Birdlife Polokwane's annual ringing weekend was held on the weekend of 1-2 March 2014. As usual it was well attended with, amongst others, people from Phalaborwa, Letsitele and Mokopane also dropping in to see what bird ringing is all about. About 30 people visited the ringing station and it was heartening to see so many of the new club members there. On Saturday we started putting the nets up at 4am and by sunrise most of the 24 nets we used were up and ready for the day's catch. We started off with a blinder and the holding bags and nets filled up so quickly that by 8:30 we had to close some of the nets to give us some time to process some of the birds.
On Saturday we ringed 105 birds and added another 11 on Saturday morning before we were surprised by a sudden rain storm coming in from behind our backs which forced us to call it the day. This caused a mad scramble to save our nets from a strong wind and the menacing claws of the Umbrella Thorns. Nevertheless, the 116 birds representing 35 species we ringed on the weekend is a new club record. The "most-ringed species" academy award goes to ...... the Red-billed Quelea with 24 ringed birds, mainly immatures. We also ringed good numbers of Golden-breasted Buntings (13), Southern Masked-weaver (9) and Marico Flycatchers (8). Other interesting catches included a Wood Sandpiper, an immature Gabar Goshawk, Barred Wren-warbler, and several migrants such as Icterine Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike and Diederik Cuckoo.
A particularly interesting catch was a 'retrap' of a Red-backed Shrike. This bird was ringed by Billy during last year's ringing weekend only to be caught again this year at the same place again. Strangely, this was the only retrapped bird on the weekend. We want to thank Koos du Plessis, Almari Robbertse and Kris and Emmerik Bal for their assistance over the weekend.