BeKZN’s Colour Me Green eThekwini Atlas Challenge 2021

Final tallies and we have a Winner!

The first atlas challenge undertaken by the club during 2021 aimed to colour the 53 pentads which lie fully or partially within eThekwini Municipality ‘green’ during 2021 to maximise and update information on bird distributions in the municipal area.

To gather data, volunteers select a geographical ‘pentad’ on a map and record all the bird species seen within a set time frame, in order of species seen. Since 2007, more than 17 million records have been collected with about 2 million more being added each year. This valuable dataset is key to determining the conservation status of bird species, correctly assigning red-list status and establishing Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, as well as forming the basis for informing environmental impact assessments. To gather valuable and useful data, atlas coverage needs to be as thorough as possible. Ideally, each pentad should have a baseline of at least four comprehensive checklists (‘cards’), covering several years and seasons. On the coverage maps this will mean a pentad turns ‘green’. Coverage intensity is scaled from yellow to dark purple, making it easy to identify which regions need more checklists. Atlasing is fun and gives your birding a purpose!

So how did we do?

Firstly, my thanks to Dave Rimmer who made my task so much easier by providing a comprehensive summary of the eThekwini pentads, the atlasser’s and their totals. By David’s and my calculation 81% of the pentads in the eThekwini boundary were atlassed at least once and many of the pentads had many more cards than one. That is 43 of the 53 pentads.

What an outstanding effort!

So not only did we turn many of these pentads green but also blue and purple as well (this means than more than 10 cards were submitted for some of the pentads). Some of the colour was contributed by other birders who are not part of the club but the vast majority of colour on the map below is a result of the efforts of BeKZN members. By the numbers – members contributed a total of 466 Full Protocol cards, by atlassing 1752 hours and logging 26 990 individual sightings.

We can be proud and happy that we have indeed made a difference!

Pentads covered in 2021

Who are the stars?

Highest numbers of Full Protocol cards.

Out of the 466 cards submitted five people stand out for having submitted half of that total – an incredible 221 FP cards. In alphabetical order by surname – well done Garth Aiston (43), Adam Cruickshank (46), Tyron Dall (47), Ronnie Herr (22) and Dave Rimmer (63).

Highest species counts

A number of our members also recorded the highest totals for some of the pentads in 2021. Dave Rimmer managed to get the highest species count in 11 pentads with his highest being 131 in pentad 2945_3045. Garth Aiston and Adam Cruickshank both got the highest species counts in 8 pentads and Mark Williams-Wynn in 4.

Individual number of pentads atlassed.

Very impressive numbers of pentads were covered by the top five individuals. Dave Rimmer covered a staggering 29 pentads, Tyron Dall 17, while Adam Cruickshank and Ronnie Herr each did 16.

We have a clear winner!

It is very clear from the numbers we have already unpacked that we have a runaway winner of the challenge. The requirement for winning the grand prize was to submit the most cards covering at least 10 pentads.

Dave Rimmer’s efforts to contribute to this important conservation initiative were nothing short of fantastic! The numbers speak for themselves. He atlassed 29 pentads, submitting 63 full protocol cards singlehandedly 14% of the clubs total . This was achieved through a dedicated 227 hours of atlassing where he wracked up 4 090 individual records.

Dave tells me that the highlight of the atlassing year was a Bearded Woodpecker which he found in his garden! Even more special is Dave’s account “the call is what got me at first having not heard one ever before. And to then locate it to pin an ID on it was the cherry on top. It gave much significance to my ear ops over the last two years”

Dave Rimmer therefore is the winner of the
BeKZN Colour Me Green eThekwini Atlas Challenge
and receives the awesome prize of a
Two Night Stay for two people at
Bonamanzi Game Reserve
with breakfast and dinner included!

Bonamanzi is consistently rated one of the top birding sites in South Africa. Three different habitats of sand forest, grasslands and woodlands have resulted in a rich diversity of species and it is because of the special nature of the area that Bonamanzi was recognised as a Natural Heritage Site in November 1995.

Our big thanks to Bonamanzi for supporting this important conservation effort.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jenny says:

    Many congrats Dave – well deserved.

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