Saw this beautiful Secretary Bird at Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park during a Safari tour in between scuba diving in South Africa and Mozambique. The Secretarybird is easily distinguished from other raptors and cranes by its grey plumage, the orange facial skin with raptor-like beak and the characteristic stealthy stride it takes as it moves through the grass in search of prey. The shape of the body is very similar to that of an eagle but walks on the legs of a stork or crane. The sexes are alike with the males having a slightly longer crest and tail than the female. A full grown Secretarybird can reach a mass of 4kg (max 4.5) and a reach an astonishing 1.4 meters tall with a wingspan of 191-220cm. In flight one would think that this bird could be confused with the similar coloured Grey Crowned Crane, but it can easily be distinguished due to its barred tail feathers. With a tail of around 75cm long the Secretarybird is the record holder for the longest tail in Africa. The juveniles of this species have a browner plumage, yellow face and a shorter tail than the adults of the species.
For the developers at New York start-up Networked Organisms, smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century. Their tool, Project Noah, lets people upload photos of plants and wildlife around them, creating a map of the natural world and contributing to scientific research in the process.
Bespectacled scientists of yore would carry around hefty field guides, made up of hundreds of pages of text and photos. But these days, smartphone owners have a lighter option: an app called Project Noah, which aims to help people identify plants and animals as well as collect data from "citizen scientists" about where certain species are located.
Project Noah enables us to be part of a more focused online community where we can learn more about wildlife around us and contribute to scientific research. It pulls participants into deeper, more meaningful engagement by enabling people to go on “missions” to collectively map changes based on sightings.
A modern invention that may also hold the key to saving species in the future. Project Noah is a global study that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter, using a purpose built phone app and web community. In addition to the virtual "collection" of species, Project Noah encourages citizen science by linking up with existing surveys including the International Spider Survey and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.