be hosting a bird atlasing workshop at this popular Cape Town birding venue on Saturday 11 May. So if you would like to learn more about atlasing, SABAP2 and citizen science, or just brush up on some of your atlasing skills please register for the workshop by confirming your attendance with Dirk Lombard at firstname.lastname@example.org before Wednesday 8 May.
There is no charge for the workshop and space is limited so book your place as early as possible. Please note that lunch will be for your own account and we recommend bringing a light picnic lunch which can be enjoyed at some of the picnic areas within the reserve many of which overlook the constructed wetlands in the reserve as can be seen in the image on the left.
There will be opportunities to do some birding and/or photography so bring your binos and cameras.
Here is the breakdown of the programme for the day:
- 08:30 - 09:00 Arrival (Coffee/tea will be available)
- 09:00 - 10:30 Introduction and atlas protocols
- 10:30 - 11:00 Tea/coffee break (mugs will be provided but you are welcome to use your own)
- 11:00 - 12:30 Capturing and submitting data, ORFs and website demonstration
- 12:30 - 13:30 Lunch break
- 13:30 - 15:30 Discussion time/Loading software
What to bring?
- Your laptop/tablet (to load software)
- Binoculars, birdbooks, camera etc.
We look forward to meeting a whole bunch of new people and perhaps seeing a few old faces too!. Any enquiries can be directed to Doug Harebottle
|2013-05-02 ||Les Underhill |
|April, the best month ever for the ADU Virtual Museums |
The Virtual Museums of the ADU are helping to construct the 21st century distributions for thousands of species. They had a record month in April. A total of 2758 submissions was made in the month.
The photograph of a snake was the last record that was formally accepted into the Virtual Museum during April. It was taken by Vaughan Jessnitz in Limpopo and it is Record 8350 in the ReptileMAP Virtual Museum. April was also the best month for reptile uploads to the Virtual Museum since the new system was implemented in June 2010. The reptiles in fact provided the impetus to start the initial Virtual Museum, and the first records were submitted on 10 May 2005, eight years ago. In the first years, submissions were made by attaching photos to emails. By 2010, "broadband" had become commonplace, and the mode of submission was transformed to the internet upload system we are using now.
The ReptileMAP Virtual Museum now totals 134909 records. Besides the photographic record, the database contains the specimen record data that goes back to 1834. So we are building onto the database that contains all the museum records. The advantage that this gives ReptileMAP is the abiliy to plot maps through time, and to examine range changes.
Please keep your submissions coming in to all the Virtual Museums. It does not matter if your collective upload power exceeds that of the identification panels for the various project – the important thing is the information is uploaded into the Virtual Museum, and is therefore curated and available. In contrast, the large numbers of photos that are uploaded into the social media such as Facebook are lots of fun, but they are ephemeral, and fade into oblivion within a relatively short space of time.
Uploading to the Virtual Museum is a bit more time consuming than uploading a photo to Facebook, but that is only to be expected. The spatial information is critically important to the Virtual Museum projects, otherwise the distribution maps cannot be made. Put your biodiversity photos to the ADU Virtual Museums, and make your photography count for conservation.
|2013-04-24 ||Dieter Oschadleus |
|Weaver Wednesday: Golden Palm Weaver |
The Golden Palm Weaver Ploceus bojeri is a common weaver of the coastal palms in East Africa. The black eye is in striking contrast to the orange (male) or yellow (female) head. The adult male has the head uniform orange, shading to a chestnut patch on the lower throat - in the similar male Eastern Golden Weaver P. subaureus the orange face pales onto the ear-coverts and sides of the neck. The Golden Palm Weaver shows no seasonal change in plumage. The subadult male has a yellow head with developing orange on the nape and lower throat - the similar Taveta Golden Weaver P. castaneiceps differs in having a well-defined occipital crescent and rufous upper breast, and their ranges do not overlap. The female Golden Palm Weaver is entirely yellow below (theÂfemale Eastern Golden has a white belly) and the back is indistinctly streaked (heavily streaked in Taveta Golden Weaver).
No subspecies of the Golden Palm Weaver are recognised (see map right, based on Birds of Africa). There are few records from Ethiopia, near the border with Somalia. In Somalia, it occurs on the Jubba and Shabeele Rivers and in Boni Forest. In Kenya it is found on the coast and inland along the Tana River, with a separate localized inland population. Records from Tanzania are now considered misidentifications and the species has been deleted from the Tanzanian list.
The Golden Palm Weaver inhabits palm savanna on the coast, as well as riverine habitats and it extends into savanna in areas below 1200 m and with more than 500 mm annual rainfall inland. Food consists of seeds and insects. It is gregarious and roosts in flocks when not breeding.
The Golden Palm Weaver is colonial, and suspected to be polygynous. It may occur in mixed colonies with Eastern Golden Weavers or with Village Weavers P. cucullatus. The male displays while hanging below the nest entrance, with his wings spread vertically, but wings usually move very little; the head may be bowed slowly.
