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Published by laurendavb, 2019-12-09 10:14:00

UWC Faunal Survey Newsletter 2019

UWC Faunal Survey Newsletter 2019

Keywords: UWC,Urban Wildlife,Nature,Surveys



Over 60 enthusiastic participants arrived for our 7th annual Faunal Survey. Students from various

institutes, staff and experts in their field were kitted out with night lights, cameras and binoculars, to record
everything in sight!

With such a small reserve of only 34ha, we keep thinking nothing new will pop up. Each year the survey
surprises us with more than one addition and special sightings. This year was no different with three
additions and one re-addition.

Forest shrew (Myosorex varius)

Mammal A total of forty-one small mammals were trapped in comparison to
last year’s fourteen. Five species were caught, one of them an exciting re-
The small mammal survey addition. Thirty-four striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio), one vlei rat
(Otomys irroratus), one Cape gerbil (Tatera afra), five forest shrew
yielded some interesting (Myosorex varius) were caught and our re-addition to the list, the hairy-
results this year. footed gerbil (Gerbillurus paeba). The small grey mongoose (Galerella
pulverulenta) made another appearance in the traps. Seems it enjoys the
The survey ran over 4 days in peanut butter and oats bait!
comparison to last years’
tedious 12 days. The survey Camera traps Caracal (Caracal caracal)
areas are rotated each year and
this year, the wetland was Five motion sensor cameras
were placed throughout the
150 Sherman traps were set reserve. The Caracal (Caracal
out and diligently checked caracal), Small grey mongoose
twice a day by second year Msc (Galerella pulverulenta), Angulate
student, Kyle Jantjies and tortoise (Chersina angulata) and
fellow students. various birds made an appearance.

Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild) Southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus)

Bird watching

Unfortunately the Bird Ringing did not happen this year but despite the early morning start of 7am on a

Saturday, the interest in bird watching has grown since last year. Under the expert eyes of Prof. Mark Gibbons,
Martin Hendricks and Felicity Ellmore, they guided students and external participants through the reserve.

With 116 birds on the list, an impressive 58 species were seen. The sought after Brown backed honeybird was
unfortunately not seen this time around, however, three species were added, the southern grey-headed
sparrow (Passer diffusus), fork-tailed drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) and Diederick cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius).

Cape sparrow (Passer melanurus)

Red faced mousebird (Urocolius indicus)

Silvery Dwarf Burrowing Skink (Scelotes bipes) Tortoise count

The Cape Flats Nature Reserve is divided into

three sections, Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, Cape
Flats Dune Strandveld and the wetland area.
Each year the count is performed in a different
section to determine abundance with each area.

The wetland is seasonal but was unfortunately
still dry after this year’s rain, therefore suitable to
walk through for this year’s survey but due to the
small area, the Sand Fynbos section was included

After bundu-bashing all morning, a disappointing
four Angulate tortoises (Chersina angulata) were
seen, one in the wetland area and three in the
Sand Fynbos area.

We suspect they were hiding from us because we
see plenty on normal walks through the reserve.

Reptile survey

The disappointment of the tortoise count

was quickly changed by finding plenty Cape
dwarf chameleons resulting in a competition
of who could find the most.

A whopping thirty-six chameleons were
found! Twenty-three during the day and
thirteen during the night walk.
The debate on who won is still pending...

Of the twenty-four reptile species on our list,
only five were seen including the Angulate
tortoise and Cape dwarf chameleon. The
other three were the Cape legless skink
(Acontias meleagris), Marbled leaf toed gecko
(Afrogecko porphyreus) and Silvery dwarf
burrowing skink (Scelotes bipes).

Only one frog was seen, the Rose’s rain frog
(Breviceps rosei) of the six amphibians on our
species on our list.

Cape Skink (Trachylepis capensis) Rose’s rain frog (Breviceps rosei)

Insect survey

Our insect species list had quite a boost this year

with the assistance of entomology student, Handre
Basson and Cathy Jenkins.

Equipped with nets, cameras and enthusiasm, the
search for insects began.

An estimate of 44 species was found which is an
excellent boost for our list!

The full updated list will be on our website in 2020.

Rain spider nest Cape thick-tailed scorpion (Parabuthus capensis) Arachnids

We have fifteen species on our list,

nine spiders which would have increased
after this survey, and five scorpions, one
of which is an addition to the list.

The Cape thick-tailed scorpion
(Parabuthus capensis) was seen and the
Cape burrower (Opistophthalmus
capensis) was added.

Flora survey Photographic species
list additions
Coinciding with the Faunal
Photographing all 248 plant species is a slow and tedious
Survey, we head out looking for
plants too. task but progress is being made. The survey added three
additions to the photographic species list bringing the total
The Flora survey took place on the to 115.
Wednesday before the main event
with Prof. Lincoln and Rosemary The additions were (Pelargonium betulinum) Camphor-
Raitt and the Saturday morning with scented pelargonium, (Pelargonium grossularioides)
CREW (Custodians of Rare and Gooseberry-leaved pelargonium and the Wildemalva
Endangered Wildflora). (Pelargonium myrrhifolium).

