Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Karori Cemetery Saturday 30 June

Gen, Nick and I spent a couple of hours at the Karori Cemetery this morning partly to see what birds were there and also for Gen to hopefully get some more samples. Although we did not catch a lot of birds it still was I believe a successful session.
Dogwood fruit a month ago now almost all consumed
 In all we caught 8 birds with 5 new Blackbirds
One of the Female Blackbirds had a very prominent growth bar across it's wings and tail giving us no trouble aging it as a 1

Three Tui were caught 1 new and 2 recaptures, they were all big males tipping the scales at near or over 200g. One of the recaps was banded at the beginning of May and has gone from 148g to a massive 210g - there must be good stuff in the Dogwood fruit. The other recap was banded 30 May 2010 at the same spot.
Gen with the biggest male Tui, she managed very well only losing a small amount of (her) blood.

Male Tui wing showing the wing slot in the 7th primary which they use to make the  whiring sound  when giving dominance displays.

Cats were again a potential problem with several prowling the area and a close eye had to be kept on the nets. When one of the Blackbirds squawked loudly when being processed several appeared almost instantly.

Hornsey Rd Friday 29 June

Set the funnel trap here on Friday morning to check on the Silvereyes. Caught 38 in all with only 2 unbanded, although 7 of the recaps hadn't  been caught at this site previously this year so there is some turn over of birds. Four of the recaps were banded in 2008, for 2 it was the first recapture.

I have also set the trap at Bridie's down the road a couple of times recently and have caught a total of 17 Silvereyes with 13 new and 4 recaptures. Silvereyes have only started to feed at Bridie's in the last couple of weeks. Also recaptured 1 Starling.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Zoo Sunday 24 June, a great day and an old bird.

We had a great day’s banding at the Zoo on Sunday and despite a bad forecast we had near perfect conditions. It was calm with low cloud for most of the morning then the sun came out which showed up some of the nets that weren’t in the shade but it sure made things pleasant and no one was complaining. There was a good turn out with a very good mixture of newer people with some very experienced banders, as well as some keen younger folk.
A busy banding station with Mary the scribe giving instructions
Three of the many Silvereyes about to get their freedom.

In all we caught 149 birds of 9 species with 77 new and a whopping 72 recaptures and amongst the recaps were several older birds with one bordering on the ancient. For the last hour or so probably about a third of the birds caught had already been processed so the total number of bird handlings was much higher.
Species caught were – (recaps in brackets)

Blackbird – 3 (2) one of the recaps banded in Sept 09 and the other last Jan as a newly fledged Juv.
Bashful Annette with the older Blackbird and old nosy looking on.
Dunnock – 1 (1)
Chaffinch – 0 (1)
Goldfinch – 1 (0) we put up a net where a flock had been feeding on Pohutukawa seed earlier in the week but only caught the 1, then just as we were starting to pack up a flock of 20 or so started to feed next to the banding station. Very tempting but it had already been a long day.
Greenfinch – 6 (5) numbers this year appear to be continuing the decline from last year. In years prior to that we were catching 30-40 a day at this time of the year. 3 of the 5 recaps were banded at other sites.
House Sparrow – 13 (9) the oldest recap was banded in March 09.
Starling – 1 (1) the recap was banded in April 08.
The Recap Starling starting to show it's age.
Silvereye – 51 (53)  most of the recaps were banded in the last few years but there were 1 from 08, 1 from 07, 2 from 06  and the old girl banded in July 03 and is now at least in her 10th year. At 3276 days it is now our oldest live recapture of a bird of any species at the Zoo. We have a recovery of a dead Blackbird at 3299 days so if we catch this bird next month it will hold the record outright although this is not likely as it has only been recaptured once before in Nov 04. One of the recaps was banded at Houghton Bay and another banded at the Zoo has been recaptured at Houghton Bay and has now made the return journey.
A Silvereye poses for the camera while Melody looks for the next one.

Tui – 1 (0)

The day had a hint of sadness to it as Monica announced that she will be leaving this fair city in the next few weeks to join her man in Sydney Town. Although this wasn’t entirely unexpected I had hoped she would be around a bit longer, we sure wish her well and hope to see her back at some stage.
Monica banding perhaps her last NZ Silvereye
Admiring the little fella before saying goodbye.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hornsey Rd 20 June Silvereyes

Set the funnel trap again this morning to check on the Silvereyes. Managed to catch 38 with 6 new birds and 32 recaptures.  As 7 of the recaptures haven't been caught here this year it appears that there has again been a small influx of birds. Two of the new recaps were banded in 2009 (1 was caught for the first time since banding) so it appears some birds are returning or just getting hungry enough to enter the trap.

