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2015 - 2016 Season

16 January 2016 - Perfect conditions, overcast but no chance of rain, a slight northerly breeze all mean that the swallows are lower than on a bright day so a perfect chance to catch some birds, and boy did we do well with 95 Barn Swallows being caught and ringed bringing the seasons total to 1035 swallows ringed. 


Barn Swallows at the nets


they love this game called "Wind Andrew Up", by sitting on the nets instead of flying into them



15 January 2016 - Today I received notification that a Swallow that I caught and ringed at Umzumbe on 27 November 2012 as an adult female bird was recaptured in Bandenburg in Germany on 29 April 2013, a straight line distance of 9395km's. Why it took so long for Germany to request the info from SAFRING is a mystery, but never the less at least we received the news.

14 January 2016 - After a few days of poor weather we were able to finally get back to the roost and managed 63 Barn Swallows, along with Black Sawwing, Whitethroated Swallows


In addition to the Swallows we often get lovely sunsets while we are catching Swallows


01 January 2016 - What a way to start the year off but a visit to the roost, 61 birds are caught along with Banded Martin, Whiterumped Swift and Brownthroated Martin.

29 December 2015 - Our last chance for the year so we go down to the roost in great conditions, we managed 68 Birds.

26 December 2015 - After a quiet Christmas the weather looked perfect so we go down to the roost and manage to catch 42 Barn Swallows in a wind that was gusting too much, in fact stronger than the forecast that I use.

20 December 2015 - Perfect conditions so we decided to go down to the roost, got the nets up and managed to catch 21 Barn Swallows and then it started to rain. A bit disappointing but we need the rain as this drought is getting bad. 

18 December 2015 - A bit of wind blowing but it should be fine by the time the swallows come in to roost, and that is what happened and we managed another 80 Barn Swallows, looks like a good season for me.

13 December 2015 - So the weather is goo so it was a chance to go to the roost again, we managed another 53 Barn Swallows.

11 December 2015 - Today I received the official documentation regarding the Barn Swallow recapture, the bird was ringed in Llanfechain, Powys, Wales by Mike Haigh on the 24th June 2015 as a nestling bird at 6 days of age, there was 5 chicks in the nest and 2 other nests in the Stable. This nest produced another 3 chicks in the second brood. the straight line distance from ringing to recapture is 9829km's with an elapsed time of 157 days. 
Yesterday evening I was at the roost again and caught another 70 birds with no recaptures. The season so far has been very good with 554 birds ringed with the 1 recapture.

05 December 2015 - After controlling the numbers caught during the week due to work the following day I love it when I can go to the roost on a weekend as it makes no difference how many Swallows I catch and ring, but typical The wind was blowing so the natural elements limited the numbers, anyway not a problem as I processed another 62 Barn Swallows.

04 December 2015 - Perfect weather except for a slight on-shore breeze, which sadly got a little stronger but still 56 Barn Swallows were processed.

29 November 2015 - After a few evenings rest due to strong winds it was time to head back to catch some birds. On arrival the wind was stronger than expected, but we were there so we gave it a try. After a slow start the wind dropped a little and we started to catch a few more birds, eventually we managed to catch 74 birds of which 1 was a bird with a ring on from England with ring number Z215476, we now await the information on this ring to arrive from England.


Our British Visitor Z215476


Another of our British Visitor Z215476


25 November 2015 - 3rd evening in a row to be down at the swallows and another great evening, numbers are still increasing and some of the 63 Barn Swallows that were caught and ringed had only just arrived, I can tell this by their weight (about 15g) and the fact that they haven't started their primary moult yet, a combination of the 2 factors is a sure sign of recent arrival especially as there is plenty of food about

24 November 2015 - Another good evening at the swallows with 73 birds caught and ringed.


immature Barn Swallow


adult Barn Swallow

23 November 2015 - My first visit to the roost since my week away in the Southern Drakensberg where I located another roost with 20 to 30 000 Barn Swallows, need to go back again and try and catch some to ring and maybe see where these birds are from in Europe. Anyway back at the Umzumbe Roost I managed 65 Barn Swallows, very happy with the number as it is still early in the season.

11 November 2015 - My second visit for the season and a nice catch of 55 Barn Swallows. It looks like the Swallows are using the large roost this season, for the last 2 seasons they have been using the slightly smaller roost in the next valley about 700m away. I hope this is a good omen.

10 November 2015 - My first visit to catch birds so I wanted to start off slowly so I called it quits at 37 Barn Swallows due to a strong wind, but numbers look good for the time of the season. Here's hoping.

29 September 2015 - News just received is that a Barn Swallow that I ringed at the Umzumbe roost on 2nd November 2013, as a bird with an age of less than 6 months was recaptured at "Dinnyesi Ferto Termeszetvedelmi terulet" in Hungary on the 26th September 2015. The bird was alive and well and released to continue the journey back to the Umzumbe Roost. Thanks to the ringer in Hungary who recaptured the bird.

26 August 2015 - Well what a great surprise this morning, while driving close to the Umzumbe roost I saw some very early arrivals, there were not too many but my first sighting of the season. this is about 1 month earlier than normal. Still reports of birds breeding in Europe on their second brood of the season and birds already arriving in South Africa
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