FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 4
iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge
You will recall that in the last Newsletter we urged you to participate in the iNaturalist challenge on 26-29 April 2019. Well, some very good news! Cape Town won the competition on the categories that (we think) count:
- the most number of species – an amazing tally of 4 145 – nearly 1 000 more than our closest rivals, Hong Kong!
- the most observations - an astounding 6 787 - more than La Paz, our closest competitor, from super biodiverse South America.
Gigi Laidler from SANBI (Kirstenbosch) thanked everyone involved in her email:
‘A huge thank you to every one of you who made this achievement possible by participating in the Challenge of taking pictures and uploading them on iNaturalist, and then tackling the mammoth task of doing all the identifications. There are many unsung heros among you who went to great lengths to get those rare and unusual observations, often travelling to really remote parts of the City’s reserves to get one or two species, and those who burnt the midnight oil slogging away at the identifications, helping us reach our goals and making most (74%) of our species Research Grade.
And a special note of encouragement to the novices among you who dared venture into untested waters of using the App for the first time, and others who uploaded their images to iNaturalist on their computers for the first time – you did great, and some of you excelled with posting lots of fantastic observations. We could not have reached the heights we did without you.
Granted, some observations do leave room for improvement, but only by doing, and practicing, and learning from mistakes, can your observations get better. So take heart, and take more and better pictures, and start practicing now for the next challenge when we get another chance to prove to the world that the Mother City is the best place to be. Even if we no longer have elephants, rhinos and lions roaming our wild areas, we still have a lot of very special wildlife to love and to protect, and you can only protect something if it is known, and that comes from sharing your observations on iNaturalist!
So, now that more of you are aware of the wonders of iNaturalist, please do take photos of the plants (and animals) you see in the undeveloped areas around you and post them on iNaturalist. Every contribution helps improve our understanding of the precarious status of our biodiversity.’
Our FoBCA CREW team also participated, and so did many of our FoBCA members. Of the FoBCA CREW group, Jan Wicht posted the most observations (276) and species (229). In total the CREW team contributed at least 887 observations, 501 species and helped provide 1748 identifications to the competition.
Go to https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019 to read more about this exciting challenge. It is very easy to participate, so please involve your family, friends and children in downloading the app and start using it. The only category Cape Town did not win was the number of participants category. Let’s see what we can do in 2020! FoBCA 2019 AGM
The FoBCA’s AGM was held on Sat 1 June. It was a misty morning, but it did not dampen the spirit and we had a good attendance of 35 members!
Click here to find the Chairman’s and Portfolio reports. Please read through the reports and realise how many aspects of the BCA we are involved in, and the work that the FoBCA does through its committee and members. Did you for instance know that our alien hacking team worked 541 man hours in the last year to clear and maintain the alien vegetation, or that our Event posts on Facebook reach 37 000 people (well, that is what they say!)? The financial statements can be requested from our Treasurer Pat Titmuss if you are interested.
The highlight of the AGM was the talk by Ian van Oordt called ‘An analysis of two Paintings of the Battle Of Blaauwberg – Ian Van Oordt’. Ian is an expert on the Battle of Blaauwberg, and has conducted extensive research on the topic. He could apply this knowledge to the minute detail of the paintings to come to a hypothesis of who the artist was. Many questions were posed to Ian and it was clear that most attendees found it a fascinating analysis.
The AGM also gave the FoBCA the opportunity to say goodbye to Jacques Kuyler, the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve manager of the last 10 years. Jacques gave an interesting overview of his years as manager and the challenges he faced. He transferred from Tygerberg (a Renosterveld reserve), to the BBNR (a marine reserve), and within a few weeks of his new position in 2009 had to face the acid test of having to deal with the Turkish ship Seli 1 that lost its anchor and stranded at Bloubergstrand. Roy Fuller-Gee presented Jacques with a photo collage of his years at the Reserve and some heart-warming family photos.
