Carina Coetzer had an introductory visit with Ernst Retief and EWT’s Bradley Gibbons to the Wilge Stewardship area around Ingula, which she will be focusing more on from 2018. They also attended the KBA Community Webinar presented by Daniel Marnewick. Carina then continued with the monthly avifaunal surveys on Ingula, including Yellow-breasted Pipit, Southern Bald Ibis and Lanner Falcon breeding monitoring. Linda van den Heever worked on various reports pertaining to the Lead and Black Stork projects. She also joined Hanneline Smit-Robinson for a Skype meeting with Prof. Bill Bowerman from the University of Maryland. Robin Colyn participated in the annual Taita Falcon survey aimed at monitoring breeding populations of the species around the Mpumalanga/Limpopo escarpment.
Renewable energy
Sam Ralston met with Allan Palmer and Jonathan Visser from Integrated Wind Power Ltd to discuss the proposed Boulders Wind Farm on the West Coast. She also met with Arcus Consulting and Windlab about the proposed Umsinde Emoyeni Wind Farm where additional bird monitoring has been done in an attempt to resolve potential impacts on Verreauxs’ Eagle. Sam screened a potential wind farm site for Atlantic Energy Partners. The area turned out to be of very high sensitivity and Atlantic Energy Partners indicated that they would not pursue wind farm development in the area. A perfect example of the power of early engagement. Lastly the Birds and Renewable Energy Project is seeking to appoint an intern for 2018. For more information visit our website: http://www.birdlife.org.za/about-us/vacancies SEABIRD CONSERVATION PROGRAMME
The Seabird team was joined by their IBA and Terrestrial Bird Conservation Cape Town-based colleagues for an end of year picnic at Oudekraal beach.
Albatross Task Force
Andrea Angel, Philip Augustyn and Bronwyn Marrie met with CapMarine to finalise the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the management of the observer deployments in the Pelagic Longline (PLL)sector, aimed at improving data collection and observer coverage for the fleet. She and Nini van der Merwe worked on the agenda and logistics in preparation for the Brazil National Awareness Workshop (NAW) in Brazil next week. She also met with Samantha Matjila and Rory Crawford on Skype to discuss the future of the Namibian ATF team, in light of recent changes in management so as to improve collaborative work and support between the two teams. Reason Nyengera has analysed the Bird Mitigation Plan reports looking at analysing the level of uptake of recommended seabird bycatch mitigation measures by industry. He made up demonstration kits of seabird bycatch mitigation measures for the NAW in Brazil,next week. Philip Augustyn finalized data entering and reporting for CapMarine and BLSA. Decided on tasks for remainder of the year, including producing a brochure for Ocean View Association for Persons with Disabilities to showcase the manufacturing bird-scaring lines. He also took over managing PLL vessel deployment database and engagement with CapMarine going forward. In other news Rory Crawford from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has from this 1st of December taken over the ATF coordinator role previously held by Oli Yates, who has moved on to work on Britain's Blue Belt ocean conservation initiative - we wish them both the best in their new positions!
Common Oceans
Bronwyn Maree has continued to assist with the planning of the Port-based Outreach Inception Workshop in Fiji and has submitted the required work plan and protocols to complete this work to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Together with Andrea Angel, they had a catch up skype call with the Namibian Seabird Bycatch Mitigation Instructor. In addition she spent time settling Philip Augustyn into his new role of the Port-based Outreach Officer. With the Brazil National Awareness Workshop fast approaching, Nini van der Merwe worked towards finalising preparations to ensure that the workshop runs smoothly. She also completed the Indonesian Observer Training report and finalised the order for the sliding leads that will soon be used in at-sea trials in the Indonesian tuna longline fleet. Philip finalized his contract and completed the relevant security courses and was inducted and briefed by Bronwyn on the Port-based Outreach Officer role he was recently appointed to.
Coastal seabirds
Christina Hagen was in De Hoop Nature Reserve in the early part of the week, to conduct a site visit with CapeNature staff and have a meeting to discuss the management plan for re-establishing the African Penguin colony there. This was a very useful and productive time and Christina learned a lot from the expertise of the CapeNature staff. Taryn Morris returned from the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission meeting in the Seychelles and went almost straightaway to a Small Pelagic Working Group meeting to discuss the fishing quotas for next year. IBA PROGRAMME - NATIONAL
Daniel Marnewick presented in a BirdLife International Partnership webinar on Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) and specifically on the KBA Community. This was the first of many such webinars where Daniel will be engaging with the KBA Community of practice on a global scale. Daniel then travelled to southern KZN with Yvonne Pennington (who is a BirdLife South Africa Board of Directors member), where they met with a sponsor, with a Programme partner, and finally attended the Blue Swallow Working Group meeting. Daniel ended the week (and in fact the year as he goes on leave from Friday) with two skype meetings regarding KBAs. The first was with BirdLife Botswana to give them advice on advancing KBAs in the country, and the other with the KBA Consultative Forum. Romy Antrobus-Wuth spent time this week compiling and submitting a funding proposal for the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust to support the IBA and Policy & Advocacy Programmes with Biodiversity Stewardship work in southern KwaZulu-Natal. IBA PROGRAMME - REGIONAL CONSERVATION AND PROJECTS
Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Free State
Ernst Retief spent some time this week finalising the results for Birding Big Day 2017. In total 650 bird species were recorded by about 1 200 birders. More than 40 000 records were submitted. Ernst also answered queries about donations and payments. On Monday and Tuesday Ernst visited the Wilge Stewardship Site with Carina Coetzer. The purpose of the trip was to introduce Carina to the area and the work that has been done so far. One landowner was also visited and the development of avitourism projects in the area was also discussed. On Friday Ernst attended a meeting to discuss the future of SABAP2 and the continued support of BirdLasser for SABAP2.
