Sometimes things don't go as planned, yet it all works out in the end. I had such a day on 16th February 2018 when I was ringing birds on the campus of the University of Limpopo. I had a relatively late start to the day and arrived at the ringing site about an hour later than I wanted to. To make an already bad situation worse, upon arrival it was still drizzling with rain and I had to wait a few minutes before I could get going erecting the mist nets. Given that I was already running about one and a half hours late, I decided to use only five mist nets instead of my usual 10-12.
Nevertheless, no sooner were the nets up and I had my first catch of the day, and what a looker it was - a Little Bee-eater. The nets rapidly started filling and I had a difficult time removing birds from the nets and processing those already bagged. In particular, I had my hands full with large numbers of small seed-eaters such as waxbills, firefinches, weavers and canaries. At one stage I closed the nets for about an hour to allow me some time to process the birds already caught. Some of the noteworthy catches included a pair of Orange-breasted Bushshrikes, Dideric Cuckoo, Lesser Striped Swallow, Cape Penduline-tit, Garden War-bler, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Brimstone Canary, a clean sweep of the three local firefinches (African, Jameson's and Red-billed Firefinch) and the stunning Violet-eared Waxbill will always crack the nod on any list of significant catches.
In total, 88 birds representing 35 species were ringed. There were five retraps: two Dark-capped Bulbuls, a Southern Masked-Weaver, Scaly-feathered Finch and a Green-winged Pytilia. The catches were dominated by Blue Waxbills (17) and Southern Masked-Weavers (11), but the seven Acacia Pied Barbets caught also deserve a mention.
Catch of the day? Surely the Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah, but my first Brimstone Canary deserves an honourable mention.