Bird ringing at Vondeling, 3 to 6 August 2023

We had an enjoyable long weekend of bird ringing at Vondeling Wines. Although we are still deep in winter, the first signs of spring were evident, green shoots on a single vine in one vineyard, and on a few leaves on one of the oak trees in the werf:

Looking at the table at the bottom of this blog, our top captured species was 77 Cape Weavers, followed by equal numbers of Cape Robin-chat, Fiscal Flycatcher and Cape White-eye (11 each). Interestingly, both a Karoo and an Olive Thrush were caught.

Both weaver species, Cape and Southern Masked, included males in full breeding plumage, but only Cape Weaver females had brood patches. The Cape Weaver was actively breeding at several different colonies. The dam below Bowwood farmhouse was full, with the reeds housing weaver nests standing in water, so we could not ring at this colony as we did in April 2023.

We also visited Schoon Farm and had a great ringing session in spite of the misty, freezing weather. Thanks to Loutjie for organising this!

Retrap of Brimstone Canary caught while bird ringing at  Vondeling, August 2023
Brimstone Canary

The most exciting catch was a recapture of a Brimstone Canary. When checking its ringing history, it was noted that it had been ringed on the other side of the Paardeberg Mountain in December 2019, three years and eight months ago, on an event described here!! The straight line distance between actual ringing and recapture sites was 6.0 km.

Map showing distance moved of Brimstone Canary while bird ringing at Vondeling
Movement of Brimstone Canary from Fynbos Estate (blue box) to Vondeling Wines (red box)

Numbers of birds of each species caught at Vondeling and Schoon, 3 to 6 August 2023

Sp noEnglishVondelingSchoon
390Speckled Mousebird1 
397Malachite Kingfisher1
543Cape Bulbul21
581Cape Robin-chat83
622Bar-throated Apalis3 
665Fiscal Flycatcher92
709Southern Boubou1
799Cape Weaver1562
803Southern Masked Weaver81
808Southern Red Bishop 6
810Yellow Bishop3
863Brimstone Canary3
867Streaky-headed Canary1
1104Karoo Thrush  1
1105Olive Thrush1
1172Cape White-eye83
4139Karoo Prinia31

The grand total is 147 birds handled of 17 species. Unexpected highlight was the movement of a Brimstone Canary across the Paardeberg.

For the BirdPix section of the Virtual Museum, we uploaded photographic records for 38 species. Vondeling Wine Farm falls into the quarter degree grid cell called Paarl, with grid cell code 3318DB. The number of bird species record in this grid cell is 160. Together with the previous trips made here this year, the total number of 2023 records is 82. This means that more than half of the species recorded in this grid cell have been recorded this year. The BirdPix data for this grid cell can therefore be declared “up-to-date”. A map for the grid cell, together with a list of species and the last recorded dates for each of them is here. One species not seen for a surprisingly long time is the Little Stint, last recorded in March 2011. The waders that breed in the tundra in northern Siberia are known to be decreasing, so the long time period since it was last recorded here is not a surprise.

Links to the descriptions of previous bird ringing trips to Vondeling (and also elsewhere) are summarized in this blog. To join a future ringing event, see Events!

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.