Birdlife Polokwane's annual, late summer bird ringing weekend took place over the weekend of 7 - 8 March 2015. Our two resident birders Derek Engelbrecht and Billy Attard were joined by Magoebaskloof based ringer Quentin Hagens at the customary ringing station, at the Aloe Ridge Waterhole in the Polokwane Game Reserve. As usual the event was well attended with several visitors from, amongst others, Phalaborwa, Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt. In total about 40 people visited the ringing station and it was heartening to see so many of our new club members in attendance.
On both Saturday and Sunday the nets were erected at about 4am but by midmorning most of them had to be closed in order to avoid thou- sands of thirsty Red-billed Quelea from getting caught. Removing several hundred Quelea from a mist net can really dampen the spirits. Despite having to 'close' the nests early in the day the ringers had a very successful weekend ringing in excess of 125 birds comprising 40 species. To date this is the greatest diversity ringed over a weekend at the Aloe Ridge site. The previous highest total was 34 species ringed in March 2014.
The highlight for the ringers was the variety of migrant birds captured and ringed, including three cuckoo species (Diderick, Levaillant's and Red-chested) and four warblers (Marsh, Icterine, Willow and an im- pressive Olive-tree Warbler).
Other noteworthy migrants ringed included Wood Sandpiper, Red- backed Shrike and Spotted Flycatcher. There were nine re-traps (all tagged in 2014) including single Brown-crowned Tchagra, Fork-tailed Drongo, Arrow-marked Babbler, Neddicky and Chestnut-vented Tit- Babbler and several Blue Waxbill, Southern and Lesser Masked- Weavers.
Thanks to all the members who assisted with erecting and taking down nets, removing birds from nets and entering morphological data for the ringers. Special appreciation goes to Derek, Billy and Quentin for giving all the visitors and club members a unique opportunity to participate in this very specialised and worthwhile birding activity. For those who missed out, a late winter ringing weekend will take place around August.