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SARCA Field Survey No. 7 - trip report
Date: Date: 20 - 29 January 2006
SARCA Team 7:
And then the heavens opened! The first six SARCA trips were dry - very dry - it rained only 3 mm in total during 60 days, but SARCA 7 was a real wet one. Why is it that we're never quite satisfied with the weather? On some of the previous trips I bemoaned the lack of rain, and now I wished for less. The frogs were out in full force, of course, with Southern Pygmy Toads and Bushveld Rain Frogs melting the hearts of our three volunteers. And speaking of volunteers, the SARCA 7 interns were all in the nature-conservation business, but the birdy kind - ja, blerrie twitchers the lot of them. It took no small effort to prise their eyes away from telephone lines and down to rocky ridges where Karoo Girdled Lizards sat in full view on the few sunny days, if only someone cared to look. They eventually got the idea, and a world of dragons unfolded…
Other than scores of frogs, we managed to accrue a total of 29 reptile species, comprising nine snake, 17 lizard and three chelonian (tortoise & terrapin) species - see checklist below. Not including the verbal records obtained through interviews with farmers, we recorded 71% of the expected richness of grid cell 3023DC (priority ranking = 31), 43% of cell 3023CC (rank = 54), and 36% of cell 3023CD (rank = 78). This is OK going, but sunnier weather would probably have increased the tally.
Personal highlights and interesting records:
Lang Man Morné's comments:
A really great experience! Saw the Karoo in a very different, wet way. SARCA is a definite must for a person with a passion for reptiles and the outdoors.
An amazing trip! Saw quite a few lifers (some of which were reptiles). Coral snakes and sandveld lizards were the highlights. Pity about so much rain in the Karoo.
The wettest SARCA trip by far! But found geckos, lizards, tortoises and two coral snakes. It was great fun, and thanks to SARCA and Marius for the great learning experience.
Species recorded during SARCA 7:
LizardsAgama a. aculeata - Common Ground Agama
Agama atra - Southern Rock Agama
Cordylus polyzonus - Karoo Girdled Lizard
Lygodactylus sp. (capensis?) - (Cape) Dwarf Gecko
Nucras intertexta - Spotted Sandveld Lizard
Nucras livida - Karoo Sandveld Lizard
Pachydactylus bibronii - Bibron's Thick-toed Gecko
Pachydactylus capensis - Cape Thick-toed Gecko
Pachydactylus oculatus - Golden Spotted Thick-toed Gecko
Pachydactylus purcelli - Purcell's Thick-toed Gecko
Pedioplanis lineoocellata subsp. - Spotted Sand Lizard
Pedioplanis namaquensis - Namaqua Sand Lizard
Trachylepis capensis - Cape Skink
Trachylepis occidentalis - Western Three-striped Skink
Trachylepis s. sulcata - Western Rock Skink
Trachylepis variegata - Variegated Skink
Varanus albigularis - Rock Monitor
SnakesAspidelaps l. lubricus - Cape Coral Snake
Bitis arietans - Puff Adder*
Elapsoidea sundevallii media - Sundevall's Garter Snake
Lamprophis capensis - Brown House Snake
Naja nivea - Cape Cobra*
Prosymna sundevallii - Sundevall's Shovel-snout
Psammophis notostictus - Karoo Sand Snake
Pseudaspis cana - Mole Snake*
Rhinotyphlops lalandei - Delalande's Beaked Blind Snake
CheloniansGeochelone pardalis - Leopard Tortoise
Pelomedusa subrufa - Marsh Terrapin
Psammobates tentorius subsp. - Tent Tortoise
* = species not encountered during the survey, but recorded by means of interviews with farmers.
The Toyota bakkie sponsored by the 4x4 Eco Challenge handled the wet conditions gracefully. In fact, it seemed grateful for the opportunity to exchange Kalahari sands and fynbos mountains for mud, mud, glorious mud. Once again, SARCA would like to thank 4x4 Eco Challenge for their valued support of this project. Visit www.4x4ecochallenge.co.za to learn more about their other conservation projects.
Blackie Swart of Prieska, acting as my personal tourist consultant for this region, put me into contact with the relevant farmers. Our base was a big old hunter's house on the farm De Put, where we set up our field lab in the lapa. Hospitality was first class, with Gerhand and Lynette Sieberhagen wining and dining us, delivering huge jugs of fresh farm milk in the mornings, and generally treating us like special guests of honour. We loved it! And then, as if this were Friends-of-SARCA week, the Van der Merwe family of Lemoenfontein welcomed us onto their farm. In fact, they joined in on the search with mom, dad and two eager sons making sure that not a stone remained unturned. Thank you all. And thanks also to Lykes and Baie-Praat who took us on a long night-drive in search of the elusive Aardvark, which eluded us, of course. We are grateful to Hendrik Rust (Daggafontein & Brewershoek) and Casper Badenhorst (Leebskopdam) for allowing us to do some active searching on their properties.
Northern Cape Nature Conservation Service is thanked for providing a permit (0861/05 1/10/2/730) to collect reptiles during SARCA surveys.
Photos by Marius Burger
Compiled by Marius Burger & James Harrison
SARCA is a joint project of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the Herpetological Association of Africa (HAA), and the Avian Demography Unit (ADU), Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town.
[ Document posted on 29 June 2006 ]
|March 1, 2021, 8:18 am|