Ringing at Rocher
The Ringing Unit has been active at Rocher pan Nature Reserve for a number of years and is continuing with the long time-series initiated by the late Joe Johnson.  Deona and I were privileged to accompany Margaret McCall and Lee Silks on the 2018 session.  On Thursday 18 October we set off at 06:00 to spend four days and three nights at this popular destination.  The water level at the pan was low and covered an extent of about two soccer fields.  The open water did not reach the reed beds so the number of skulking denizens was rather limited.  This situation was offset by the spectacle of 200 flamingos, both pale Greater and rosy Lessers.  Small flocks of Pied Avocets up-ended to feed in the shallow water while lanky Black-winged Stilts strode along the shoreline.  A scan of the perimeter revealed pairs Black Oystercatchers, Caspian Terns, Cape Shovelers, Cape Teals and the ubiquitous vociferous Egyptian Geese.
We erected mist nets on the dunes and along the boardwalk leading to the hide nearest to the picnic site.  The threatening south easterly breeze freshened to a full-on howler and the nets billowed to such an extent that most birds were able to detect the obstacle course.  There was an influx of Namaqua Doves that flashed overhead as the males displayed their pure white bellies, contrasting black tails and russet primary feathers.  To our delight two photogenic males and a plain female were netted.  The one male, to our amusement, made soft, mournful cooing sounds while he was being weighed and measured.  The productive day was later rounded off with a braai while watching the crimson clouds at sunset, with the flamingos adding their vocal honks and grunts to the dusk chorus.
At 05:00 the Friday morning greeted us with a cool light breeze that later morphed into the steady South-Easter.  We were treated to a number of bush-birds making a steady appearance in the nets and also had sufficient time to watch fly-bys of Namaqua Doves, European Bee-eaters, Yellow-billed Kites and the pair of handsome Black Harriers that were breeding in the reserve.
Saturday turned out to be very hot so we took down the nets at midday and, in the late afternoon, erected them at the main camp near the solar panels.  Sunday morning provided a bumper crop of bush-birds which included Chestnut-vented and Layard’s Tit-Babblers, Karoo Scrub Robin, Grey-backed Cisticola and Long-billed Crombec.
In spite of the windy spell we ringed 114 birds comprising of 20 species.  We also had three retraps which indicates that birds remained in the reserve and did not move away because of the prevailing drought.
In addition to Ringing, there was sufficient time to venture out and atlas three pentads with a tally of 81 species for the southern pentad in the reserve.  We took photographs for the ADU’s Virtual Museum.  These images contributed the following: BirdPix 29, Reptiles 3, Butterflies 2, mammals 1.
The Ringing Unit would like to express their sincere gratitude to the TBC committee and members for their support and generous contributions to the ringing programme.

Gerald Wingate

Honour and recognition for the Tygerberg Bird Club Ringing Unit
Members of the Tygerberg Bird Club Ringing Unit have recently been honoured by the Rotary Club of Tygerberg and recognized for their selfless dedication and hard work towards conservation and citizen science over many years. 
These members and their partners were hosted by Rick Shuttleworth, president of the Rotary Club of Tygerberg at a dinner event where the ringers and helpers were praised for getting out of bed in the dark - winter and summer and setting up their mist-nets before first light in various locations around the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town almost every week.
Mr Shuttleworth applauded the TBC Ringing Unit for their dedication and ongoing contribution towards the database of information at SAFRING.   
The TBC Ringing Unit started in July 1992 with Bob Ellis, Lee Silks, Margaret McCall and Debbie Philogene. Bob Ellis has since passed on, as has Bill Rudings who has also been a long-standing member of this unit.  Shuttleworth highlighted the fact that, over the last 25 years, this small group have ringed over 65,000 birds and have re-trapped close to 8000 birds; not only birds previously ringed in South Africa, but also migratory birds previously ringed in the Northern Hemisphere.
Certificates of appreciation and in recognition of their selfless devotion were bestowed to Anina Coetzee, Brigid Crewe, Margaret McCall, Debbie Philogene, Lee Silks and Brian van der Walt in their roles as certified ringers and regular members of the TBC Ringing Unit. 
The following members of theTBC Ringing Unit have also been awarded with certificates for appreciation of their assistance and regular support at the ringing outings: Annette Doherty, Gail Maberly, John Maberly, Gerald Wingate and  Ettienne Kotze.
A pleasant evening with good food and good company was had by all.  Brigid Crewe thanked the president and other members of the Rotary Club of Tygerberg present for this much appreciated, public recognition of the contribution that members of the TBC have been delivering to this area of citizen science over many years. 
Mr Shuttleworth concluded the evening with a notable quote by the late John Muir - naturalist, explorer, and writer which underlined the importance of the work recognised at the event:

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”