The Biodiversity and Development Institute (BDI) hosted a Citizen Science Day, Saturday, 27 May 2023, with a focus on bird ringing at Grotto Bay Private Nature Reserve. The reserve has an area of 385 ha, and the vegetation consists of Strandveld and Sandveld.
Ringers had their nets up on a very cold morning, and it took a short while to start catching birds. Eventually we had a really good catch of 41 birds of 15 species. There were 3 recaptures from our previous session here (1 October 2022) – two White-backed Mousebirds and a Karoo Prinia.
A male Cape Spurfowl flew into one of the mistnets – he had very sharp spurs, measured at 19.9 mm long (read more about Cape Spurfowl spurs here). There was a good mix of fynbos species, including Karoo Scrub Robin, Long-billed Crombec, Bar-throated Apalis, Grey-backed Cisticola, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, and with seven White-backed Mousebirds topping the list.
It was interesting to see the slight difference in width of breast band in a pair of Bar-throated Apalis. Wing, tail and tarsus were also slightly longer in the male than female, while mass was more or less the same.
Residents of Grotto Bay came to watch the ringing, learn about birds in the hand, and listen to two talks at the Grotto Bay Conservation Centre. Dieter Oschadleus gave some examples to demonstrate the value of ringing, starting with the 2000 Treasure oil spill and how valuable it was for conservation to ring over 20,000 African Penguins. Les Underhill spoke about citizen science, highlighting three projects that people can become involved in – SABAP2, the Virtual Museum, and bird ringing.
Thanks very much to Michelle and Roy for catering and hosting us at the Grotto Bay Private Nature Reserve! Thanks to the many ringers and helpers! We look forward to the next time we go bird ringing at Grotto Bay.
To join a ringing course, see Events.
Numbers of birds caught at Grotto Bay, 27 May 2023
The highlighted species have species texts on the BDI website.
|583||Karoo Scrub Robin||1|
|760||Southern Double-collared Sunbird||3|
|803||Southern Masked Weaver||1|