RAVE : Days 8 to 11 (4 to 7 December 2023)

On 4 December, the RAVE scene moved to Vondeling Wine Farm, and the eastern edge of the Paardeberg. (RAVE = Ringing, Atlasing, Virtual-museuming Expedition.) This is the report on Days 8 to 11, Monday to Thursday. The first week of the RAVE was spent at Botuin, Vanrhynsdorp, and the report on the first four days, is here, and on the Days 5 to 7 is here.

ScorpionMAP

A nightwalk on the lower slopes of the Paardeberg with several UV torches generated records of Uroplectes carinatus. This is a widespread species that we also recorded last week at Botuin. Here is the photo, under UV light, taken with a cell phone:

… and here is the photo being taken!

FrogMAP

We have records of six species of frogs. This is a Clicking Stream Frog Strongylopus grayii.

… and here is a Cape Sandfrog!

LepiMAP

This is the set up we use for attracting moths. It’s a UV light hanging above a white sheet.

Here is one of the many moths attracted to the light:

This moth is Nama Knob Acantholipes namacensis,

On the Paardeberg there were also butterflies to contribute to LepiMAP. Two records are shown here …

… on the left is the Protea Charaxes Charaxes pelias. The two photos on the right are the upper side and the under side of the male of the Vivid Pierrot Tarucus thespis.

ReptileMAP

This Southern Rock Agama Agama atra lizard demonstrated his ability to do push ups.

LacewingMAP

The insects attracted to the UV light are mostly moths, but it also attracts species from other orders. Here is an antlion which landed on the sheet. It will be uploaded to LacewingMAP:

It is Palpares speciousus which has Spotted Veld Antlion as its English name. The wingspan of this individual was close on 12 cm.

DungbeetleMAP

The UV lamp attracted a single dung beetle. This is Onitis aygulus.

MammalMAP

Appropriately for a wine farm, the theme for this section is mammals in the vineyards.

Here is Duiker taking shelter in the vineyards …

… and here is a hare making its risky way across a lawn heading for the safety of the vineyard.

Ringing

Bird ringing has taken place during the cooler half of the mornings, and most evenings. Among the many species ringed were both malachites:

… Malachite Kingfisher and Malachite Sunbird.

BirdPixing

We have done lots of BirdPixing. African Paradise Flycatchers had bred in a small patch of oaks:

The male with its long tail on the right. On the left, a newly fledged young, still being fed by the adults.

It’s breeding season for the peafowl at Vondeling. This male, with its impressive tail, is the width of the gravel road. Peafowl have been feral here for at least two decades.

Atlasing

The RAVE team did a checklist for pentad 3310_1805 in the West Coast National Park, with 44 species.

Appreciation

We greatly value the hospitality of the entire team at Vondeling Wine Farm. Wine tasting and wine sales have moved to Vrymansfontein, close to Paarl. This farm is part of the Vondeling Wines family. We enjoyed a magnificent lunch at the new restaurant at Vrymansfontein, which opened less than a month ago. The view stretches all the way to Table Mountain. Recommended!

Part of the RAVE team at Vrymansfontein.

Friday and Saturday are our last full days at Vondeling Wine Farm, and on Sunday we move on to Ouberg Private Nature Reserve in the mountains behind Montagu.

Les Underhill
Les Underhill
Prof Les Underhill has been Director of the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town since it started in 1991. Although citizen science in biology is Les’s passion, his academic background is in mathematical statistics. He was awarded his PhD in abstract multivariate analyses in 1973 at UCT and what he likes to say about his PhD is that he solved a problem that no one has ever had. He soon grasped that this was not the field to which he wanted to devote his life, so he retrained himself as an applied statistician, solving real-world problems.