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Exciting times….. March Research Blog!!!

Exciting times……. March research blog

The elasmobranch egg case project has been progressing business as usual this month, although we are not able to process the egg cases fast enough to make up for the backlog of egg cases from the November to January period. In light of this, and that we have a year’s worth of egg case collection data, we have decided to drop our surveys from twice a month to once a month to allow time to process the backlog, and look at starting up some other new and exciting research project.

We only conducted one bird ringing session this month at Brackenburn Private Nature Reserve, and it was a slow morning with only 8 birds of 6 species caught. One of the birds we caught was a Cape robin-chat which was a recapture, initially ringed at Brackenburn on the 7th August 2016. A real treat for us though were the two scaly-throated honeyguides Indicator variegatus we caught! What a lovely little bird, with disproportionately large nostrils!

Once a month the ORCA team travels through to Cape St Francis to assist at the SANCCOB facility, doing whatever is needed. During our February visit there was a white-chinned petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis which was weak and underweight. We were privileged this month to partner with SANCCOB to play a role in the release of this white-chinned petrel! After roughly one month in rehab it was ready to return to the ocean. A volunteer boat was launched with the purpose of releasing the petrel off the point of Robberg, and to spend some time at sea. It is such a pleasure to be able to take a creature like this back to its natural environment. Thanks to SANCCOB for all the work you put into this, and hundreds of other seabirds!

While not a research project, we are excited to announce our partnership with Natures Valley Trust for the running of an adopt-a-beach program with two schools in the Plettenberg Bay area. This involves 7 lessons done throughout the year on a variety of environmental topics. We’ll be based on Central Beach for these lessons, so do come and say hi if you see us!

Written by Minke Witteveen, ORCA Foundation Researcher

Scaly-throated honeyguide at Brackenburn Private Nature Reserve.

White-chinned Petrel being released.

Learning about the how beaches are formed.

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