Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Halswell Quarry 20 June - a better catch.

We had a session at the Halswell Quarry this morning our first banding for a while with last weeks planned session cancelled for a variety of reasons. We had a much better catch than recent sessions with a total of 38 birds of 7 species caught. There were 36 new and a couple of recaps. I had hoped for a few more recaps, especially as the first bird caught was one, but it wasn't to be.

We were joined today by Colin who is a L3 bander and Steve one of his trainees. Colin is starting to do some banding and training at his place a few Ks away and hopefully we will get to swap birds.
The team for the day. Phil, Steve, Colin, Kenny, Andrew and seated Jan who admirably performed the duties of scribe in the absence of Sandra our usual one.
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1
Dunnock - 3
One of the Dunnocks had what appeared to be an old break in its right leg that had healed leaving a large swelling.
House Sparrow - 16 (1)
Greenfinch - 9 (1)
Silvereye - 4
Bellbird - 2
Andrew with the first Bellbird

Steve extracted and banded the second Bellbird, which was also the last bird of the day.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Christchurch - a couple of sessions.

On Thursday we had a session at the Halswell Quarry. We used the same site as last week which proved to be a mistake as we had a very poor catch. A total of 6 birds for the morning, 2 new House Sparrows, 1 new Dunnock, 2 Blackbird recaps (both from last week) and a recap Greenfinch. The Greenfinch was at least a bit interesting being the oldest recap for the species and the 2nd oldest of  any species.

On Friday Phil had a session at his place in Motukarara. He at least was reasonably successful, catching 21 birds of 9 species with 18 new and 3 recaptures.
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 2 (1)
House Sparrow - 6 (1)
Yellowhammer - 3 (0)
Goldfinch - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (1)
Fantail - 1 (0)
Grey Warbler - 1 (0)

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Halswell Quarry May 16 - Blackbirds and others.

We had a session at the Quarry this morning. We set up 3 nets around a fruiting Strawberry/Arbutus tree. This was with the hope of catching some Blackbirds that were feeding there. One of the reasons for this was to give some of the Trainees experience with larger birds. We were joined by two banders from Newcastle in Australia who were in town and wanted to experience handling NZ birds. With almost all the birds caught being introduced species their NZ bird experience was limited but what they banded were new species to them.

We caught 23 birds of 5 species. All were new and most were in their1st year. With 9 Blackbirds our main object was achieved, this being our highest daily total at the Quarry. Other birds banded were 10 House Sparrow, 2 Silvereye and 1 each of Chaffinch and Grey Warbler. The Grey Warbler was the first for the year.
Eleanor with Greg & Judith.

Judith with one of the first House Sparrows she has banded.

Me takin a photo of Greg taking a photo of Judith with "her" Sparrow. Kenny in the background doing nothing!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The latest NZ Bird Banding Office Newsletter


Just received the link to the latest NZ Bird Banding Newsletter, It's well worth a look, hopefully you can get to it via the link below.
From the Banding Office:

·         Vacancies in DOC Terrestrial Science Unit

·         Reminder to order bands and equipment (and submit outstanding band returns!) before June

·         Life cycle of a bird band

·         African Ringing Expeditions

For these and other banding banter, download the 9th edition of BirDBanD.

Previous newsletters can be downloaded from the bird banding webpages of Department of Conservation and BirdsNZ.



Kind regards,

Michelle and Sandy

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Queenstown - very, very quiet

We came back last night after a quick trip to our son's property near Queenstown. I tried to get a bit of banding in but was not very successful. On Monday Haley come over from Dunedin and in a couple of hours we caught 1 lone Blackbird. After she had left on her journey home I left the nets up and caught a further 3 birds.

Haley with her first and only Blackbird
On Tuesday I had nets up for most of the day while I did chores around the property and caught another 3 birds. In all 4 new birds were caught and 3 recaptured but with 5 species at least there was a little bit of variety. The total included 2 new Blackbirds, 1 new and 1 recap Bellbird,  1 recap House Sparrow, a recap Chaffinch and a new Fantail, the first banded in over a year. The recap Bellbird was a female and the oldest female I have recaptured. The Chaffinch was originally banded on the first day of banding at this site, 12 Sept 2015 and is now the oldest bird recaptured of any species.
The Fantail was a first year bird.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Halswell Quarry Sunday 14 April

After having to call off Thursday's planned session due to rain we had a go this morning with rather better conditions. It was a quiet morning with just 11 birds of 4 species caught, all except 2 House sparrows were new. There were 4 Silvereyes, 2 Blackbirds, 1 Greenfinch and 2 House Sparrows plus the recaps. The 2 recaps were both originally caught at the same net site nearly a year ago.

I didn't take any photos today but here is one I have received from Rachel who trains with me down near Queenstown. It is of a Rock Wren with a band like object around its leg. Apparently it is sloughed skin but I think it looks like a toilet roll put on the bird's leg by one of the little Elves who inhabit the rocky outcrops and who use the birds as transport!!

Female Rock Wren - Photo by Rachel Hufton.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Halswell Quarry Thursday 4 April - Sparrows & Greenfinch

We had a session at the Quarry on Thursday morning catching 25 birds but with the catch dominated by two species there wasn't much variety. The day started out very promising with calm conditions and a good number of birds however the eastly kicked in and it became blustery and cold. With the wind increasing bird numbers dropped.

All birds were new except a Chaffinch recap, this was the first bird caught and at 483 days from banding is the oldest caught of any species, exceeding the next oldest by over 100 days.The rest of the catch consisted of 12 House Sparrows and 11 Greenfinch plus a lone Silvereye which was the last bird caught.
The Silvereye was interesting as its moult was not following the usual sequence and the two wings doing their own thing. Here is a couple of not very clear photos.
Right wing with P9 half grown, P8 & 7 full grown and P6 still growing.

Left wing with  P9,8,7 all half grown with the rest finished.