Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Monday, 12 November 2018

Queenstown - A few days and a few birds.

Arrived back in Christchurch last night after a few days down south. Went down primarily to mow lawns and generally tidy up the place and of course hoped to catch a few birds. We had arranged for a contractor to have mown the lawns a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately due to wet weather he had not been able to and it was like a paddock of hay. On the first night it started to rain and it rained and it rained. When it finally cleared a bit I was able to get a net up for a while but caught very little. One Chaffinch and a 9 new House Sparrows and 6 recaps. One of the recaps was banded Dec 2015 and is now the oldest H Sparrow recaptured.

In the afternoon a went down to the Moorhill Rd site for a couple of hours, caught 40 birds but with only 3 species there was not much variety. Amazingly caught 31 new Yellowhammers and 1 recap, this is the most I have ever caught in a session. There is a huge number there at the moment, they must be eating more chook food than the chooks. Other birds were 2 new Blackbirds and 4 new H Sparrows and 3 recaps. All 3 recaps came from the Littles Rd site ( about 2km) one recently but the other 2 were older, 1 Dec 15 and the other Jan 16.

Yesterday morning I managed to get a couple of nets up for a while before we left, not a big catch but at least a bit of variety. Dunnock 1 new, House Sparrow 7 new and 3 recaps, Blackbird 1 new, 1 recap.  The recap was banded in Nov 2015 just over 3 years ago and is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured down there. Also recaptured 1 Bellbird and 1 Tui.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Botanical Gardens - a couple of Bellbirds

I received a message from Luke who is the Curator of the New Zealand section of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. They had a couple of fledgling Bellbirds that were feeding in a Tree Fuchsia that they would like banded. Bellbirds have only colonized the gardens in the last few years and it was decided it would be a good idea to get some banded and find out a bit about what they are up too.

The tree they were feeding in was pretty big and high but we managed to get a net in a reasonable position. Managed to catch 2 fledglings and an adult male, (probably Dad). There was also at least another young bird and probably an adult female, (presumably Mum). The only bycatch was a Chaffinch.
The first juvenile getting banded.

The last one banded, notice the blue pollen on its chin. Fuchsia is I think the only tree that has blue pollen.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Motukarara - A new Site

Phil, one of the City Council Park Rangers who has been training with us at the Quarry qualified as a Level 2 bander a month or so ago. This permits him to band on his own with limited supervision. He has for the last few weeks been banding at his property at Motukarara in his extensive garden and small farm. So far he has banded 103 birds of 8 species, this includes a number of Starling nestlings from the numerous nest boxes he has on the property.

He has banded -
Welcome Swallow - 3 in my decades of mist netting I have only ever caught 1 in a normally set net and Phil manages to catch 3 in his first week!
Dunnock - 4
Silvereye - 5
Chaffinch - 3
Greenfinch -
House Sparrow - 56 - he must be feeding them well?
Blackbird - 2
Starling - 29 this includes 15 nestlings and 1 newly fledged.
One of the young Starlings about to get its bling.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Halswell Quarry Sat 27 Oct. - fairly quiet

We had a another quiet session at the Quarry this morning. Due to a number of regulars heading to Otira in search of the elusive Rock Wren there was fewer banders as well as birds. One of the probable reasons for the small catch was that this is the first time we have had a weekend session in this particular area and the number of people about was astonishing. Most of them seemed to have at least one dog of some description and most of them were running loose even though in this area dogs are meant to be on a leash and under control. Hence a considerable time was spent on traffic control.

We caught a total of only 15 birds but with 7 species at least there was a bit of variety. All birds except one were new. Blackbird 1, Chaffinch 1, Greenfinch 5, Yellowhammer 1, House Sparrow 3, Silvereye 1 and 2 new Starlings and 1 recap. The 2 new Starlings were the first birds caught and the recap was the last which we were fortunate to be able to process as Andre had to make a 20m dash to prevent a woman from attempting to free the bird from the net.
The Starling recap which was banded just under a year ago

Greenfinch are currently in their handsome best attire.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Two Recoveries, a Recapture and a Resighting.

In the last few days we have two recoveries of birds killed in car accidents. A Tui that was banded at the Prince of Wales Park site in Wellington was seen to fly into a moving car and was killed. It was banded 30 Nov 2014 it was a male and aged as a 3+ so was at least 7 years old. It met its demise only a short distance from its banding site. The second recovery was a House Sparrow I found dead on the road near the entrance to the Halswell Quarry. It hadn't lived long after banding nor moved very far but it is the first recovery of a bird banded at the Quarry.

The recapture relates to a House Sparrow that the group in Wellington recaptured at the Zoo last Saturday. It was banded on 13 April 2013 and although this is not old for many species it seems to be for House Sparrows as we have only recaptured about 8 older than this bird.

The resighting was reported by Rachel who bands with me down near Queenstown. She was doing a braided river survey in the Makarora River which is at the head of Lake Wanaka and amongst the six pair of Wrybill was one with a band. With the aid of a remarkable photo taken by Nick, one of the volunteers, they were able to work out most of the band numbers. When this was reported to the Banding  Office it was found that there was only one Wrybill with this part number sequence. The bird had been banded as a juvenile at Miranda and now as a 6year old is found breeding at the opposite end of the country. The direct line distance is just over 900km, but it is most likely to have migrated down the east coast and have stopped off for refueling at somewhere like Lake Ellesmere for a while so the actual distance flown on each trip would be in excess of 1000km. It has probably made this return journey at least 5 times.
From Miranda to Makarora

Photo Nick Beckwith

Photo Nick Beckwith

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Halswell Quarry Thu 18 Oct - another quiet morning.

We had a session at the Quarry this morning. It started off very quiet and although it did improve a little we still ended up with only 19 birds of 5 species with all except 1 being new.

Blackbird - 4 (1)
House Sparrow - 7
Greenfinch - 5
Goldfinch - 1- this bird was a female, its mate also hit the net but bounced and then perched on the top of the net.
Welcome Swallow - 1- this bird is probably the mate of the one we caught a couple of weeks ago. So we presume we now have the pair banded.
The W Swallow with its new bling

The tail of the bird from 2 weeks ago, judged to be female by the amount of white on the outer tail feather.

Today's bird with more white on the outer tail feather and judged to be male.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Halswell Quarry Thu. 4 Oct - Fairly quiet

We had a session at the Halswell Quarry yesterday morning and although it was fairly quiet there was a continuous trickle of birds. We ended up catching 31 of 7 species with 22 new and 9 recaps. Phil and I also banded 4 Welcome Swallow nestlings on Wednesday.
Birds caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (1)
Starling - 1 (0)
The Starling, an adult female sporting its new bling.
Dunnock - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 6 (2)
Greenfinch - 9 (2) one of the recaps was the first Greenfinch banded at the Quarry, 1 day short of a year ago and at 364 days is the oldest recaptured bird of any species.
Silvereye - 3 (4) a surprisingly small number.
Welcome Swallow - 5 (0) this includes the nestlings. The new adult was caught at the Visitors Centre where a pair are nesting and we put a net up across the entrance.
Phil putting bling on one of the young Welcome Swallows.

Elenore banding the adult Welcome Swallow