Saturday, 2 March 2013

Counting birds out and about

This summer has been one best described as unpredictable. Temperatures have ranged from 12 degrees on some days, to 35 and over on others. One never knows what to expect, and planning ones day relies a lot on checking weather reports. Even those don’t always get it right. One day looked was forecast to be windy and good for nothing. On waking up too late to change plans the weather was perfect for ringing. Still, there are things to do on the laptop, and time has been spent creating the PhD version of my book and making changes to a manuscript on dietary patterns of parrots of the Peruvian Amazon.

 The nice thing about doing point transects to count birds now is a lot of the baseline data was already collected during the first round of transects, so they can now be done a lot more quickly without too much checking of the gps to make sure I’m walking in a straight line for far enough. So transects that were hard the first time, like going up Antoniesberg, heading over Naartjieskloofberg, and cycling up the Kammanassie were a bit easier this month. During thes hikes or ‘bhikes’ I continue to look for birds with rings, but resightings have been very few. So, late January I placed some camera traps on flowering Protea repens around Blue Hill to see if they would serve as extra ‘eyes’.

 The results have been encouraging. While there are many blank shots taken simply when the wind blows the Protea bushes, many photos have recorded birds, and a few of these have had rings. The problem is I don’t have enough cameras, and used most of my research budget this month to busy an additional 5 cameras – not cheap at close to R3000 each. But they are generating a wealth of data, especially the short video clips which show how the birds are foraging on the Proteas. They may well be useful yet in determining how the birds use the landscape.

Cape Sugarbird takes flight

Spurwing Goose take-off sequence

Cape Sugarbird on a Protea mundii, Prince Alfred's Pass

Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk
Awesome colors of the Fynbos - Prince Alfred's Pass


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