4-9 November 2019

SEABIRD CONSERVATION PROGRAMME

Albatross Task Force

Andrea Angel and Reason Nyengera have been working with Alison and Stephen Connelly on the submission of a research proposal to the Marine Stewardship Programme as well as an application to the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) Future Conservationist Awards, lead by Reason with Andrew de Blocq as co-researcher. Andrea, Reason and Alistair McInnes met with Rory Crawford, Albatross Task Force coordinator, for a mid-year catch-up meeting.

Gough Island Restoration Programme

Nini van der Merwe participated in multiple Skype meetings to discuss the next phase of the project and prepare for accepting incoming cargo. She also edited an article on the project for a South African outdoor magazine.

Common Oceans

Nini engaged with the BirdLife Pacific office in Fiji to discuss the final stages for completion of the Port-Based Outreach project. She also worked with Cleo Small and Ross Wanless to complete the final report on the project.

Coastal Seabirds

Christina Hagen worked on a draft translocation plan and MOU with SANCCOB for the De Hoop African Penguin colony project. Alistair, Andrew and Christina worked on the Coastal Seabirds section of the broader Seabird Conservation Programme strategy document and coordinated their comments on the recently gazetted African Penguin Biodiversity Management Plan. Andrew and Alistair had a productive meeting with colleagues at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) about the hosting of two workshops regarding the depletion of forage fish and related concerns for seabird conservation as well as a first meeting of an international working group for Benguela seabird conservation under the auspices of the African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA).

TERRESTRIAL BIRD CONSERVATION PROGRAMME

Preventing extinctions

Melissa Howes-Whitecross, Hanneline Smit-Robinson, Robin Colyn and Elelwani Makhuvha attended and participated in the 3rd AEWA White-winged Flufftail International  Working Group meeting that took place in Dullstroom this week. Robin presented an overview of the latest research findings, including the recording of the first breeding record for the southern hemisphere and the vocalisation of the species.  The meeting was hosted by DEFF, chaired by Skumsa Nchanga, Chief Director, DEFF, with discussions lead by Sergey Dereliev from the AEWA secretariat.

Ingula Partnership

Carina Coetzer attended and presented at The Conservation Symposium at St. Ives, Lions River, KwaZulu-Natal). She submitted comments on the Ingula Nature Reserve Advisory Committee Terms of Reference and made contact with the Southern Bald Ibis citizen monitors.

Vulture conservation

Linda van den Heever also attended the 2019 Conservation Symposium, where she presented talks on the distribution of the Southern Banded Snake Eagle (on behalf of Melissa Howes-Whitecross), the implementation of Vulture Safe Zones in South Africa and the prevalence of lead poisoning in South Africa’s vulture species. Linda also presented the latter talk to a team of wildlife rehabilitators at FreeMe Wildlife on Wednesday. She met with Brent Coverdale and Sonja Krüger (Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife), Chris Kelly (Wildlife Act) and Gareth Tate (EWT) to discuss the implementation of Vulture Safe Zones under the banner of Project Vulture. On Friday she attended a question-and-answer session on the lead poisoning issue with Jonathan Swift from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. Linda also completed and submitted for review the minutes of the latest Lead Task Team meeting.

Renewable energy

Nolumanyano Camagu assisted Samantha Ralston with administrative duties and compiling media content.

IBA PROGRAMME

Blue Swallow Monitoring Project

Blue Swallow monitoring for the new season has begun. The good news is that birds have been seen in several areas and a potential new nest site has been found in the Umzimkulu area. Steve McKean prepared and delivered a presentation on Blue Swallow population trends and monitoring results at the premier conservation-related Conservation Symposium held in KwaZulu-Natal. The Conservation Outcomes-BirdLife South Africa partnership was also showcased. Steve also led a well-attended field trip to Impendle Nature Reserve as part of this conference. He hoped to show delegates Blue Swallows but saw only one fleeting glance of a Blue Swallow. However, this does confirm that the birds are back at Impendle.