Camphor-scented pelargonium
(Pelargonium betulinum)

Out of a total of 248 species, Gooseberry-leaved pelargonium
(Pelargonium grossularoides)
thirty-five of which are non-
indigenous, ninety species were Wildemalva (Pelargonium myrrhifolium )
recorded during the survey.

Four Near Threatened and three
Threatened species were seen.

There were no additions during the
survey, however, nine additions to
the list was recorded throughout
the year.

Geelkruid (Steirodiscus tagetes) listed as Vulnerable

The results

Each year we are hopeful for an addition to our species lists and always surprised by more than one.

This year we had 5 additions and 1 re-addition to the list.

The southern grey-headed sparrow (Passer diffusus), fork-tailed drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) and
Diederick cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius) were added to the list during the survey, and the little rush-
warbler (Bradypterus baboecala) was added in August during another survey.

To us, our scorpions all look alike, but to expert eyes, the tracks and burrow of the Cape burrowing
scorpion (Opistophthalumus capensis) were found and added to the list!

At one point the reserve had a feral cat problem resulting in a drop in the rodent diversity. Only the
striped mouse (Rhabdomus pumilio) was seen. As the problem got sorted, the diversity increased.
The hairy-footed gerbil (Gerbillurus paeba)l was removed off the list after it was not seen for many years
but we are happy to have found it during the survey and it has been re-added to the list!

The experience

Thank You’s

Once again it was a great turnout for our annual survey. Thank you for participating and contributing to the
updating of species lists at the Cape Flats Nature Reserve. It was lovely meeting new people and seeing
familiar faces. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have and that we will see you again at future

A special thank you also goes out to:

Monya Dietrich and Linda van Heerden for sharing our Faunal Survey advert with the Science Faculty
members, BCB staff and students.

Group leaders: Jodene Foster (1), Calley Chateau (2), Tim Ponton (3), Kyle Jantjies (4), Lynne Viggeland
(5), Silindokuhle Tokota (6)…thank you for an excellent job! We appreciate the time and energy you put
into this survey, despite being inundated with studies, assignments and tests. Thank you for your

Lincoln and Rosemary Raitt: thank you for your continuous support and your willingness to do a Flora
Survey Survey on the Wednesday…the walk has already added to the photographic species list

CREW members: Petra Broddle, Megan Smith, Ismail Ebrahim, Melda Goets and Barbara Potgieter we
know this is CREW's busy time of the year so we really do appreciate you making the time to participate in
our annual Flora Survey. The knowledge you shared with the rest of the group with such patience is what
these surveys are about. A true learning experience, thank you!

Martin Hendricks: thank you also for your continuous support with the Tortoise Survey. We did not find
many tortoises, but as always, a fun educational experience which turned into a chameleon spotting
competition. The students loved it, thank you!

Kyle Jantjies: thank you for your contribution to the mammal list! You have checked 150 Sherman traps
every day, twice a day over four days. Your hard work for the week is much appreciated!

Silindokuhle Tokota: thank you for heading up the reptile survey on the Saturday. Your enthusiasm for
herpetology is infectious. I believe you nearly stole all the birders away to join your survey when the group
split…only reptiles can do that lol.

Birders: Martin Hendricks, Mark Gibbons and Felicity Ellmor: thank you for leading the bird watching
group and helping keep our lists up to date! Your keen eyes immediately spotted an LBJ that was an
addition to the species list. It might be an early start to the day for some, but we've noticed the number of
participants are growing each year, so thank you for guiding and encouraging students in this direction.

Entomologist: Handre Basson: thank you very much for greatly updating our insect species list! Oh and
let's not forget your scorpion knowledge…we are excited about the addition! Your enthusiasm and passion
for what you do shows in your work. You will go far in your career and we hope that that this will not be your
last survey with us.

CapeClick photographer: Erika van Breda: we thought you would not return after the hard work you put in
last year, but you showed up with the same enthusiasm. This year you got to bundu-bash a bit more with
the groups for photographs, so thank you for that contribution!

Cathy Jenkins: thank you for spamming everyone you knew to advertise the survey. Your enthusiasm and
passion was contagious and your knowledge and recommendations valuable. We also appreciated the
extra time you put in to help with ID's. We hope to see you again at future surveys.


Manager - Hestelle Melville
[email protected] / 021 959 2498
Education & Research - Laurenda van Breda
[email protected] / 021 959 3274
Horticulturist - Zoleka Maphanga
[email protected] / 021 959 3273
Nature Conservator - Robin Adams
[email protected] / 021 959 3384

Nature Reserve assistants
James Ntilitiza - [email protected]
Mark Kapiera - [email protected]

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

- Frank Lloyd Wrigh -t
information, design and layout by Laurenda van Breda

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