Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Monday, 18 June 2018

Queenstown 17 & 18 June - another Creeper

Yesterday morning, 17th, Bex came back for another session. We caught 70 birds with 37 new and 33 recaps. The catch was dominated by Silvereyes with 22 new and 28 recaps. House Sparrows were the other larger group with 12 and 3. Chaffinch 2 and 1 and a sole Yellowhammer made up the total.

This morning Rachel come over from Hawea and we had a session at the neighbours where there are a couple of apple trees with some fruit still attarcting a range of birds. Again Silvereyes made up the bulk of the catch with 33 new and 8 recaps. There was also 1 each of Chaffinch, Bellbird and Tui also a recap Dunnock. But the catching of 2 Brown Creeper was the highlight. One was new and the other was a recapture of the bird caught a couple of days ago. The distance between sites is not great probably only a couple of 100 meters on the opposite side of a stream that has banks covered with willow and hawthorn. Not far but still a good bird. This stream is probably the route that the birds follow coming up from the Shotover River.

The two Brown Creeper with the recap nearest.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Queenstown,Sat 16 June - a short but successful session.

Bex, who works in the Te Anau DoC Office and hopes to get her L2 permit for passerines and mist netting came over this afternoon, she already has some L2 qualifications. We made a start about 2 pm and took the nets down about 4. In that time we caught 48 birds of 9 species, we would have had 10 but a Greenfinch didn't wait around for it's bling. There were 28 new birds and 14 recaptures. Included was the first ever Brown Creeper, a species seen a couple of times but never caught before. Also we made our first recapture of a Kingfisher.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Chaffinch - 3 (0)
Dunnock - 0 (2)
House Sparrow - 3 (5)
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 19 (5) one of the recaps was banded a week or so after banding comenced here and at 1000 days is the oldest recap of any species.
Brown Creeper - 1 (0) the first one banded here and the first one I have banded.
Our first ever Brown Creeper
Bellbird - 0 (1)
Tui - 0 (1)
Bex handling her first Tui
Kingfisher - 0 (1) it was banded 22 Dec 2015. We have only banded 4 here so amazing to get a recap after more than 2 years (907 days).
Bex with our first Kingfisher recap.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Halswell Quarry, Thu 7 June

We had a session at the Quarry this morning and caught a total of 46 individual birds with 33 new and 13 recaps. The actual number of bird handlings would have been much higher as a lot of Silvereyes were caught multiple times.
Our scribe, Sandra keeps an eye on Eleanor while I keep an eye on Ron's cookie jar.

There were 6 species caught. (recaptures in brackets)
House Sparrow - 15 (1)
Greenfinch - 7
Dunnock - 1
Chaffinch - 2 (1)
Silvereye - 6 (11)
Bellbird - 2
The second Bellbird caught was a big old male with a very large bill.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Queenstown - Thurlby Domain 31 May

I had a short session at the Thurlby Domain this afternoon, and with only 17 birds it was a bit below expectations. All were new, had hoped for a recap or two but not to be. There were 11 Silvereyes, 2 Dunnocks and 4 Bellbird. The Bellbird were all male and now with 10 banded at this site there must be a reasonable sized population.
This Bellbird was probably an old bird, weighing in at 40.8g  the heaviest I have caught. It also had an above average wing length of 95mm. 

The area around the apple trees where I set the nets is frozen solid and I couldn't get pegs in for the guys so had to improvise using several bits of fire wood that were handy. The birds were mostly feeding on apples still on the trees and were mostly too high for my nets. Apples on the ground were mostly being ignored as they were frozen solid.

An interesting recovery.
I have received a recovery report from the Banding Office about a Tui that was found dead at Quail Rise which is on the other side of the Shotover River from banding site. When it was found it was being closely accompanied by another Tui which appeared to be nudging it. Quail Rise is about 3.5km in a direct line as the Tui flies although probably twice as far by road.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Queenstown - plenty of Silver

We have been down Littles Road since Saturday and had planed to start some banding on Sunday but my plans went very much astray. Caught a couple of birds in the neighbours hen house but when I went to band them found I had no pliers. They had been put in the wrong box when we packed up at the Quarry on Friday, A quick call to Sandra confirmed where they were and she made arrangments to courier them down. I did have an attempt at banding on Monday using convential pliers but this proved very difficult. I couldn't keep up with the catch from one net and I wasn't happy with some of the bands, so I abandoned the attempt.

The pliers arrived down this afternoon so I got a couple of hours in. There are a huge number of Silvereyes feeding on damaged fruit that I had tipped out on the lawn so it was no trouble catching a few.

The combined total of birds caught at various attempts is 82 ot 5 species with 66 new and 16 recaps
House Sparrow - 2 (1)
Chaffinch - 2 (0)
Silvereye - 59 (12) included in the recaps was a bird banded 21 Sept 15 about a week after starting to band here. At 982 days from banding it is now the oldest bird recaptured.
Bellbird - 1 (3) included in the recaps was the oldest Bellbird recaptured.
Tui- 2 (0)
One of the tui was a ist year bird but this one was an old fella.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Halswell Quarry Fri 25 May - A record day.

We had a very successful session at the Halswell Quarry this morning. Caught a record total of 60 birds with 50 new and 10 recaptures.  Both tallies are records for this site. We were missing a couple of our regular members so we were busy at times. I even had to resort to desperate measures like extracting and banding some birds myself.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 3 (0)
Dunnock - 2 (1)
House Sparrow - 16 (2)
Greenfinch - 6 (1)
Silvereye - 21 (6) a record total for both new birds and recaps.
Bellbird - 2 (0) includes our first female and the first time we have caught more than one in a session.
The female Bellbird getting its bling from Phil.

The Male Bellbird

The Male was aged as an adult by the feather spike (arrowed)

Friday, 18 May 2018

Halswell Quarry Fri 18 May - some Blackbirds

We had a session at the Quarry this morning, setting nets up at an arbutus tree that has ripening fruit. The aim was to catch some of the feeding Blackbirds in order to give some of the trainees experience with larger birds. We were reasonably successful catching 13 birds with 7 being Blackbirds. As well we caught 4 Chaffinch and a House Sparrow with a bonus of a Bellbird, only the second we have caught at the Quarry. All birds were new. Had hoped to get a recap or two as one of our regular net sites is only about 200m away.
One of the advantages of this site was the use of a picnic table as a banding station, (and coffee table.)

Phil banding one of the Blackbirds - a complaining male.

Eleanor extracting her first Bellbird and got a bloody finger for her trouble. (Badge of Honour)