|2013-12-07 ||Les Underhill |
|How to submit records to the Virtual Museums (2) |
This slideshow gives the details on how to do submissions to the Virtual Museums.
|2013-11-22 ||Les Underhill |
|These Four Degrees are on the cusp of a lot of milestones |
Magnificent effort Team SABAP2. On the ADU's Facebook page it says: "The citizen scientists who participate in the second bird atlas project, SABAP2, are especially encouraged to visit all 576 pentads in this area annually. It is the four one-degree grid cells centred on Gauteng in which about 30% of South Africa's population lives. There is huge pressure for development, and therefore huge pressure on biodiversity.
"Today, the 2013 project stands at the cusp of a lot of milestones. Perhaps all of them will be surpassed this weekend!
"88.9% of pentads have at least one visit. Six more will get us to beyond 90% coverage, and mean that the percentage not yet visited is below 10%.
"49.5% of pentads have two or more checklists. Three checklists from pentads with only one list will mean that more than half the pentads have at least two visits.
"32.8% of pentads have three or more checklists. Getting a third checklists for three pentads which currently have two checklists will mean that more than one third of pentads have three or more checklists.
"24.7% of pentads have four or more checklists, and are GREEN or darker colours on the this map. Only two pentads with three lists need a fourth checklist to get this figure to 25%. That is an astonishing achievement. Four or more checklists for a quarter of this area in 2013 alone."
The digits inside the pentads on this map are the numbers of checklists for the pentad this year so far. Once the number of checklists gets into double figures, this is represented by a *. The map shows the Four Degrees region, plus two rows of pentads around the edges – it would be nice to get lots of these visited too this year, especially along the southern edge!
|2013-11-09 ||Megan Loftie-Eaton |
|How to submit records to the Virtual Museums |
How to submit records to any of the Virtual Museums of the Animal Demography Unit.
Step 1: Register (or check if you are registered) as an ADU observer at www.adu.org.za/register.php?project=vmus – fill in your email address in the white block on right hand side. One registration works for ALL ADU projects.
Step 2: Once you are registered, you can login to the Virtual Museums website at vmus.adu.org.za, click on the "LOGIN" tab on the left-hand side of your screen and login with your email (the email you registered with) and password. The left-hand side menus grows longer once you have logged in!
Step 3: On the left-hand side of your screen click on "Data Upload", a form appears. It is a two page form. The first page collects the information, and the second page uploads the photos.
Step 4: Fill in the form. All areas marked with * are required fields: Year, Month, Day, Country, Closest Town, Locality, Latitude, Longitude, and the Source of your GPS coordinates. The "Gazetteer" at Part 3 can be used for localities from which you submit records from regularly; ignore it for now. If you do not have the GPS coordinates you can use the Google Map provided and pinpoint the area where you took the photo (i.e. find the general area, zoom in repeatedly, and click to place a marker on the map, trying to be as accurate as possible). If you use the Google Map, the operation of clicking automatically provides the coordinates. After completing the form click on "Save" at the bottom to save this information, and to move onto the second form.
Step 5: Select the project to which you want to submit your photo. Upload your photos (JPEG images no larger than about 1 MB) and click on "Submit" at the very bottom of the form! After your photo(s) have finished uploading to the database, you will receive a confirmation of the submission. You can load up to three photos per record. The form makes provision for three photos at the site described on the first form. (Usually, there is one record per site, so you skip over the provision for records two and three right down to the bottom of the form, and submit it.) Once the record is submitted, confirmation of its arrival is provided by the appearance of a thumbnail version of your photo, and the basic details of your record.
Well done! You've successfully submitted your first record to the Virtual Museum. You are now a qualified citizen scientist and an ambassador for biodiversity! The drill is the same for all the Virtual Museums of the Animal Demography Unit.
|2013-11-09 ||Les Underhill |
|SABAP1 vs SABAP2: the Rock Dove aka Feral Pigeon |
Richard Brooke wrote in the text for the first bird atlas (when Rock Doves were still called Feral Pigeons): "Feral Pigeons are derived from escaped domestic stock first brought from the Netherlands to South Africa in 1652. When escaped birds first become feral is unknown." In 1997, Richard could write: "They are birds of central urban and industrial areas, including harbours." Nowadays, they also are prevalent in the suburbs, and are increasingly becoming common in agricultural areas. For example, they have largely replaced the Speckled Pigeons on most of the dairy farms in the Swartland. The generally upwards and outwards pattern for the Rock Dove is nicely shown on the SABAP1 vs SABAP2 range change map – the predominant colours are GREEN (upwards, higher reporting rate) and BLUE (outwards, new range).
Feral birds usually breed on the ledges of buildings. Richard noted: “In a few places they have returned to nesting on cliffs, the ancestral site.” If you see Rock Doves breeding anywhere other than on buildings, please write it up as a short note for the ejournal Ornithological Observations. There are only six pictures of Rock Doves in the BirdPix Virtual Museum. One of them, taken in the food plaza at UCT is shown here! It is Record 4108 in the BirdPix Virtual Museum. We would like to see photos not only of the "wild type" Rock Dove, with the irridescent green and purple neck and generally grey underparts, but also of the black, brown and white hybrids, which have clearly derived from birds which more recently became feral. Upload the records to the Virtual Museum at vmus.adu.org.za. Help with uploading records is provided here.
The Rock Dove is native to Mediterranean Sea region and eastward to India. There are introductions to all continents, except Antartica.
Richard's final observation, in his atlas text, dealt with the health of urban populations of Rock Doves: "While there is no interest in the conservation of the Feral Pigeon, it is noticeable that in urban flocks there are many deformed and sickly birds. This is probably due to urban scavenging not always producing a nutritionally balanced diet, or to the effects of pollution."
|2013-11-06 ||Dieter Oschadleus |
|Development of Southern Masked Weaver chick |
On 2 Oct 2009 I ringed 2 Southern Masked Weaver nestlings in a colony of bamboos in Elfindale, Cape Town (same colony photographed in different years, see here). The older chick, ring BE58110, has been recaptured 3 times during normal mist-netting. In its first year, the bird had partial breeding plumage. From its second year it obtains full breeding plumage, as shown in its fourth year below. Read more about the ringing of the weaver chicks here and about earlier results here.