Eye of the Pangolin Screening
Tuesday 30 July, 19:00
Erin Hall, Rondebosch
Co-hosted by WESSA Western Cape Membership and Pangolin.Africa
Eye of the Pangolin is the story of two South African filmmakers who travel the continent to find the elusive African pangolin, the most trafficked mammal on earth. As they travel the continent to learn more about those caring for and studying pangolins they are captivated by these strange, secretive creatures and document the race to save them from being poached to extinction. From the co-director of the 2015 award-winning documentary Blood Lions.
The 45 minute film will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker Bruce Young, along with Helena Atkinson & Catherine Ritchie from film production partner and conservation NGO Pangolin.Africa
Please invite friends and family!
Entrance: Free, but donations will go towards the distribution of the film to schools across Africa.
Tea/coffee and biscuits will be available.
To watch the trailer of Eye of the Pangolin, click the image below.
Forthcoming FoBCA events
- 6 July Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
- 3 Aug Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year. Bring your copy with you when you join the FoBCA CREW team on the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks the first Saturday of every month. See the events calendar for details.
Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this brochure, which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member. Kind regards
FoBCA Membership Communication
FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 3
iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge
This event, which was mentioned in our last newsletter, is taking place this coming weekend 26-29 April 2019! There have been many articles in the media about the Global City Nature Challenge and from listening to all the talk, it sounds like Capetonians are ready to take on the challenge! With the abundance and diversity of animal and plant life around us, we stand a good chance to win.
To help Cape Town win this global challenge, the FoBCA’s CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) team has, together with Blaauwberg Reserve Conservation staff, organised an easy opportunity close by for you to participate in the Challenge. All you have to do is gather your family and friends and go to Eerste Steen this Saturday 27 April. There are 3 or 4 walks arranged to go in various directions in order to cover different areas, accompanied by volunteer CREW members.
Date: Saturday 27th April
Start Time: 09h00, End Time: 12h30
Venue: Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. Meeting point: Education Cabin at Eerste Steen. Google Map to Eerste Steen
No need to RSVP, just turn up!
09:00 - 09:30 Registration, introduction, competition rules.
09:30 - 11:30 Walking and photographing the fauna and flora on the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve.
11:30 - 12:30 Back at cabin. Help with uploading of images, information sheet.
Please bring hat, sunblock, water and snacks. Download the iNaturalist App onto your phone in advance (it is available on Google Play or Apple iTunes AppStore). Alternatively bring a camera and upload your images to the iNaturalist website at home.
There is no reason to not participate in the Challenge if you can't make this particular bioblitz. Have a look on INaturalist - southern Africa's Facebook page at all the various events happening all around the peninsula. You can join any or as many as you can over the weekend. Or you can just have fun scouring the green (or blue, if you're in the sea) areas wherever in the demarcated area you live or find yourself on these days.
Good luck Cape Town!
Battle of Blaauwberg Archaeological Survey Finale
Saturday 30th March 2019 saw the final Battle of Blaauwberg battlefield survey by the archaeologists led by Willem Hutten. Having completed his Masters thesis, Willem wanted to have a last get together with fellow enthusiasts, researchers and metal detectorists to thank them for the hard work of the last 6 years in unravelling the hidden details of the Battle.
On a lovely day several members of FoBCA assisted with the last search for any objects still not discovered from previous hunts in the area of the Highland Brigades’ advance on to the Batavian defence position. In particular, Willem requested that the team looked for cannon balls so that additional information could be included to his already comprehensive document of finds. This was well received by ballistics expert, Ian Van Oordt, who was interested in locating evidence of the explosive shells used by the Batavian artillery. Ian requested that he should be notified of any finds whilst still in the ground so that he could examine the features in the soil to assess direction and impact velocity of the projectile. In an amazing feat of metal detecting, Ian was kept busy most of the morning with cannon balls and fragments being discovered at regular intervals.
A number of other good finds were made during the morning, including the normal musket balls and in particular, a flint that was researched by the finder Alan as originating from a Charleville musket.
The hunt came to an end with a lunch hosted by Willem. At the lunch he again thanked everybody for their support over the years and conveyed how much he and Louisa had enjoyed the experience. As a mark of his appreciation Willem presented all with a small gift to remember the experiences they have shared. The group of archaeologists have grown over the time to become a group of friends all with a common aim, to reveal information on the Battle of Blaauwberg.
