We meet monthly at Rondebosch Common parking lot just off the Sawkins Circle and head off in pairs to do 30 minutes of bird monitoring at the various sites around the Common and at the stepping stone garden sites in the surrounding neighbourhoods. We are monitoring the 'before' period to see how the sites are affected by the various stages of fynbos planting (year 1: pioneer and ground cover; year 2: structural species and less sensitive endemics; year 3: more sensitive endemics). Afterwards we meet for at the Common for hot tea and rusks and to hand in our data sheets. This bird-monitoring protocol is derived and managed by the Ingcungcu Stepping Stones project so our data will be comparable to their string of stepping stone gardens in the Steenberg area.
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.