AFRICAN PENGUIN CONSERVATION FEEDBACK FROM BIRDLIFE SOUTH AFRICA
Posted on the 15th October 2018
Saturday was African Penguin Awareness Day and we have posted and shared several items in this regard. Mark Anderson also highlighted some developments regarding the penguins in his weekly feedback report to bird club chairpersons. Also take note of a comment on a meeting on the Kleinriver estuary that I attended last week:
BIRDLIFE SOUTH AFRICA WORK ON AFRICAN PENGUINS AND THE KLEINRIVER ESTUARY
Christina Hagen spent much of the week preparing for construction of the predator-proof fence at the site of the De Hoop Nature Reserve mainland penguin colony that we are re-establishing. Construction will start next week. She also took delivery of the completed penguin decoys that will be used as part of the attraction process to establish the colony.
Andrew de Blocq had a productive field visit to Stony Point and fitted 10 tracking devices onto African Penguins that are about to start their pre-moult exodus. These are the first penguins that we have tagged at this site as part of the non-breeding research project, so this was a big milestone! These birds will reveal which areas penguins from this colony depend on for their critical pre-moult fattening. Andrew assisted researcher Dr Alistair McInnes to fit underwater cameras and GPS devices on breeding penguins and Cape Cormorants, which was a new species for Andrew to handle and deploy on.
Andrew also kept an electronic eye on the penguins he tagged on Dassen Island, which are coming to the end of their pre-moult phase. Many of these birds are returning to Dassen to moult, but others have headed for Stony Point instead, which poses some interesting research questions. Apart from his penguin work, Andrew also met with collaborators at SAEON about the Atlas of Seabirds at Sea (AS@S) project. Ross Wanless started developing an application to the Charl van der Merwe Trust, for renewal of funding for the island closures and related work that we’ve lead for the past 9 years.
Giselle Murison met with CapeNature and representatives of the Klein River Estuary Advisory Forum and bird clubs in the Hermanus/Stanford area to discuss bird information signage and other educational material needed for the Klein River estuary (and wider Cape Whale Coast Important Bird and Biodiversity Area).
She joined Stanford Bird Club chair, Peter Hochfelden, skipper of the Lady Stanford river boat, for a wonderful trip along the Klein River on Monday evening (featuring more than 40 waterbird species), and saw first-hand the urgent need for water-based signage for the zoned bird sanctuary in the upper estuary.