Willem and his wife Louisa have been instrumental in shedding a lot of light on what happened on the battlefield, with their in-depth research and recording. It is very sad to see this project come to a close with the permit ending later this year. Hopefully, another archaeological student will soon find a reason to carry on the work started by the Huttens and Marius Breytenbach, and will uncover additional history relating to the Battle.
From all of us at FoBCA we thank all the archaeologists for their fantastic work.
A deep, geological and archeological history of the Cape
The above evening talk was advertised in our last newsletter, and attracted a considerable amount of interest, with over 60 people braving the chilly March evening to attend! Those who missed this fascinating talk by Prof John Compton, can read about the topic on Prof Compton’s website www.johnscompton.com. You can also order his books from the website (those available on the evening were all sold out!). The books are easy to read and very insightful – must-have guides for the Western Cape heritage enthusiast. Kamfers Dam flamingo chicks at SANCCOB
This was posted on 16 April on SANCCOB's Facebook page:
"Not quite the little #FlamingoChicks we admitted 11 weeks ago; they are ready to spread their wings in the wild. 42 #LesserFlamingos are boarding an early morning flight tomorrow, returning to the #Kamfersdam breeding site in the Northern Cape. Keep an eye on our page for more pics as it transpires. We couldn't have done it all without your support - Thank You! 49 will stay behind until our Veterinarian gives the all clear & we are so excited to have reached this point. #savesflamingos #savesseabirds#savetheflamingo #marineconservation"
Here is the formal thank you letter addressed to Friends of BCA. Forthcoming FoBCA events
- 26 - 29 April - Global City Nature Challenge (see above for details of BBNR bioblitz 27 April, Sat)
- 4 May, Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
- 1 June, Sat – AGM of the FoBCA. Please diarise this Saturday morning. We will send out a formal notification as per the Constitution, next week.
What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....
Did you see the article about the Brunsvigias in Table View and the important role the FoBCA played in rescuing these beautiful plants from areas to be developed? Click here to see the Table Talk article. A number of Table View residents contacted the CREW team after the article appeared, and it elicited some interesting discussions.
If you look around you this time of the year, you might just spot Phylica ericoides or commonly called Hardeblaar. This plant has a lovely honey smell, so look out for it (picture below). You can read more about it on the website of SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute): http://pza.sanbi.org/phylica-ericoides
Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter - only 2 left in stock here), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.
At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year. Brush up your knowledge in preparation for the Global City Nature Challenge and before the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks start in May.
New Membership Year
New fees with effect from 1 April 2019:
1 year / 5 years / 10 years
R30 / R150 / R300 - Youth (under 18 or dependant student)/ Pensioner (60 or over)
R80 / R400 / R800 - Individual
R100 / R500 / R1000 - Family (2 adults plus 2 children under 18)
R400 / R2000 / R4000 - Corporate (4 cards issued for 4 adults per card)
Any donations are appreciated, thank you.
Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose. If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this document brochure (9.22 MB>)> , which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member.
FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 2
FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 1
FoBCA NEWSLETTER - JANUARY 2019A hearty welcome to 2019 to everyone! We trust our FoBCA members have returned from their holidays fully refreshed and ready to embark on new beginnings. This year promises to be an exciting one, and I hope we will see a lot of our members at our various events and projects. Please get involved in the various projects of the FoBCA, and if there is not a project that interests you, create your own!
Welcome to our first newsletter of the year…
FoBCA Member Newsletter – October 2018
FoBCA wins the National Award for Groups!
The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), paid tribute to a wide range of outstanding environmental achievements with the presentation of the organisation’s Annual Awards at the 92nd Annual General Meeting which was hosted by WESSA’s Eastern Cape membership branch at Cape Recife near Port Elizabeth on Saturday 15 September 2018. The WESSA Awards, which have been presented since 1974, enable WESSA to recognise and honour those who have made a significant contribution to the environmental conservation or environmental education sector in South Africa over the past year in an exceptional and sustained manner. The WESSA Group Award was presented to the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area under the leadership of Roy Fuller-Gee.