Verlorenvlei Protected Area Project
On Wednesday, Samantha Schröder hosted the Moutonshoek Landowners Celebration. The celebration was an opportunity to thank the landowners that form part of the Moutonshoek Protected Environment for their support towards the Verlorenvlei Protected Areas Project over the past four years. On Thursday she attended the Sandveld Conservation Committee meeting where she presented a final report on the project and supplied input on fire management for the upcoming fire season. POLICY & ADVOCACY PROGRAMME
Candice Stevens attended the United National Development Programme (UNDP)’s Biodiversity Finance (BioFin) workshop this week. The BioFin Workshop validated the South African BioFin Finance Plan and included stakeholders and influential policy makers from numerous different sectors. Candice’s provided comments and input into a number of BioFin Solutions and provided detailed oversight on the Biodiversity Tax Incentive which are listed as one of South Africa’s 16 BioFin Solutions. Candice was also approached by the Department of Environmental Affairs to potentially collate further comments on the implementation of the BioFin Finance Plan in 2018. In addition to her policy work on financial sustainability for biodiversity protection, Candice attended to a number of items related to priority advocacy cases for BirdLife South Africa and pending and ongoing litigation. Candice also attended the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)’s end of year review workshop before going on leave. Jono Booth spent the week responding to a number of advocacy cases and emerging issues, and developing a position statement on a key piece of advocacy work. A new issues which Jono engaged with and submitted comments for is an extensive gold mining application in the Blyde River Canyon which has caused much concern amongst local communities and conservationists.
Fiscal Benefits Project
Candice concluded her final conversation with National Treasury for 2017 and is looking forward to a productive engagement with them in 2018. Furthermore, she had final discussions with pilot sites launching section 37D tax returns for the year end of 31 December 2017.” AVITOURISM & SPECIAL PROJECTS PROGRAMME
Martin Taylor undertook work on the BirdLife South Africa Checklist of Birds in South Africa 2018. A Skype meeting involving BirdLife Zimbabwe and Birdwatch Zambia, was attended with the focus being on coordinating conservation efforts in the KAZA region. A number of administrative tasks were taken care of including work done on programme budgets for 2018. Ian Owtram focused on finalising a funding proposal to ACSA which covered the training and placement of guides in internship positions at private game lodges. Negotiations around the placement of learners at various lodges took place and the outlook for the programme is looking positive. Final bookings and budgets for the PIB tour group in March were made. The SANBI citizen scientist programme continued with more pentads being atlassed. WAKKERSTROOM CENTRE
The Wakkerstroom Centre has been enjoying the last few days of rain, with close on 100 mm recorded over nine days. This week has been filled with various tasks preparing for a really busy weekend. Monday saw Kristi Garland attending to the Working on Fire end of year items and administration. Tuesday saw Daphne Pyott attending to more of the Centre’s preparation for the Christmas period with regards to bookings for accommodation and bird guides. Kristi was on leave from Tuesday to Thursday this week. Lucky Ngwenya was out and about despite the rather wet weather. He reports the following sightings: Amur Falcon, White Stork and Common Buzzard on the Amersfoort Road and Pink-billed Lark, Botha’s Lark and Marsh Owl in Daggakraal. On returning to the office on Friday, Kristi tackled the final arrangements for a letter of appointment with David Nkosi. David will be joining our team as an independent contractor for the National Lotteries Biodiversity Stewardship Education Project as of 2nd January 2018 for a year. Friday also saw Kristi finalising venues and sites for the Wakkerstroom BioBash Weekend with Richard and Candice McKibbin from the LionHeart Experience. A total of 39 participants attended the 2-day programme, focussing on birds, frogs, butterflies and reptiles. Late Friday afternoon the Centre welcomed the Nkalaketla Eco-Club from van Reenen who also spent the weekend with us. They joined the BioBash participants on a frogging evening as well as a ringing session. Quite an experience for the group of 14 children. CORE
The interim audit for the 2017 financial year took place during the week. Fanie du Plessis and Isabel Human were on the interview panel for a new Threatened Species Project Manager. The Remuneration & Nominations Committee met on Tuesday. Mark Anderson attended a SABAP2 meeting, and on Saturday attended a meeting which has the aim of turning Parkhurst into a poison-free and owl-friendly suburb.