Sunday, 27 September 2009

Pieter's Race

Pieter had a great race this afternoon. 51 animals (all with spines) all identified correctly and within a short while of the race ending. (Looks like you are all getting quite good at this). So that puts Pieter in the lead, Rexon second and patrick in third. Just Marc to go now, and he has quite a number to beat.
Here are Pieter's results, along with a Hotspot (used to be called 'seekpoints') for each sighting. A big thank you to Kathy and Sharon for making, collating, checking and sharing all the Hotspots. Enjoy ...

15h32 Human Being
15h35 Waterbuck
15h39 Impala
16h04 Nyala
16h31 Bateleur
17h42 Grey Heron
18h05 Hamerkop
18h07 Hyaena
18h25 Scrub hare

Patrick's Race

Patrick was the second ranger to run the race. He did very well, in spite of a delay for rain. All his animals (with spines of course) were identified almost straight away and he ended up with 39 positively identified animals. This puts him slightly behind Rexon. Here are his results ...

15h33 Human Being
15h33 Cape Turtle-Dove
15h35 Burchell's Starling
15h38 Dwarf Mongoose
15h39 Southern Yellow-billed hornbill
15h42 Elephant
15h44 Waterbuck
15h53 Steenbok
16h16 Cape Buffalo
16h21 Hippopotamus
16h22 Fork-tailed Drongo
16h23 Lilac-breasted Roller
16h26 Blue Wildebeest
16h29 Egyptian Goose
16h31 Burchell's Zebra
16h36 Red-billed Hornbill
16h38 Swainson's Francolin
16h40 Red-crested Korhaan
16h42 Emerald-spotted Wood-dove
16h45 Tree Squirrel
16h52 Cape Glossy Starling
16h54 Three-banded Plover
17h04 Grey Go-away-bird
17h06 Rattling Cisticola
17h07 Crested Francolin
17h09 White Rhinoceros
17h15 Brown-hooded Kingfisher
17h19 Impala
17h26 Grey Duiker
17h33 Red-billed Buffalo-weaver
17h34 Red-billed Oxpecker
17h40 Helmeted Guineafowl
17h49 Flap-necked Chameleon
17h58 Bateleur
17h59 Arrow-marked Babbler
18h15 Domestic Dog
18h22 Water Thick-knee
18h25 Scrub Hare
18h26 Lesser Bushbaby

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Rexon's Race

This afternoon, in the first leg of Ranger Race 3, Rexon managed to see the following list of animals. However, there are 5 sightings that have not yet been positively identified. If when you visit the hotspots, you can make a positive species ID, please send them in to before the end (09h00 CAT) of the next drive, the AM:safari (starting at 06h00 CAT (Central African Time)). Remember all animals with a spine count (Vertebrates).

15h30 Human being
15h38 Impala
15h41 ??? Hotspot
15h41 Egyptian Goose
15h42 Blue Wildebeest
15h44 Dwarf Mongoose
15h45 Helmeted Terrapin
15h48 Lilac-breasted Roller
15h51 Burchell's Zebra
15h56 Blacksmith Lapwing
15h57 Steenbok
16h00 ??? Hotspot
16h01 Fork-tailed Drongo
16h05 ??? Hotspot 
16h10 Waterbuck
16h13 Cape Glossy Starling
16h13 Little Bee-eater
16h18 Emerald-spotted Wood-dove
16h23 Cape Turtle-Dove
16h24 Tree Squirrel
16h27 Crested Barbet
16h32 ??? Hotspot
16h34 Brown-hooded Kingfisher
16h41 Red-billed Hornbill
16h45 Leopard
16h49 Cape Buffalo
17h01 Grey Go-away-bird
17h06 Helmeted Guineafowl
17h07 Blakc-crowned Tchagra
17h16 ??? Hotspot
17h16 Wahlberg's Eagle
17h16 Black-capped Bulbul
17h18 Nyala
17h19 Crested Francolin
17h23 Laughing Dove
17h27 Elephant
17h53 Southern Giraffe
18h00 Hadeda Ibis
18h07 Spotted Hyaena
18h11 Vervet Monkey
18h18 Scrub Hare
18h18 Water Thick-knee
18h19 Chacma Baboon
18h29 Yellow-billed hornbill
18h27 Lesser Bushbaby

So Rex has a possible 45 animals, but you need to identify the 5 ???s by 09h00 CAT tomorrow morning.
Good luck, and happy surfing. :)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Wild Dogs and the next step

