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Cape Bird Club Newsletter                July 2014

We are trying out a new program and would welcome your feedback.
Please email your comments or suggestions to Cheryl Leslie at

July 2014 Reminders

Monthly Outing on Sunday 20 July 2014

Meet at 09h00 at the new braai & picnic area on the eastern shore of Zeekoevlei.
After driving around, we will return to this area for brunch / tea and to draw up our bird list for the day.
Directions:Get onto the M17 / Strandfontein Road. The turn off to Zeekoevlei Road / False Bay Ecology Park is well signposted.
LEADER: Dave Whitelaw
ENQUIRIES: Priscilla Beeton:Cell:084 603 9987  Email:


Contributions for Promerops

The deadline for contributions for the next issue of Promerops is Wednesday 16 July 2014.
Please send your observations, notes etc to Otto Schmidt at

From the Committee

On Saturday 21 June 2014 the Cape Bird Club Committee met at Clara Anna Fontein near Durbanville for a Strategy Workshop.
We had a productive day discussing some of the pressing issues facing the club.
At a strategy workshop held in August 2013 a vision statement was formulated for the Cape Bird Club. The new committee discussed the way forward for the club with the vision statement in mind. We came up with some practical ideas which will be shared as we are able to implement them.

We aspire to be the best bird club in Africa and have a strong and growing membership.
The following attributes describe our club:
l  We have a strong relationship with BLSA
l  We are a friendly, dynamic and enthusiastic club in which both families and individuals of diverse backgrounds, both young and old, feel at home
l  We cater for a variety of interests
l  We are conservation minded and active in conservation initiatives
l  We are a community of active citizen scientists
l  We support academic research
l  We are informative and communicate well
l  The club is soundly governed and is financially strong, able to meet short and long term goals
l  We are well connected to relevant stakeholders
l  We conduct outreach into communities

Thank you to Chairman Sean de Nobrega for arranging such a lovely venue. We were able to sit on the stoep outside the function room and enjoy the winter sunshine while getting down to our discussions.
Together with the serious business of the day, we were treated to sightings of a Jackal Buzzard, Ostriches and Large Grey Mongooses.  (Thanks to Helen Fenwick for the photos below)

Cape Bird Club Fundraiser: 4 December 2014

Please support the Cape Bird Club Fund Raiser at Theatre on the Bay on 4 December 2014.

Join us for a fun-filled evening with Alan Committie in “The Sound of Laughter”
Proceeds will be used for conservation projects.
For tickets please contact Helen Fenwick (after 21 July 2014)
Phone: 082 705 1536

Cape Bird Club Organogram

At a recent evening meeting Priscilla Beeton projected an organogram that shows all the groups and functions that it takes to run the Cape Bird Club.  It shows the involvement of the many members – all volunteers – who give up their time to make sure that our club runs well. 
The importance of this organogram is that it also shows members who are not yet involved in some way where they could offer their help.  Important vacancies are shown in red – either red highlighting or, where help is desperately needed, a red outline around a block. 
For example, we would love 2 or 3 people to offer to help John Magner and Patrick Reilly on the Sound and Projection team (a larger team would mean that those two men don’t HAVE to be there every month as others would be available to assist). 
You may be just the right person to come and help on the Internal Audit Committee. 
Perhaps you know of fantastic places where we could hold camps – then please consider offering your services to the Local Camps Committee. 
Even where there is no indication with red highlighting that help is needed in a specific portfolio, but you feel that that is where you could or would like to get involved, please offer!  Working with others in a specific portfolio is a wonderful way to meet other Bird Club members! 
But now the ‘biggies’ – the blocks outlined in red.  We are desperately looking for people to help produce Promerops!  We already have people who are prepared to proofread and also to check that the bird details are correct.  We do however need an Editor who will decide with the team what goes into the Promerops magazine, which from next year will be published just 3 times per year.  Could YOU be that person?  Perhaps you have some editorial experience, but even if you don’t, Jo Hobbs is willing to work alongside you and help you until you know the ropes. 
We also desperately need an Outings Coordinator.  This involves planning venues and leaders for the monthly Sunday outings, and keeping tabs on the midweek outings. 
We would like to resurrect the Junior Bird Club – if you are interested in enthusing children and teens about bird watching, perhaps you would be able to contribute in this area.  How you run this portfolio would be up to you.
This organogram is a work in progress.  It will be changing constantly. If you can see a gap in our Cape Bird Club organization, please feel free to suggest changes.
Please contact any one of the members on the committee if you would like to offer your services, if you would like to comment or make changes. 
This is our club and we all need to work together to make it the best club it can be!


