Bird Ringing Course at Botuin : 1 to 7 February 2023

A “BDI – Birds4Africa” bird ringing course was held from 1-7 February 2023, with a base at Botuin Cottages & Olive Farm on the outskirts of the Karoo town of Vanrhynsdorp. Botuin is a 5 ha farm with 400 olive trees, a lucerne field and a wide variety of fruit trees. Consequently, there is an impressive range of bird species present. Seven attendees enjoyed the week of daily ringing, with most ringing being in the garden of Botuin. Two morning sessions were held at the local sewage works and two short morning sessions on a quiet road on nearby Gifberg farm. The other mornings, and all afternoons of the course, we ringed at Botuin. Our final analysis is that this was just the first of many bird ringing courses at Botuin.

The habitat diversity meant that the number of species handled was higher than usual for a one week ringing course. We caught 29 species in the garden and 21 species at the sewage works. Top species were Cape Sparrow (69), Cape White-eye (58) and Southern Red Bishop (31).

Few birds were caught at Gifberg, but some exciting species were caught including Large-billed Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, Red-capped Lark and Rufous-eared Warbler.

Spike-heeled Lark
Spike-heeled Lark
Rufous-eared Warbler

At the sewage works we had some exciting water birds in the hand including Cape Teal, Moorhen, Three-banded Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing and Little Stint.

Bird ringing at the Vanrhynsdorp sewage works
Ringing at the Vanrhynsdorp sewage works.
Cape Teal Anas capensis
Cape Teal Anas capensis in hand!

Overall there were 43 recaptures, some from earlier days of the course, and others from previous visits over the last three years. Trainees were also given time to practice putting up and taking down nets, setting spring traps, doing data entry and other aspects of ringing.

Thanks to Salome Willemse for hosting us so well at Botuin! We are looking forward to the next bird ringing course at Botuin.

Numbers of birds caught (ringed and retrapped) during the bird ringing course at Botuin, 1-7 February 2023. Species with links have texts on the BDI website.

Sp noEnglishBotuinGifbergSewage worksTotal
98Cape Teal11
210Common Moorhen11
238Three-banded Plover33
245Blacksmith Lapwing33
253Little Stint11
317Laughing Dove10414
318Namaqua Dove314
391White-backed Mousebird66
392Red-faced Mousebird77
463Large-billed Lark11
474Spike-heeled Lark22
488Red-capped Lark11
495White-throated Swallow44
498Pearl-breasted Swallow22
525Southern Grey Tit11
544African Red-eyed Bulbul44
576African Stonechat11
581Cape Robin-chat11
583Karoo Scrub Robin22
604Lesser Swamp Warbler44
606African Reed Warbler314
619Rufous-eared Warbler11
646Levaillant’s Cisticola22
653Namaqua Warbler33
658Chestnut-vented Warbler33
665Fiscal Flycatcher55
678Fairy Flycatcher33
686Cape Wagtail44
707Southern Fiscal11
733Common Starling11
745Red-winged Starling11
760Southern Double-collared Sunbird11
784House Sparrow12122
786Cape Sparrow383169
799Cape Weaver14620
803Southern Masked Weaver141630
805Red-billed Quelea11
808Southern Red Bishop62531
820Red-headed Finch112
843Common Waxbill44
865White-throated Canary358
866Yellow Canary22
873Cape Bunting224
1172Cape White-eye5858
4139Karoo Prinia55
4142Southern Grey-headed Sparrow 33

Dieter Oschadleus
Dieter Oschadleus
Dieter Oschadleus leads the BDI bird ringing expeditions, and is able to organise bird ringing courses (having run many courses in South Africa, and some in the Seychelles). Dieter is also a registered bird guide in South Africa, and has birded widely in Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. Dieter is able to act as a bird guide for day trips in Cape Town, and is able to customise birds tours in South Africa and beyond.