Also caught 2 new Blackbirds both 1 M's but the Sparrows that have been freely entering the unset trap to scoff the food all disappeared once it was set.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Island Bay Saturday 16 June a cold but busy session

After making two decisions to cancel due to a strong southerly wind and squally showers I changed my mind when the weather appeared to be settling a little so Annette and I started to set up shortly after 9am. We then hardly stopped until we finally called it a day about 2.30; in all we caught 108 birds of 7 species with 80 new birds and 28 recaptures.

Species caught were (Recaps in brackets)

Blackbird – 9 (3)
Dunnock – 0 (1)
Chaffinch – 2 (1)
Greenfinch – 2 (3)
House Sparrow – 50 (15) All the recaps were banded in the last year many as unsexed Juv's which have now be sexed.
Starling – 1 (0)
Silvereye – 14 (4) One of the recaps was banded in July 07 and is now at 1799 days our oldest bird of any species banded and recaptured at this site. We started banding there in Feb 07.
Tui – 2 (1) The recap was colour banded in March 10 and hasn't been sighted since Nov 10.

Ken reports that the “Brown” Tui that was around for several days last week seems to have moved on. Coincidently I checked up on the Tui feeding in the Banksia in Chilka St, Berhampore a couple of days ago and there is a “Brown” one there in the same tree where one was a few years ago; same bird???? I wish I knew.    

We were fortunate that the weather, although threatening at times, didn’t interrupt proceedings to any great extent however it was a tat on the cold side. Some bands especially the new BP’s were a bit hard to manipulate with frozen fingers but although several were dropped none were lost.

As is usual a great spread was laid out for us unfortunately with birds insisting on jumping into the net we had little time to do it justice. I also didn't have time to take any other photos.

The morning sustenance.
Yesterday (15 June) I had a quick look at the Houghton Bay Stream and caught 4 birds which was about what I expected. Birds were 1 Recap Fantail, 1 new Chaffinch and 1 new and a recap Silvereye. The new Silvereye looked interesting not sure what it had been feeding on but it looked more like a European Robin than a NZ native.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Hornsey Rd 11 June Silvereyes

With rain forecast for the rest of the week and a Southerly change expected I set the funnel trap this afternoon to check if there were any new Silvereyes about. In about an hour and a half before the southerly hit I caught 37 with 12 new birds and 25 recaptures. As well as the 12 new birds another 6 haven't been caught at this site this year  so there appears to have been a small influx of new birds. Hopefully there will be a chance next week to see if this is the case.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Houghton Valley School Thu 7 June

Annette, Gen and I had an interesting afternoon at the Houghton Valley School with a class of youngsters. We were joined after school by Kate a senior pupil who is a keen birder and is becoming very competent at handling birds.
The first bird about to be released
 In all we caught 31 birds, with as expected the majority being Silvereyes there were 19 new and 10 recaptures with 2 Grey Warblers (probably a pair) the only other species. All the recaps were banded last year, 8 at the school in July and 2 at the Houghton Bay stream in April. The high recapture ratio might mean that there has been a high survival of adults but a low recruitment of juveniles.
The second one about to take off
Going, going
Even the teachers got in on the action
Another one about to be released
And another
Gen showing one of the Grey Warblers to keen youngsters
Kate checking the weight of a Silvereye

Monday, 4 June 2012

Hornsey Rd Mon 4 June - Silvereyes

Set the trap and put up a couple of nets for a while today to check on what Silvereyes were about. Caught 28 with only 3 being new and the other 25 recaps. Most of the recaps have been caught in the last few weeks so it appears the population is fairly stable at the moment with few bird moving about.

As well caught 1 new House Sparrow and a recap that was banded at the Zoo back in February, also a new Chaffinch.

Newtown Park Monday 4 June - Yellowhammers

The Yellowhammers that were in Houghton Valley appear to have moved to Newtown Park about 1 k away. There seems to be about the same number of birds but my count the other day was interupted by a Falcon that caught one and put the others to flight.

Went down this morning  and put up a couple of nets and managed to catch 20 plus a couple of Goldfinch and a Greenfinch. Had hoped to get a recap or two but no luck.
A bird in the hand - a nicely coloured male
A bird in the net - another male

Not sure how long they will stay in the area as there were two Falcons there this morning.