Female Bellbird

Female Bellbird
Female Bellbird

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Halswell Quarry - the last few birds for 2019

We haven't had any regular sessions for a while due absences and other activity. But there have been a few birds banded of interested. We banded 5 Kingfisher pulli, they were from a nest in a bank where Jan thought kingfisher had nested last year. After checking the area a number of times activity was noted with fresh whitewash below a hole and a raucous racket coming from inside. A few of us met on Sunday morning to see if we could get the chicks out. My hands were far to big but fortunately Jan has far smaller and delicate ones and was able to extract them. I was very surprised to find that there were 5, expecting 2 possibly 3. There was a surprising difference in the size of the chicks but as this is the first ones we have banded I didn't really know what to expect.
Eleanor banding the smallest of the chicks.

In order to get them back they needed a little poke in the backside to get them to shuffle back to the nest chamber.
 We have also recently banded a brood of 4 Goldfinch, the nest was at Ruud's place which is next to Jan's on the rim of the Quarry. Ruud is known throughout New Zealand as "Ruud the Bug Man" we are hoping to turn him into "Ruud the Bird Man"

On Sunday we also put a 4m net up across the entrance to a toilet block where Welcome Swallow nest each year. Managed to recapture the female which was originally banded in Nov 2017 at the same site.  It was also caught in 2018 so great to know that it is site faithful and is still surviving. It is also now our oldest recap of any species at the Quarry being banded only a week or so after we started banding there.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

The latest NZ Banding Office Newsletter.No 11


Below is a link to the latest (11th) New Zealand Banding Office Newsletter. Well worth a read especially with news on the latest Data entry system. Click on download and then on the link. Hope it works.



From the Banding Office:




·         Bird Banding Database: “FALCON” has hatched!

·         Bander’s Data BOX version 10 available for download

·         Did you know – bird banding can solve problems!

·         What is the difference between certification and permission?

For these and other banding banter, download the 11th edition of BirDBanD.

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



Wishing everyone a wonderful festive season and looking forward to an awesome 2020!

Michelle, Sandy and Imogen

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Halswell Quarry - A bit of banding here and there.

We have done a bit of banding at the Quarry in the last week or so. Some was banding nestlings and some was attempting to catch Blackbirds feeding on fruit of ornamental cherries in the Japanese Garden area.
On Thursday I banded 4 Chaffinch in a nest in the corner of a car park. I then had a bit of a walk around and found a lot of Blackbirds & Song Thrushes feeding on the cherry fruit. On Friday I put up a couple of nets for an hour or so to see what I could catch. With a catch of 8 birds including a couple of interesting recaps I thought it worth another go. Monday was the only day that a session could be fitted in so a group of us gathered and had a good couple of hours.

Species caught over this period were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 6 (0)
Song Thrush - 3 (0)
House Sparrow - 0 (2) both were old birds with one at 750 days from banding, was for about 30 min  the oldest recap of any species caught at the Quarry. It now has to share this honour with a Bellbird caught later that had been  banded on the same day.
Dunnock - 0 (1) the oldest Dunnock recap at the Quarry.
Chaffinch - 6 (0) 4 were nestlings
Goldfinch - 2 (0)
Greenfinch - 4 (0)
Fantail - 9 (0)
Kenny concentrating on banding "His" Fantail

The Fantail was aged as a 2 due to several retained juvenile covert feathers.
Welcome Swallow - 2 (0) both nestlings.
Bellbird - 0 (1) This was the bird of the week. It was the first Bellbird we banded at the Quarry. When it was banded on 16 Nov 2017 it was noted that it was blind in the right eye. It is still blind in that eye and it is amazing that it has survived this long. It is now joint holder of the oldest bird record.
The blind eye, looks sad but he's a survivor.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Queenstown - the final roundup for a while.

We are now back in Christchurch having driven back on Saturday arriving last night. On Saturday morning I was able to erect a net and monitor while completing my chores and packing the car. I wasn't expecting much in the way of a catch, perhaps half a dozen or so. I was surprised to end up with 12 of 5 species, 7 new and 5 recaps. The majority of the new birds were juveniles with most of the recaps banded in the last year or so.
However there was one notable exception, a handsome male Chaffinch which had been banded 16 Sept 2015, 4 days after the first banding down there. At 1529 days from banding it is now the oldest recap of any species. Although it had been caught several times since banding it was 3 years since the last time.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Queenstown - only limited banding

We drove down here on Monday but it wasn't a very good trip. By the time I got here I was crook as a dog, possibly due to a dodgy chicken pie I ate on the way down. Finally got a couple of nets up Thursday morning. Caught 19 birds of 5 species, 13 new and 6 recaps.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 2 (2)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Starling - 3 (0) also 2 nestlings in one of the boxes I erected several months ago. Unfortunatly they had fledged from the other 3 boxes. There are a huge number of newly fledged birds about.
A couple of the Starlings caught together, probably a mother and daughter
House Sparrow - 3 (0)
Tui - 3 (3) including a juvenile and the oldest female recap.
The new juvenile, a little girl.
One of the older recaps, a stroppy old male.
This morning Rachel came over from Wanaka, primarily for a chin wag and a catch up on her various projects. We also put some nets up and managed to catch 12 birds of 7 species.

Blackbird - 1 (0)
Song Thrush - 1 (0) a recently fledged juvenile that had obviosly had a difficulty time.
The Thrush's tail showing several growth/fault bars.
Dunnock - 3 (1)
Chaffinch - 1 (1)
Redpoll - 3 (0) the first caught since March.
All the Redpoll were female.
House Sparrow - 0 (1)
Californian Quail - 1 (0) this was encourged into a net by Rachel after I had failed miserably with a pair earlier.
The Quail was a chubby female.

Rachel with her prize.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Botanical Gardens Tuesday 12 Nov - a few birds

On Tuesday morning Luke and I put up a couple of nets in the NZ section of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. This was in the hope of catching some of the newly fledged Bellbirds that were feeding in a Tree Fuchsia. Luke who is the curator of this section has been keeping an eye on them since they fledged a week or so ago.

We were only partly successful in our mission catching 1 of the youngsters. We also recaptured the bird presumed to be their father who was caught and banded a year ago in exactly the same spot. We also caught 3 birds as bycatch 1 each of Blackbird, Greenfinch and Dunnock.
Luke with the old boy,

He had the bright red eye of an adult.

The youngster, a female.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Halswell Quarry Thu 7 Nov. - only a few birds.

We had a session at the Quarry this morning and although conditions were good birds were scarce. We caught a total of 17  all new except for 1 House Sparrow recap.
Species caught were - 1 Silvereye, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Song Thrush, 3 Blackbirds and 9 House Sparrow + the recap.
Two of the Blackbirds were caught together, they were possibly Mother on the right with son on left.