PHOWN Newsletter 1, 20 Sep 2010

PHOWN has reached 99 records and will have crossed the century mark before hitting two months after its start on 29 July 2010. The top contributors have been Robyn Kadis, who has been recording Southern Masked and Cape Weavers in the Franschhoek area (and further afield), and Tony Archer, who has been sending records mostly of White-browed Sparrow-Weavers in the Klerksdorp area.

Interesting records

Below is a summary of some exciting records (click on the VM number to see the web record). Not all records can be mentioned here but all records are valuable.

There are 2 records of nests suspended from fences (VM 1 and VM 67 ). Fences provide Southern Masked Weavers with a new nesting site on the highveld grasslands where there may be less trees. Even if there are trees nearby, fences may last longer and may provide more protection (though possibly less shade).

Record VM 93 is of a weaver colony in Port Alfred inside Rosehill Mall, photographed by Sally Adam while on holiday.

Sally wrote this to Capebirdnet: "We dashed into Port Alfred's newest mall (Rosehill) to pick up a few groceries. On hearing a bird noise I looked up and stopped dead in my tracks - there were three weavers' nests in a spindly palm tree, with a noisy weaver (I think Cape) sitting nearby. This was a good few metres from the entrance, well within the building. Hurrah for cell phone cameras so that I could whip off a record to PHOWN. Dieter comments that he's never before come across weavers nesting in a mall. I wonder if the cuckoos will follow them in?!"
To my knowledge this is the first record of a weaver colony inside a modern building. If anyone passes by that way, take a look and send a repeat!

Repeats are valuable in tracking changes in colony sizes during the breeding season, and in tracking long-term changes (or stability) in colonies. An example of several repeats of one colony is of a Cape Weaver colony in Rondevlei Nature Reserve that I have monitored for the last few years. At the moment you can see a table of nest counts but eventually there will be graphs of the nest counts. Also later thumb-nails of all the repeats will be shown.

Interestingly this colony has been photographed by Google Street View. Another colony that has been captured in the same way is VM 95, a Cape Weaver colony recorded by Dale Norton. Let me know if you have submitted a colony that you have also found on Google Street View!

Some other interesting records are VM 54 showing a Cape Weaver mating and VM 86 showing a male Southern Masked Weaver with a ring.

A variety of summaries is available, some on the Virtual Museum web (for SA records only) and more on the Weavers web. These latter summaries will be improved on a weekly basis. These summaries include google maps for total coverage or by species. You can view a table of Nest count statistics based on submitted data. To view your own records, click here, enter your ADU number and then make a note of the VM numbers. Then click here and enter the VM numbers you want to view. Please check that everything is correct! You can zoom in on the google map and when you are zoomed in quite far, click on "Hybrid" to see the satellite imagery as well. This way you can see that your record was submitted with the correct coordinates. Please do send any corrections.

Thanks for your participation! Continue to send in records.

Weavers webpage
Email: weavers4africa [at]