RAVE : Days 12 and 13 (8 and 9 December 2023)

The first week of the RAVE (RAVE = Ringing, Atlasing, Virtual-museuming Expedition) was spent at Botuin, Vanrhynsdorp, and the report on the first four days, is here, and the report on the Days 5 to 7 is here. RAVE then moved to Vondeling Wine Farm, and the eastern edge of the Paardeberg. The report for Days 8 to 11 is here. This is the report on Days 12 to 13, Friday and Saturday, 8 and 9 December. This report largely focuses on two aspects of our time at Vondeling Wine Farm, bird ringing and OdonataMAPping.

Ringing

The total number of birds ringed at Vondeling Wine Farm was 209 birds of 28 species.

Common nameHandled
Redbilled Teal3
Red-eyed Dove1
Ring-necked Dove3
Laughing Dove4
Speckled Mousebird1
Malachite Kingfisher1
Greater Striped Swallow2
Cape Bulbul8
Cape Robin-chat2
Lesser Swamp Warbler1
African Reed Warbler14
Bar-throated Apalis2
Levaillant’s Cisticola5
Fiscal Flycatcher10
Common Starling5
Malachite Sunbird1
House Sparrow16
Cape Sparrow8
Cape Weaver53
Southern Masked Weaver26
Southern Red Bishop19
Yellow Bishop3
Common Waxbill2
Cape Canary2
Streaky-headed Canary4
Cape White-eye4
Karoo Prinia7
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow2

This includes a few rehabilitated birds that were brought to us for ringing; the Red-billed Teals had been raised from the tiny duckling stage, and were almost ready for release. It was interesting to see them in the hand. One of them is in the photo below.

OdonataMAPping

We explored the Vondeling farm and the adjacent Paardeberg as intensively as feasible for dragonflies and damselflies. The objective was to collect records for the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum. There was no flowing water on the top of this range of granite hills. We were looking for a few of the Western Cape endemics, but failed to find them. The total number of species found was 18, which represents about 12% of the total number of species of dragonflies and damselflies in South Africa.

Common Citril (Ceriagrion glabrum)
Masai Sprite (Pseudagrion massaicum)
Tropical Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis)
Blue Emperor (Anax imperator)
Friendly Hawker (Zosteraeschna minuscula)
Common Thorntail (Ceratogomphus pictus)
Common Hooktail (Paragomphus genei)
Darting Cruiser (Phyllomacromia picta)
Two-striped Skimmer (Orthetrum caffrum)
Cape Skimmer (Orthetrum capicola)
Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria)
Eastern Blacktail (Nesciothemis farinosa)
Black Percher (Diplacodes levebvrii)
Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea)
Little Scarlet (Crocothemis sanguinolenta)
Nomad (Sympetrum fonscolombi)
Red-veined Dropwing (Trithemis arteriosa)
Ferruginous Glider (Tramea limbata)

Four of these species are illustrated below:

The third leg of the RAVE is at Ouberg Private Nature Reserve.

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.