As most of you know the wild dog pack that are in the blue canyon conservancy and are being monitored by ResearchCam's webcam have moved from their den site. The last time WE saw them was on Monday 7th September and since then they have been seen on the move. However a few days ago WE heard that they have found a new den site four and a half kilometres from the old one. They are all well and happy and the ten pups are doing fine. Although this is obviously a big relief for us all Will Fox who owns ResearchCam has decided that moving the trailer into the new den site is unwise. They need to be allowed to settle in this den without any disturbances and so the decision has been made to leave them. Also, the collective belief is that they are unlikely to stay long at the den site as the pups are already quite big and soon they will reach an age where they no longer need a den and they will be off. Wild dogs do not generally den they spend most of their life on the run. However, when they have pups they need to have a den to keep the puppies safe.
Tim Parker who is the head Ecologist at The Blue Canyon Conservancy has written a short note which I have attached below.
"It has been a great privilege having had the web cam located at our wild dog den. Many thousands of viewers have enjoyed hours of entertainment through this medium. The dogs relocated to a new den site around the 7th September some 5 km south of the original den. All ten pups appear to be well and healthy. The pack is still intact and it will be interesting to monitor the packs dynamics as time goes on. A large number of their kills have been picked up on our Eastern fence line, comprising mostly impala and kudu. We will continue monitoring them. We would like to thank Graham Wallington and Will Fox for their efforts and financial input into this venture and overall to the conservation and preservation of one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores".
Peter Braat has removed the trailer from the den site this morning and he is going to do a bit of work on it and take it back to Djuma. ResearchCam and WildEarth are now both working together to find a new site. There is a possibility of it going into one of a few hyena dens in the area or perhaps another waterhole. It is a perfect time for waterholes as the bush is incredibly dry and so the density of animals at waterholes is high. WE will continue to work on this and keep you posted.
Written by Emily Wallington

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Walala Wasala from Dixie - LIVE

Tonight (Wednesday 16th September 2009 @ 18h30CAT) WE are broadcasting an amazing Walala Wasala directly from Dixie Village. For those of you who don't know Walala Wasala is our weekly LIVE show that gives you a glimpse into the lives of the African people. It is presented by Rexon Ntimane who is a member of the Shangaan tribe and a long term and trusty Presenter for WildEarth. He has been broadcasting this show on a Wednesday for a few months now and since he started WE have met the village Sangoma (witch doctor), understood how the tribe communicated before technology and seen some traditional dancing and a wedding ceremony. It is a great show and really helps you understand the culture of this wonderful tribe. Tonight WE are broadcasting a special event LIVE from the village of Dixie. Again for those of you who don't know, Dixie is a small community outside of the Reserve that WE broadcast from. All of the people who live there are Shangaan and many of them work in the Sabi Sands Reserve. Both Patrick and Rexon who present for WildEarth live there. Tonight WE are going to meet all the people from Dixie and sit around the fire with them whilst they cook meat and tell us stories. Also there will be some traditional dancers. It will be a fantastically visual and interesting event, one which you will remember forever. Don't miss it.

On another note Bill Powers from PixController has recently added a pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera to the PixController wildlife webcam. This enables them to zoom in on animals that come to the main camera feed and follow them around. Viewers will be able to see different animals which come into the camera in more detail. Recently they have been able to zoom in on the deer, raccoons, turkey, squirrels, and various birds which come into the main camera.

One unique feature of the PixController wildlife webcam is that they also have several wireless motion-activated remote cameras as part of the system. These are turned on when an animal comes in front of them and the wireless feed is switched from the main camera over to the remote feed for as long as the animal is present. Currently they have 2 remote cameras setup, camera 2 - about 1/4 mile from the main camera, and camera 3 - about 1/2 mile from the main camera. Both of these remote cameras are setup with feed blocks in the deep woods for viewing whitetail deer.
When the weather turns colder in Western PA, USA, they will setup a carcass camera. This will be remote camera 4. On this camera they will setup road killed whitetail deer they get from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. This camera provides viewers the rare opportunity to see predator animals such as red fox, gray fox, coyotes, red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, opossums, and of course raccoons. Last year they had a coyote come into the camera, which is a rare site in this area.

You may have noticed that the pan tilt and zoom is working on the new waterhole camera. Peter Braat has been working hard to get that in and finally we have a result. This will greatly improve your night watching. Thanks Pete