On the day we will:
- look at each site and assign each pair of monitors to a site
- do a trial round of monitoring (30 min)
- meet back together to gather data sheets and have tea
- decide on a regular day and time per month
- bird ID guide / bird book
- data sheet (we will have extra)
- sun hat / rain jacket
We are so lucky to have a combination of beginner and expert birders as part of the team because this allows the knowledge of the experienced birders to be passed on to the beginners without compromising the quality of the monitoring.
This season of monitoring is the control part of the Rondebosch corridor where we monitor the sites prior to them being established with sunbird-friendly plants, which will allow us to test the impact of each garden. It usually takes about a year for the birds to make a fynbos patch part of their home territory once the gardens are established. Although there are a number of sunbirds in the area living off non-fynbos gardens, it is important for the birds to perform their ecological function of transferring the pollen of the Table Mountain fynbos to the Rondebosch Common fynbos, and back again. By year five, the genetic material of the fynbos gardens will be of the same stock as that of Rondebosch Common and Table Mountain so that each 'stepping stone' garden forms an important pollen refill station between large but isolated conservation areas. The movement of genetic pollen material between plants ensures the long term survival of the plant species and the additional fynbos gardens provide extra food and refuge to birds after fire has depleted food on the mountain and Rondebosch Common. In the next five years, the Rondebosch Common restoration plan includes reintroducing Protea and Erica species that have been missing from the Common for decades. The work you are doing is therefore important for BOTH sunbird and fynbos survival.
About Monitoring activities
At Communitree we want to make sure that our work has a positive impact on the wider ecological functioning of the city's green infrastructure. That means that we want to go our and monitor our own work. We do this in different ways. One way is that we go out to our greening sites and we monitor the plants and the vegetation. We monitor for plant diseases, impact by the drought, damage to the plants, and other issues. If anything is wrong, our monitoring team will report this and our gardening volunteers will look into the matter. At the same time, we look for new plant growth, we try to observe the species that are present, and we see if everything is going according to the plan that we devised for the plot.
Another type of monitoring is related to the bird monitoring. By counting birds on our sites, we can get an idea of the ecological functioning of our plot. We are working together with the Iingcungcu sunbird project and the Cape Bird Club when it comes to training and bird monitoring, and we are excited to see what comes out of these efforts. To join bird monitoring work, you must have received some training, but we can always use an extra pair of eyes, in case you have not yet gone through the training.