Bird Ringing Report: Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

Background:

The South African Bird Ringing Unit (SAFRING) administers bird ringing in Southern Africa, supplying rings, ringing equipment and services to volunteer and professional ringers in South Africa and neighboring countries. All ringing records are curated by SAFRING, which is an essential arm of the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town. The Bird Ringing Scheme in South Africa was initiated in 1948, so 1998 saw the 50th anniversary of the scheme. During this period over 1.7 million birds of 852 species were ringed. There have been a total of 16 800 ring recoveries since the inception of the scheme. This gives an overall recovery rate for rings in Southern Africa of marginally less than 1%, averaged across all species. This probability varies enormously across species. The traditional objective of SAFRING is to establish a database of recoveries of Southern African birds that can be used to establish information about movement and survival. Every bird ringed, no matter what species or where it was ringed has the potential to contribute to the SAFRING recovery database. Since 1982, this database has been supplemented by a re-trap database, supplied by ringers on a voluntary basis. This contains ringing and latest re-trap details of birds recaptured at least 12 months after being ringed. The database as a whole is a resource which may be used by researchers, conservation biologists and managers, and primarily provides answers to questions related to movement and survival. Research into bird populations of importance to fisheries, agriculture, conservation and water management authorities involves bird ringing. Ringing provides a cost- effective tool for monitoring our environment and commonly draws attention to pollution, poisoning, power-line incidents, long-line fishing fatalities and other hazards.

There are currently ±200 active ringers operating in South Africa and neighboring countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. About 70 000 birds are ringed annually. Ringers, both amateur and professional, have to pay for all rings used. Bird ringing in South Africa is very strictly controlled by the “CODE OF ETHICS FOR BIRD RINGERS”

Training:

The intensive “training before qualification” consists of at least one year active ringing under the mentorship of an A1 ringer to master correct identification of birds, accurate data capturing and looking after the well-being of the birds during the processing of birds.

Projects:

SESAW: Survival Estimates in Southern African Weavers, Aug 2009 – Dec 2012

A new study has been launched to ring weavers in a way to maximize data for geographic variation in survival rates. Weavers are fairly easy to catch in large numbers, making them ideal candidates for large-scale studies. Species that could work well include Southern Red Bishops and Southern Masked Weavers. The key is to ring at sites where weavers are often recaptured. Ringers are able to contribute to this project in their normal ringing sessions. Due to the ideal habitat it was decided to register Moreleta Kloof for the SESAW project.

The aim is to measure geographic variability in survival rates of weavers in southern Africa over 3.5 years (2009-2012).

A normal ring session will typically start at ± 04h00 in the morning and could last up to 15h00 depending on weather conditions, temperature and numbers caught. During our recent visit to Moreleta Kloof we were fortunate to be able to ring a significant number of Weavers, Bishops, Thick-billed Weavers and Cape Weavers amongst many other species as was the case during previous ringing sessions in Moreleta Kloof.

The species ringed and released during our last ringing session is listed in the attached documents. In total more than 3825 birds have been ringed over a period of 8 years.

We would like to convey our special thanks to Adelene Marais, Functional Head: Nature Conservation and Ina from Rademeyers restaurant for allowing us to ring at Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve.

Many thanks

Dirk, Karen and Stefan van Stuyvenberg

Moreleta Kloof Ringing Report April 2011 Summary

Moreleta Kloof Ringing Report April 2011 Bird Listing

Bird walk with Faansie Peacock

On the 5th of February 2011, at 06:00, we will hold a Bird Walk with Faansie Peacock in the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve.  This walk will be for serious bird-lovers and will last about three hours. Please remember your cameras and something to drink.

We are privileged to have around 160 different species of birds in the Reserve.

Please park at the gate in Helios Street at the security hut.

Cost R50.00 per person. For more information please contact us on info@moreletakloof.co.za or call Jeannie on 082 927 4673.

A birdwatcher from Maidstone in the UK writes about the Moreleta Kloof

Moreletakloof is a small private nature reserve to the southeast of Pretoria, South Africa. The reserve claims some wonderful birds with Red-chested Flufftail and Ovambo Sparrowhawk on their list.

The guard on the gate let me in at 06.00 while it was still dark. It was cold too. I had 3 layers, gloves and a hat but found myself wishing I had more….

To read the rest of this post please visit;

http://redgannet.blogspot.com/2010/08/moreletakloof-johannesburg-jnb.html

Birdwatching day, 12 June 2010

The Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve, along with Faansie Peacock, will be hosting a bird watching day on Saturday 12 June 2010. The walk will start at 08:00 AM and end around 12:00 PM.

Entrance is free of charge, just bring your birding gear and yourself! A few snacks and something to drink will also be a good idea while we are out in the veld. Vehicles can be safely parked inside the reserve.

During the last birdwatching day in February 2010, more than 70 species were identified.

Afterwards, you can enjoy a meal at the Voerkraal.

For more information, please contact us on info@moreletakloof.co.za

President Ridge Bird Club birding day on 7 February

Contributed by the President Ridge Bird Club;

Members of the President Ridge Bird Club, under the leadership of Moreleta Kloof veteran Faansie Peacock, enjoyed a tremendous day’s birding in a lush and wet Moreleta Kloof on Sunday 7 February 2010.

The day got off to an early start at 06:30, as the group of eager birders set off with binoculars, cameras, telescopes and notebooks in hand. Within a few meters our shoes were thoroughly soaked with refreshingly crisp dew, but the brilliant birding more than made up for this. Within minutes we bumped into a juvenile Diderick Cuckoo being fed by Southern Masked-Weavers and this parasitic theme continued through the day with sightings of a begging Red-chested Cuckoo and a pair of displaying Brown-backed Honeybirds.

A few warblers played hard to get (as usual!), but the songs of Garden, Marsh, Willow, Little Rush and African Reed Warblers clinched their identity. Perhaps the “best spotting award” of the day goes to the discovery of a roosting European Nightjar, blending in magnificently with a horizontal branch. Those with a quick eye glimpsed a dashing Little Sparrowhawk, and an out-of-place Lanner Falcon. A full house of swallows and swifts were also notable, as were Cape Grassbird, Groundscraper Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Arrow-marked Babbler, Levaillant’s Cisticola and a cooperative Black Cuckooshrike.

With 70-odd species on the list, the assembled twitchers enjoyed brunch in the shade – exhausted but saturated with the day’s results – a lucky few even celebrating a lifer or two!

Species list for 7 February 2010: President Ridge Birding Club Outing on 7 February 2010