Mistbelt Grassland and Forest Conservation Project

Steve is preparing the required memos for submission of the final declaration documents for Roelton Nature Reserve to the KZN MEC’s office. Roelton will add a further approximately 150 hectares of mistbelt grassland and Blue Swallow habitat to the conservation estate.

Conservation Areas (Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures)

Daniel Marnewick spent most of this week continuing to work on the draft Methodology for recognising, reporting and supporting Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures.

Policy and Advocacy

Jonathan Booth participated in the webinar for Africa BirdLife partners on post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. He also chaired a BirdLife International African Site Casework and Emerging Threats Taskforce (ASCET) meeting and has begun to assist Nature Kenya with a powerline related threat that was identified in the meeting. Jonathan and Ian Little from the Endangered Wildlife Trust met with WWF-SA staff to discuss the proposal to develop Best Practice Guidelines for Implementing the Mitigation Hierarchy and the process for applying to the Nedbank Green Trust for funding. He also participated in a Conservation Finance call with the Bertha Centre at the University of Cape Town to discuss conservation financing training needs. Jonathan also travelled to Pretoria to work with Enviro-Insight on finalising sections of the Best Practice Guidelines for Species Impact Assessments.

Other

Daniel participated in the webinar for Africa BirdLife partners on post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and in the BirdLife Post-2020 Task Team Meeting. Both of these meetings discussed BirdLife’s position on the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and targets. Daniel’s specific focus is the area-based conservation targets, but he also made contributions to other areas, such as international collaboration and corridors and mainstreaming. Hiral Naik and Melissa hosted the annual Phil Liggett cycle fundraiser in Pafuri, Kruger National Park, from 1-4 November. The event was a great success and lots of positive feedback was received from the 18 cycling guests. The event raised almost R100 000 which will be used to secure important sites and habitats for birds and biodiversity. Hiral spent the week creating social media posts about the event and creating additional media to share the success of the event.

TAX/FISCAL INCENTIVE WORK

Candice Stevens met with SANParks to discuss the technical elements of section 37D and NEMPAA. Candice also provided Ellane van Wyk with technical guidance on some interpretative tax issues with section 37D, including right of use and valuations. Ellane van Wyk spent the week working on the finalisation of the legal tax opinion for KZN Tax Site #1 after a market valuation was done this week. Final submission in the taxpayer’s tax return to follow within the next week. She also had some queries from the taxpayer at WC Tax Site #14(a) and (b) regarding the legal tax opinions, which she attended to.

AVITOURISM & SPECIAL PROJECTS PROGRAMME

Martin Taylor returned from leave and dealt with a number of pending administrative issues. The remainder of the week was spent working on aspects of the birding tourism feasibility study in preparation for a meeting with representatives from the Peace Parks Foundation to be held from 18-22 November. Work was initiated on a proposal focusing on the conservation of the Southern Ground-Hornbill in Zimbabwe.

HEAD OF CONSERVATION

Hanneline Smit-Robinson, in her role as coordinator of the AEWA White-winged Flufftail International Working Group, attended this meeting in Dullstroom. Hanneline presented the new proposed Conservation Division structure for discussion at the Board of Directors strategy meeting.

MEMBERSHIP PROGRAMME

October 2019 month-end has been completed and Shireen will be emailing the membership reports to the clubs during the course of next week.  Bulk subscriptions of the November/December 2019 issue African Birdlife have all been distributed.  Janine Goosen has been dealing with calendar sales and Shireen has been manning Shop for the Birds!  The membership team attended the short staff meeting on Wednesday morning.

CORE

Several meetings were held, including the bi-annual BirdLife National Trust meeting, a 2020 budget meeting (with our Chairman and Treasurer), and the bi-monthly African Birdlife Management Committee meeting. Mark Anderson’s annual appraisal was done by Philip Calinikos and Manuela Krog. Mark also met with  Ian Barber (RSPB) (by Skype) and Imran Vanker (IRBA). The monthly staff meeting was held by Zoom. Mark spent much time preparing the materials for the Board packs for next week’s Board meeting. A Board strategy meeting was held at Isdell House on Saturday