About 3 weeks ago one of our best allies, Adam Welz, a keen South African birder, came up with the idea of the 350-24-24 Bird Photo Challenge: volunteers would try to snap pictures of 350 species of wild birds within the borders of South Africa within the 24 hours of October 24 which would be posted on the web. He reckoned it would be possible, only just, if between 30 and 40 photographers put in their best efforts nationwide.

A volunteer team of web-designers and picture-wranglers was assembled, and the Challenge was on. Things soon got a little out of hand, though, as over 260 photographers signed up to the website, which was still not finished until October 23rd.

When the Big Day dawned, photographers fanned out over the country to seek feathered quarry. Over the next day thousands of photos streamed in, cracking the 350 species target — but also cracking the photo-wrangling team and their computers, who were not expecting the massive response.

The website is currently static because, as the Challenge team tells us, they "couldn’t cope with the flood of entries from across South Africa shot on everything from cellphones to photographic kit that could be traded in for a small palace." They’re taking a few hours off to sleep, go to work or explain their absence to significant others, but will be returning to processing the flood of images in a few hours. A beautiful mosaic of 350 species will be up on https://350.birdingafrica.com soon (and more on an overflow page).

We know how they feel — here at 350 HQ we now have over 18,000 pictures in our photostream, and more being added every minute. We’re so glad that the Day of Action has gone off too well!

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