Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Some Banding Attemps but not much banding

 We have had a couple of attempts at doing some banding in the last few days but banded very few birds. We had a couple of Kingfisher nests under observation but unfortunately due to other commitments we were unable to get any of the chicks banded. One nest was in a willow tree and the hole entrance was too small to gain access. The other was in a bank, the chicks were there the day before we attempted to band them but they were gone when we went to band them.

This morning (Wednesday) we set nets up at a new site at the Quaifes Rd Wetland where there were a number of small finches feeding. Although conditions were ideal when we arrived by the time we had nets up the sun had come out for the first time in a week and the nets were very visible. We ended up catching only 3 birds - one each of Goldfinch, Silvereye and Blackbird. The Blackbird was in the process of moulting its primary feathers.

On Monday I spent the morning putting up nest boxes in the Halswell Quarry area with the hope of attracting Little Owls. Time will tell if we are successful.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Recent Banding - All Puli

 We haven't had any sessions recently, giving things a bit of a break while birds are breeding. But I have taken the chance to band a few nestlings. First brood was 4 Welcome Swallows, they were in the usual nest in the Men's Toilet in the Findlay Picnic area at the Quarry the same site we have banded most of our Swallows over the last few years.

One of The Welcome Swallows with its new bling.

Most of the others were in nests around the Village where I live. Two Starlings in a nest box at one of our neighbours. The others were 6 Blackbirds in a couple of nests. It's been a bit surprising and disappointing at the number of nests that have failed. I suspect a gang of Magpies, up to 14 of them that have been hassling birds around the village.

The last 2 nestlings banded were 2 Little Owls that Ruud had located at a friends place near the Quarry. Reports were that they were still very small but I decided to check to get an idea when they might be big enough. When I opened the box there were 2 at what I thought was an ideal size for banding so they were banded. These were the first Little Owls that I have ever banded so it was a bit of a red letter day.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Halswell Quarry Thursday 15 Oct - not many birds but some were interesting.

 We had a pretty quiet session at the Quarry this morning although there were some interesting birds amongst the catch. Conditions were very much on the cold side with a dying southerly wind. There were 12 birds of 4 species processed with 8 new and 4 recaps.

Species were (recaps in brackets)

Blackbird - 2 (1) the recap was banded almost exactly a year ago on 18 Oct 19

House Sparrow - 5 (1) the recap was banded at Jan's place about 2km away back in July.

Dunnock - 1 (0)

Chaffinch - 0 (2) these birds, 1 F, 1 M were banded in Dec 2017 at exactly the same net site as caught today. Neither have been caught in between, the female was the 2nd Chaffinch banded at the Quarry and they are at 1043 days the oldest of any species we have recaptured there. The first bird of the day was the male Chaffinch recap.

We also had a recovery in the form of a Blackbird found earlier by Jan's husband, John while walking their dog. Found about 200m from where it was banded.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Halswell Quarry, Thursday 1 October - Some birds but not a lot.

We had a session at the Quarry this morning. After a frost the day was sunny with a stiffening breeze. We had a bit of a problem with dogs on the loose, one went under a net at speed but fortuanately except for a broken trammel line didn't cause much damage. Another was in hot pursuit of a Hare, both went under a net at speed, fortunatly the net was set high and again no great damage was done. Later the sun was on the 2 main nets making them very visable. We ended up with 17 birds processed, 11 new Silvereyes and 1 recap which had been banded at Jan's on Kenerdys Bush Rd about a couple of km's away. The others were all new, 2 Starlings, 2 House Sparrows and a Blackbird. The team today consisted of Ririka, Alice, Kenny and a new trainee Babs.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Some Banding this week - Silvereyes at Jan's & Redpolls at the Awatea Swale.

 We had a session at Jan's place next to the Halswell Quarry yesterday, 17 Sept with very marginal conditions. There was a strong gusty westerly blowing and although we put nets up out of the worst of the wind, gusts would still catch them at times. There had also been a very marked drop off of bird numbers during the week due to the warm weather with birds dispersing to their spring haunts.

We processed 21 birds which was better than I had expected considering the conditions,. There were 19 new with 2 recaps. Silvereyes were the main species with 16 new and a recap, 3 new House Sparrows and a Chaffinch recap made up the rest. The Chaffinch was banded at this site 1 Aug last year.

I have also attempted to catch some more of the Redpolls that are feeding in a large flock in the water retention swale on Awatea Rd with mixed success. Last Sunday I caught just 4 before the flock moved to another feeding area. On Wednesday I was a bit more successful catching 12. This makes a total of 25 banded at the Swale over the last few weeks. The only bycatch was a House Sparrow. I had thought some Goldfinches might have been possible as there are 20+ feeding with the Redpolls.

Most of the birds are drab first year birds but there are a few brightly coloured older males.


This bird is more of an Orange poll rather than the usual Redpoll

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Awatea Rd Swale - a few Redpolls

While doing a bird count last Sunday I found that there was a large number (100+) of Redpolls feeding in the water retention swale across the road from where I live. On Monday I tried to catch some, erecting 2, 2 Shelf 15m nets in the only bit of shade available. In the first attempt I caught 4, these are the first caught in Christchurch for a long time. After the first attempt I had to abandon catching as a woman with a completely out of control dog came along. It would bark at anything and everything.  It was loose and she couldn't catch it or control it in anyway. Every time she went past me she said "sorry" and carried on.

This morning I had another attempt, managing to catch 5 before a gang of Magpies (at least 7)came along and all small birds disappeared. I am away down South now for the next couple of weeks so I will have to wait until I get back to see if the birds are still around.

All the Redpolls caught and seen appeared to be of the Lesser type.
The first Redpoll I have caught & banded in Canterbury for a long time.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Halswell Quarry Fri 28 Aug - more new Silvereyes

We had a pretty good session at the Quarry Friday morning, when it was mostly calm and sunny. The sun was on the nets at times but I don't think anyone was complaining. We were a small group, Kenny, Ruud and myself along with Ririka a Japanese student learning about banding and NZ birds. We also had visits from Jan and Rod and his daughter visiting from Dunedin.

Even with only 2 nets up (1x12m 1x6m) we were kept busy. We processed a total of 51 birds of 4 species, and all except 2 were new. The majority were Silvereyes with 43 new birds but only 1 recapture. The recap rate is surprising with over 400 banded in the area this year and over 1000 in the last 3 years, where have all the rest gone?
Other species were House Sparrow with 3 new and 1 recap. The recap was banded as a juvenile on 1 Feb 2018 and is now at 939 days from banding our oldest recap of any species. Two Song Thrush and a solitary Blackbird were the others. Very surprised we didn't catch any Finches at all.
Ririka photographing Rudd with "his" Thrush

Ririka about to release the Song Thrush. She is proving to be a delightful young woman to have with us.

And with Kenny and "his" Blackbird