Weaver ringing trip to Limpopo Province, 2-6 Feb 2010

A team of 4 ringers and 2 trainees went on a ringing trip to the Limpopo River; for me to target especially Red-headed Weavers but also more White-winged Widows and Lesser Masked Weavers.

Polokwane, 2 Feb

Adult male White-winged Widow
Polokwane Ultra-Shell, 2 Feb
Dieter met Derek Engelbrecht at a field at the Polokwane Ultra-Shell to catch White-winged Widows on 2 Feb afternoon. A flock of females and my first breeding male were caught.

Polokwane, 3 Feb

Polokwane Game Reserve, 3 Feb
Dieter, Derek Engelbrecht and Billy Attard ringed at a waterhole in the reserve, where White-browed Sparrow-weavers and other birds were caught. The highlight was an African Cuckoo - only 13 have been ringed previously in southern Africa! see data here

Derek with African Cuckoo

Platjan Lodge, 3-5 Feb

Entrance to lodge

Limpopo River at lodge
That afternoon 6 people met at Platjan Lodge on the Limpopo River(me, Dirk van Stuyvenberg, Peter & Dominic D'Arcy, David Pretorius, and Louis), with David and Louis already catching birds by the time the others arrived. This was our accommodation for 2 nights while ringing in the area. The Limpopo was full due to much rain in northern South Africa over the past month or two.

Platjan lodge

Mayholme farm, 4 Feb

Nets at Red-headed Weaver colony

Red-headed Weaver male

Red-headed Weaver female
The farm south of Platjan had active Red-headed Weaver colonies around the farm house. Dirk and I ringed here for the entire morning as we had not handled this species previously, while the others ringed along the river.
See also News item on 2010-02-08

Boelamien Safari's, Mayholme farm

Red-headed Weaver chicks, 4 Feb lunch

The ringing team: Dirk, David, Louis, Peter, Dominic

Red-headed Weaver chicks

Diederik Cuckoo chick
Several Red-headed Weaver nests were low enough to reach. No eggs were found and several nests had chicks which could be ringed. One nest even had a Diederik Cuckoo chick.

Magalasinkwe Safaris and Cape Vultures, 4-5 Feb

Relaxing at the Magalakwena R, Magalasinkwe Safaris

Cape Vulture release

Cape Vulture taking to the wing
In the afternoon we were going to ring at Magalasinkwe Safaris but it was too windy. Instead we relaxed next to the Magalakwena river which runs into the Limpopo.
On 5 Feb Dirk and I returned to Pretoria via Blouberg Nature Reserve. We were surprised to discover Johan Botha with a film crew to film the release of 4 Cape Vultures. It was amazing to watch 3 vultures take off. One vulture did not fly off, however, and we took it to Kerri Wolter at the Rhino & Lion Wildlife Conservation Centre in Skeerpoort.

Magalasinkwe Safaris, Daantjieslaagte farm

Wolfhuiskraal, 6 Feb

The van Stuyvenberg family

Spotted Flycatcher

Southern Masked Weaver colony, where most birds were caught in the morning
On 6 Feb Dirk's family (Karen and Stefan) and I ringed at Wolfhuiskraal. A variety of birds and 4 weaver species (White-browed Sparrow-weaver, Southern Masked Weaver, Red-billed Quelea and White-winged Widow) were captured.

Previous visit to Wolfhuiskraal farm

All these sites have accommodation & potential for ringing sites for any ringers wanting to ring in the Limpopo area - note there is no cell phone reception along this stretch of the Limpopo.
Platjan lodge
Boelamien Boelamien Safari's, Mayholme farm
Magalasinkwe Safaris, Daantjieslaagte farm

Thanks to everyone that helped for this trip, especially:
Derek Engelbrecht & family for their hospitality
Dirk van Stuyvenberg & family for travel and hospitality
Permission to ring at sites: Limpopo lodges (see web pages above), Danie Opperman (Wolfhuiskraal)
Thanks to Lance Peppler for a reason for this trip, and to Joseph Heymans for info on the Red-headed Weavers.