The nest is spherical with no entrance tube. The male weaves the outer shell of long grass strips or strips from palm fronds and builds a complete inner shell of short grass strips. The female lines accepted nests with leaf fragments and fine grass heads. Nests are usually suspended under palm fronds or over water in thorn trees.
Clutch size is 2. The eggs are green, mottled with grey or reddish markings; sometimes eggs are white, overlaid with fawn. The introduced House Crow Corvus splendens raids colonies for eggs, young and adults in Mombasa.
The Golden Palm Weaver has 4 PHOWN records from Kenya and two of these colonies low nest counts - 1 and 10 nests. Many more PHOWN records are needed for this species (see PHOWN summary), especially to determine range in colony size. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.
PHOWN summary Previous Wedn: Speke's Weaver Full weaver species list
|2013-04-17 ||Dieter Oschadleus |
|Gravit8 Weaver Wednesday : Speke's Weaver |
The Speke's Weaver Ploceus spekei is a large weaver with a long, heavy bill and pale eye in both sexes. The breeding male (see above) has the black mask extending to the upper breast where it is fringed with chestnut. The similar male Village Weaver P. cucullatus has a red eye. The similar male Heuglin's Weaver P. heuglini is smaller and does not overlap in range. The female Speke's Weaver is dull coloured and lacks the prominent yellow supercilium and bright yellow breast of the female Village Weaver.
No subspecies of the Speke's Weaver are recognised (see map right, based on Birds of Africa). Speke's Weaver is common in East Africa, occurring in western Ethiopia, north and east Somalia, south-west and central Kenya to north central Tanzania.
Speke's Weaver inhabits bushed country and woodland with available water - nesting colonies may be abandoned if local water supplies run out. It is common in urban and suburban areas in Kenya. It feeds on seeds including those of crops such as maize, and is regarded as a crop pest in some areas. It also feeds on insects, including alate termites, especially when feeding its young. It is generally found in small flocks.
The Speke's Weaver is polygynous and colonial, but sometimes nests singly. It may breed in large mixed colonies with Lesser Masked Weavers P. intermedius or Chestnut Weavers P. rubiginosus. Of 40 colonies in Nairobi, 60% were near a busy road or occupied building, and 65% were sited in acacia trees (40% were in fever trees Acacia xanthophloea). Some nests have been built in Eucalyptus trees. Usually the entire colony is in a single tree, with 22-205 nests. More than half of the permanent colonies are active twice a year (breeding periods (Mar-May and Oct-Dec). Males arrive at the colony first to start nest construction.
The nest is a bulky, oval structure, with the entire upper surface attached to the underside of a twig. The entrance is narrow, with a short spout. The nest is roughly woven of grasses, including grass stems, stems with leaves and grass heads attached. There is an interior ceiling of grass heads and some acacia leaves. The chamber floor is lined with different grass heads. Unused or incomplete nests are torn down, to litter the ground below the nesting tree. The male builds a nest in 8-10 days, and a female adds lining once she has accepted a nest and male. One male may have 4-14 nests within a colony.
Breeding success is reduced in nests with fly larvae Passeromyia heterochaeta, and some nests suffer from mites and fleas. Some colonies experience mass desertion, as shown by many dead chicks in colonies. Predators include Augur Buzzard Buteo augur, Yellow-billed Kite Milvus migrans and Gabar Goshawk Melierax gabar.
The Speke's Weaver has 5 PHOWN records from 3 countries and many more PHOWN records are needed for this species (see PHOWN summary). Newly-built nests, active or old nests may be used for breeding or roosting by a variety of species including Red-cheeked Cordon-bleau Uraeginthus bengalus, Northern Grey-headed Sparrows Passer diffusus, Cut-throat Finches Amadina fasciala, or Superb Starlings Spreo superbus, so keep a look out for such ecological records. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.
PHOWN summary Previous Wedn: Speckle-fronted Weaver Full weaver species list
|2013-04-17 ||Richard Sherley |
|Colour Rings on Swift Terns |
A team from the University of Cape Town studying the Southern African population of Swift Terns Thalasseus bergii has recently put engraved color-rings and metal rings on ca. 300 chicks at Robben Island (location in the image below, left) in order to better understand changes in the population numbers of this species. With your help, we will be able to estimate survival, dispersal and movement patterns in this species. Any reports from inside and outside South Africa of color-ringed Swift Terns (dead or alive) are crucial to this program and to the conservation of seabirds.
If you see a tern with a ring and are willing to help, please report the sighting to our team at: email@example.com
In your report please note:
1) Location of birds as accurately as possible (GPS if possible).
2) Date and time of sighting.
3) Color of the ring.
4) Characters on the ring, e.g. A7 (majority of rings are top-down and all are on the right leg).
5) Age class (immature or adult).
6) Number of metal ring (if found dead).
Ring colors are: - Yellow with black text - White with black text - Green with white text - Blue with white text and the specific codes used can be found here.
Thank you for your help!
The Swift Tern Team