REPORT ON COORDINATED WATERBIRD COUNTS DURING 2019
Posted on the 18th December 2019
BIRDLIFE OVERBERG’S CLEANMARINE PROJECT 2: REPORT ON THE QUARTERLY CO-ORDINATED WATERBIRD COUNTS (CWACs) ALONG THE OVERSTRAND ESTUARIES (2019)
This project is one of six campaigns forming part of BirdLife Overberg’s CleanMarine campaign. The background of the initial CleanMarine campaign description is at this link:
Comprehensive quarterly CWAC counts along the Cape Whale Coast estuaries are now being undertaken. The standard protocols prescribed by the Animal Demography Unit at UCT and BirdLife South Africa are used for the counts. The results are forwarded to Dr Giselle Murison, the Estuaries Manager at BirdLife South Africa and Pierre de Villiers of CapeNature for discussion at the meetings of the various Estuary Management Forums. These counts should enable the Estuary Management Forums to make more meaningful decisions regarding the conservation of birds along these estuaries.
The various estuaries in the Overstrand Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) being counted are:
• The Palmiet River mouth
• Various sections of the Botrivervlei (Teams of volunteers do counts at the following sites: Botriver bridge to Benguela Cove, Fisherhaven to Benguela Cove, Fisherhaven to Meer-en-See, Arabella Estate to Rooisand, the Rooisand area and the Kleinmond mouth area)
• The Vermont salt pan and the Onrus River estuary
• The Kleinriver estuary (These include two counts at the area around the mouth and the upper reaches at Stanford) and
• The Uilenkraals Estuary.
Some of the organisations involved in these counts include the Tygerberg, Kleinmond, Hermanus and Stanford Bird Clubs, BirdLife Overberg, CapeNature and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. We express our sincere appreciation to all the dedicated volunteers from these organizations. As a result of these successful counts officials from CapeNature have now requested BirdLife Overberg to assist with regular CWAC counts at the De Hoop Nature Reserve: “We in the operational side in the new landscape need to ensure that this critical activity continues (at De Hoop). It requires specialised birding skills and expertise hence it was a suggestion that we could partner with Birdlife Overberg to assist us with doing these counts”. This matter is currently being considered and feedback on this will be given as soon as a decision has been taken in the New Year.
It should further be mentioned that various reports and comments on development proposals have been submitted as a result of our involvement along these estuaries. These include comments on the proposed revision of the Protected Areas Management Plan (PAMP) for the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, comments on a bird-watching boating safari application at the Klein River estuary and a memorandum supporting the proposed project on the removal of exotic reeds from the Onrus River estuary. A proposal for the regular testing of the water quality at the Vermont salt pan has also been submitted to the Overstrand Municipality.
It has become evident that more volunteers will be needed in future to ensure the sustainability of this very important project and all conservation-minded birders in the region are requested to contact the organisers. Volunteer your services with Carin at Carin.Malan@fruitways.co.za or 073 172 2660 or Anton at email@example.com or 082 550 3347.
The dates for the quarterly BirdLife Overberg CWAC counts during 2020 are 8 February, 9 May, 4 July and 7 November.
We express our sincere appreciation to Carin Malan for coordinating this major effort.