Message from Professor Les Underhill of SABAP2& UCT’s ADU

The eighth year of SABAP2, the Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project started on 1 July 2014. When we set out on this journey on 1 July 2007, none of us dreamed that we would still be keeping going.
The biggest lesson from SABAP2 is that bird distributions are on the move. We cannot afford to stop atlasing. SABAP2 is probably the best broad-brush bird monitoring exercise anywhere on the planet.

Wish list for Year 8 of SABAP2
If you are an atlaser, please maintain “sustainable atlasing.” We cannot afford for you to suffer “burn-out.” Please keep on atlasing at the pace you enjoy doing it.

If you are not yet an atlaser, please learn the protocol and get involved. We are NOT near the END of the project, we are near the BEGINNING. We need you on board. Atlasing is easier than it has ever been with Lynx Birdticks (Android) and BirdLasser (iPhone). See their Facebook pages.

There is no pentad for which we have “enough” data.

The top priority remains full protocol checklists – a minimum of two hours of intensive birding within a pentad which aims to produce as comprehensive a list as feasible of the species present in the pentad.

If you are able to travel, please help fill the major gaps in coverage. Try to participate in gap-filling expeditions. Even better, take courage, and organize an expedition yourself.

Please treat any pentad with fewer than four full-protocol checklists as a top priority pentad.

If you are in an area where data coverage is poor, and you have the opportunity to make even a short list of species for a few minutes, please submit the records as an ad hoc list.

If you have seen a single species which you know is rare in a pentad (or might not yet have been observed), please submit it as an incidental record. If in doubt, submit.

If a pentad has not yet been atlased in 2014, treat it as a priority. Try to get 2014 coverage up to four checklists in as many pentads as feasible.

Please be careful. Please ask permission before you venture onto private land. Please don’t atlas and drive at the same time.

If you have a collection of "Out of Range Forms" (ORFs) please make a resolution to deal with them.

Please try to be an Ambassador for Biodiversity. How do you answer this question: “How does my participation SABAP2 make a difference for biodiversity conservation?”?

Please try to recruit new atlasers. Mentoring is a powerful tool in bringing new atlasers on board. We need to share the workload out more broadly!

If you are within striking distance of the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens on Saturday, 16 August, please attend the ADU's Citizen Scientist Day. On the pogramme will be bird atlas feedback. We have done comparisons between bird distributions in the first and second bird atlas projects. The changes go way beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.

Most important, your participation needs to be something that you enjoy doing.

Viva SAPAB2!
Les and the SABAP2 Team

If you are on Facebook, you should join the SABAP2 community at
Good News for Albatrosses
The Mail & Guardian newspaper’s prestigious, annual ‘Greening the Future’ awards ceremony was held in Johannesburg recently.   The Albatross Task Force has taken top honours for their innovative solution which has reduced albatross deaths in a local fishery by more than 90%.
The main threat to albatrosses is death at the end of a hook on a fishing long-line.   The Albatross Task Force was established in 2005 by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and BirdLife International in an effort to find ways to prevent unnecessary albatross deaths. 
The ATF is active in 9 countries, where members of the task force work directly with fishermen to try and find solutions to the problem of hooking seabirds accidentally.  Fishermen do not want to see a dead albatross on a hook – bait lost to a bird is a lost catch.  The main work of ATF instructors is done at sea where they collect data and conduct experiments.  They also engage with the fishermen and ship’s captains in an effort to find and implement solutions to the problem of seabird bycatch.
In South Africa the ATF works with 3 fleets within our local waters:  the deep-sea hake trawl fishery, the pelagic longline fishery (made up of local and foreign Asian fishing vessels) and the hake longline fleet.
In 2008 it was estimated that 18,000 birds were dying in the SA trawl fishery each year.  By using bird scaring lines (lines strung off the back of the trawler with streamers hanging from them) to scare the birds away from the danger area bird deaths can be prevented.  In April 2014 BirdLife South Africa released a paper showing that accidental deaths have been reduced by 90% - for albatrosses the news is even better as there are now up to 99% fewer deaths per year.
Congratulations to the Albatross Task Force and BirdLife SA for this wonderful success story.

The weekend camp will take place from 19th to 21st September.
The venue is Beloftebos Farm which is located close to Salmonsdam Nature Reserve near Stanford.
Please see details in the June issue of Promerops.

There is space for a few more people - please contact Charles Saunders at if you are interested.


Contributions for the monthly newsletter

Contributions from members are very welcome.
Please send contributions (photos, recent interesting sightings etc) to Cheryl Leslie on before the 25th of each month

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If you know of anyone who is not receiving the Cape Bird Club newsletter or whom you think would like to receive it please ask them to email Cheryl Leslie on so that their details can be added to the mailing list.
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