The Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area (NWSMA), partnering with the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT, BirdLife South Africa (BLSA), Birdlasser and the Overberg Crane Group (OCG) have recently launched the ‘Target Species Project’, and we need your help to take it to its full potential!
The Target Species Project, graciously funded by Tygerbird Club, entails the Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA Conservation Managers atlassing (using the Birdlasser mobile app) 37 pentads within the Agulhas Plain-Heuningness area. The region is an Important Bird Area (IBA) recognised by BirdLife SA.
Through the project, the team will focus on finding 26 listed threatened bird ‘Target Species’ which the IBA has highlighted. The 26 species are all ‘targets’ as they are either regionally or globally threatened, and we require as much information pertaining to their habits as possible.
The species are:
|Target Species common name||Target species status|
|Cape Cormorant||Globally threatened|
|Damara Tern||Globally threatened|
|Chestnut-banded Plover||Globally threatened|
|African Black Oystercatcher||Globally threatened|
|Lesser Flamingo||Globally threatened|
|Blue Crane||Globally threatened|
|Denhams Bustard||Globally threatened|
|Southern Black Korhaan||Globally threatened|
|Martial Eagle||Globally threatened|
|Black Harrier||Globally threatened|
|Hottentot Buttonquail||Globally threatened|
|African Marsh-harrier||Regionally threatened species|
|Lanner Falcon||Regionally threatened species|
|African Grass owl||Regionally threatened species|
|Greater Flamingo||Regionally threatened species|
|Caspian Tern||Regionally threatened species|
|Karoo Korhaan||Regionally threatened species|
|Agulhas long-billed lark||Regionally threatened species|
|Striped Flufftail||Regionally threatened species|
|Greater Painted-snipe||Regionally threatened species|
|Cape Spurfowl||Range/Biome restricted species|
|Cape Bulbul||Range/Biome restricted species|
|Cape clapper lark||Nuwejaars Target species|
|Marsh Owl||Nuwejaars Target species|
|Cape Eagle-owl||Nuwejaars Target species|
Table of listed species and current status
The project aims at building up a threatened species database within the Overberg, which can be used to analyse trends concerning population demography, habitat preference, distribution, etc.
The NWSMA and ORCT decided the project would be optimised if it were to work with the Overberg Crane Group (OCG), and use the OCG to store data derived from the project. The OCG focuses on working with partners, to protect threatened birds by providing extension support to land users to deal with human-wildlife conflict, raising awareness about threatened bird species in the Overberg, and collection and storage of data on bird populations within the Overberg.
Using the OCG as a hub for data derived from the specialist species, the dataset can be filtered and passed onto the partner organisations, and also provide valuable insight into other areas of interest.
In order to obtain even more data and build up a very extensive database, we collaborated with BirdLife South Africa and Birdlasser and created a Birdlasser challenge for the Overberg. This way we could have access to a larger data pool, and citizen scientists who joined the challenge would be contributing to the threatened bird database. For the challenge we used a 150 km radius and set the Southernmost Tip of Africa at Agulhas (DDS -34.83315278, DDE 19.999775) as the centre point and this then covers the following IBAs, and encompasses the entire Overberg District Municipality:
- The Agulhas Plain – Heuningnes Estuary;
- Dyer Island;
- Cape Whale Coast;
- Overberg Wheatbelt;
- Langeberg Mountains.
Google Earth image of the Challenge Area
The challenge is currently set to private, but has been opened up to some select birders (17 in total). Currently the challenge has recorded 316 bird species with over 10 000 sighting records! But in 2018 we will be opening the challenge to the public, and we will be offering prizes for the highest species counts over the challenge area, and also the highest number of target species sighted within the challenge area.
Birdlasser webpage showing the Overberg 150km challenge and current results
So download Birdlasser (a FREE app), select the threatened species project under ‘Causes’ and then join the Overberg 150km Challenge under ‘Play’ on or after the 1 January 2018 to make your contributions count!!!!