Following a successful 10 day BDI bird ringing expedition earlier this year, another was held at Fynbos Estate in December. It was hot and windy but the days were long, and the birds plentiful!
Marc, Danielle, Salome and Dieter were the main team, joined by Joel for two days. On Saturday we were joined by Loutjie and Leon, and Les with Karis, Taylyn and Itxaso for ringing and a communal braai.
Top species – weavers
The top species was Cape Weaver, followed by Southern Red Bishop and Southern Masked Weaver. The large numbers caught were due to large numbers of juveniles foraging in flocks. These were usually caught in small flocks of 20-30 birds at a time. Most of the weavers had completed breeding, but for the Southern Masked Weaver two nests were found with chicks large enough to ring.
The adult weavers had started primary moult, and males were moulting into non-breeding plumage. Recent juveniles had not started moult, while some older juveniles were starting their post-juvenile moult.
A Bokmakierie was ringed – the first for Fynbos. This species was very vocal on previous trips, but avoided the nets! A Cape Sugarbird was ringed – a few were present daily in the beautiful protea garden – on previous trips, this species was rarely seen, and instead Malachite Sunbirds were regular (and ringed). All three mousebird species were ringed, with the Red-faced being the most common. Some African Stonechats and African Paradise Flycatchers were also ringed. A Cardinal Woodpecker was ringed – two nets were put high in the dead tree that at least 4 woodpeckers frequented, but without success!
One trip was made to Sonop Farm, on the south-east side of the Paardeberg, where ringer Loutjie regularly rings birds at the farm dam. Special birds caught here were a Malachite Kingfisher (recapture), a Namaqua Dove, and a Grey-backed Cisticola. (Previous ringing trip to Sonop). Four juvenile Fiscal Flycatchers were ringed, possibly from the same brood.
Recapture rates were 7% at Fynbos – this low rate is due to the large number of juvenile weavers present, which had fledged since the previous expedition in June. Excluding all the weavers gives a Recapture rate of 15% on this trip. At Sonop there has been more recent ringing resulting in a high recapture rate of 28%. At Fynbos some birds were recaptured from each of the previous trips.
Ringing large numbers of birds at Fynbos Estate and other sites on the Paardeberg over the next few years will provide baseline data on moult patterns, diversity of birds, longevities, and other aspects of bird biology.
Table. Number of birds ringed and recaptured on two farms on the Paardeberg Mountain, 3-12 December 2019
|Sp no||Species||Fynbos ring||Fynbos retrap||Sonop ring||Sonop retrap||Total|
|316||Cape Turtle Dove||2||2|
|502||Greater Striped Swallow||1||1|
|682||African Paradise Flycatcher||3||3|
|803||Southern Masked Weaver||34||4||5||43|
|808||Southern Red Bishop||190||2||192|
Well done to Joel for handling over 500 birds!
List of expeditions to Fynbos Estate, with links to trip reports
Trial expedition, 25-27 May 2018
First expedition, 18-28 February 2019 (ring totals), the place, and the birds
Student expedition, 17-21 June 2019
Second expedition, 2-12 December 2019 (this blog)
Would you like to ring birds in the fynbos? Book a trip with African Ringing Expeditions!