Bird ringing at Ouberg : 1 to 7 May 2024

From 1 to 7 May the BDI hosted a bird ringing event at Ouberg Private Nature Reserve in the Klein Karoo, north of Montagu. This was the first visit to the farm since RAVE in December 2023 (see list of previous ringing events here). A highlight of this trip was the opening of the new campsite. The camp consists of four permanent tents on wooden platforms, an ablution block and a large dining hall. Although some nights were cold, having beds with warm duvets kept the campers warm!

New campsite at Ouberg Private Nature Reserve
View from one the tents (Sue Gie)

The focus was on ringing at different sites where the drainage lines crossed gravel roads. Ringing totals were low, as reflected in the low number of sparrows and weavers caught – there were simply few of these birds present. The top species was Cape Bulbul (n=14), and 28 species were caught. Some species are always special in the hand, including two Fairy Flycatchers, a Cape Batis and three Bokmakieries.

Fairy Flycatcher: bird ringing at Ouberg
Fairy Flycatcher (Sue Gie)

17 individual birds were caught in spring traps, involving 11 species: Karoo Chat, Familiar Chat, Cape Robin-chat, Karoo Scrub Robin, Grey-backed Cisticola, Fiscal Flycatcher, Cape Wagtail, Common Fiscal, Bokmakierie, Cape Sparrow, and Cape Bunting.

There were 16 recaptures. 13 of these were recaptured at the same micro-site as where they were ringed. Three birds had been ringed at the farm house on previous visits in 2023 and were retrapped at a different site this week – Olive Thrush 403945 to Dip 1, Southern Masked Weaver BE72618 to Dip 2, and Southern Fiscal CC21123 to Dip 1 and Dip 2.

The last afternoon and morning produced some interesting birds for the farm. A Southern Tchagra was noticed and we tried calling it into the nets but it kept flying in the tree tops. There was also a small flock of Cape Penduline Tit, and they flittered around the nets without touching the nets. The very last bird caught in the nets was a Namaqua Warbler, a bird we thought we heard the previous day so the ringing catch was confirmation – the first record of this species on the farm!

Namaqua Warbler : bird ringing at Ouberg
Namaqua Warbler (Sue Gie)

The overall total for the week was 101 birds of 28 species, detailed in the table below.

Totals for bird ringing at Ouberg, 1 to 7 May 2024, by micro-site

Sp noEnglishHouseDip 1Dip 2Dip MainTotal
391White-backed Mousebird1   1
392Red-faced Mousebird  1 1
543Cape Bulbul14   14
566Karoo Chat   11
570Familiar Chat  112
581Cape Robin-chat11 24
583Karoo Scrub Robin 2136
609Little Rush Warbler1   1
621Long-billed Crombec   22
622Bar-throated Apalis  134
638Grey-backed Cisticola 21 3
653Namaqua Warbler   11
658Chestnut-vented Warbler  235
665Fiscal Flycatcher   44
672Cape Batis  1 1
678Fairy Flycatcher   22
686Cape Wagtail1   1
707Southern Fiscal111 3
722Bokmakierie 1113
760Southern Double-collared Sunbird  3 3
786Cape Sparrow7  29
799Cape Weaver1   1
803Southern Masked Weaver2 1 3
843Common Waxbill4   4
873Cape Bunting11  2
1105Olive Thrush23  5
1172Cape White-eye62 19
4139Karoo Prinia4 2 6

Thanks to Richard, Sue, Dan and team for building an amazing camp, and to Sue for hosting us so well!

The communal space at the new campsite at Ouberg Private Nature Reserve
Supper in the new dining hall (Sue Gie)
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.

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