Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Houghton Bay - Wednesday 28 Nov

Spent a couple of hours at the Houghton Bay stream Wednesday morning. After having had 2 afternoon sessions  thought I would see what was around during the morning. Caught a total of 24 birds which is much lower than the afternoon tallies but still caught some interesting birds. Six species were caught with 13 new and 11 recaptures.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 2 (1)
Goldfinch - 1 (1) first recap for a considerable time, a bird banded as an adult about a year ago.
Greenfinch - 1 (1)
Grey Warbler - 1 (0) the first juvenile for this spring
Fantail - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 7 (8) a very high recapture rate for this site. No really old birds, 3 banded 2010, 3 in 2011 and the other 2 this year.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Zoo banding - Sat 24 Nov

With good conditions despite the forecast predicting showers we managed to catch 59 birds of 10 species with 39 new and 20 recaps. Ten species is a high number for this site but with a bit of luck it could have been higher. We didn't catch any Grey Warbler despite there being a number near nets. There was also at least 2 singing Bellbirds in the area. We didn't actually see any but the Zoo Keepers report seeing birds several times in the last couple of weeks. The other bird that would have been great to catch was Shinning Cuckoo, there were 2 playing chase near the double vertical net but unfortunately they took a right turn when a left might have put them into the net. 
As was to be expected a number of species like Blackbird, House Sparrow and Starling had a number of juveniles amongst the catch. 
Juvenile Blackbird being processed

There was a good turn out of people which was pleasing as there is so much on at this time of year.
Young Stan taking a break to have a bite to eat
Species caught were – (recaps in brackets)

Blackbird – 10 (0) they were mostly juveniles with 2 nestlings as well from a nest about 10 m from the banding station.
Mrs Blackbird back brooding her newly banded chicks

Dunnock – 3 (4) the highest total we have caught at the Zoo and reverses the trend of lower numbers over the last couple of years.
Chaffinch – 1 (0)
Greenfinch – 5 (2) 1 of the recaps was banded at the Zoo in Sept 08 as an adult so is now a 6+ bird and was caught at Hornsey Rd a couple of times this year.
House Sparrow – 10 (1)
Fantail – 1 (0) this was a juvenile and there seem to be several family groups in the area which is good to see.
Song Thrush – 1 (0) our first since May and only the second for the year.
Starling – 5 (0) there had been a huge number of newly fledged birds about earlier in the week but they seemed to disperse about Thursday.
Tui – 1 (0)
Silvereye – 2 (13) with only 2 new birds and I of those being a juvenile it seems we have most of the resident Silvereye banded. 3 of the recaps were banded in 2009 with 1 recaptured for the first time; another was banded in May 06 so has passed the 5 year mark

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Houghton Bay - Mostly Silvereyes

I have had a couple of short sessions at Houghton Bay; this afternoon and another a few days ago. Caught a total of 89 birds of 9 species, with 73 new and 16 recaptures.

Species caught were (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 3 (2) the oldest recap was banded Dec 08 and is now the oldest Blackbird banded and recaptured at this site.
Chaffinch - 6 (0)
Greenfinch -1 (0)
Goldfinch - 2 (0)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Fantail - 1 (0)
Grey Warbler - 2 (0)
House Sparrow - 2 (0)
Tui - 1 (1) The recap was banded Nov 10
Silvereye - 72 (13) The oldest recap was banded on 19 Jan 08 at the first session at this site and is now the oldest bird of any species banded and recaptured there. It was good to get a resonable number of recaps with all but 1 being banded at this site. This is in sharp contrast to the last 12 months when very few locally banded birds have been recaptured.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

An old Tui Recovery

Recieved a recovery report from the DOC Banding Office of a Tui caught by a cat in Hataitai. It was a colour banded bird that was banded at the Zoo as an adult in Aug 2004 so would have now been at least 10 years old. This is our longest Tui recovery, recapture or sighting. Surpisingly this was also the first report of it since it was banded so where has it been for the last 8 years?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Hornsey Rd - A mixed bag

I have done a bit of banding in the last couple of days both here and down the road at Bridie's. I caught 33 birds of 6 species with 11 new and 22 recaptures.
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird 1 (6)
Chaffinch 1 (0)
House Sparrow 2 (0)
Silvereye 0 (9) The oldest recap was from May 09
Starling 6 (5) Included in the recaps was another bird over 5 years making 7 in the last week or so.
Tui 1 (0) It is very unusual to catch a Tui in a trap, this bird was entering the trap and licking the juice out of half eaten apples.

We had an interesting recovery report yesterday. A Silvereye that was banded on Mt Albert in March 2005, recaptured by Ralph in Roseneath in Nov 07, was caught by a cat in Hataitai. It is now in the bird collection at Te Papa.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Hornsey Rd - Some Old Starlings

I have done some trapping both here and down the road at Bridie's in the last few days. The main target was Starlings which are easier to catch when they are feeding young because they loose some of their usual caution.  Managed to catch 12 of which 8 were already banded, and amazingly 6 of these recaps proved to be at least 5 years since being banded.

These birds were banded (with days from banding to recapture in brackets)
Nov 07 (1834)
Oct 07 (1853)
Oct 06 (2532) Banded at the Zoo
Nov 05 (2532)
Aug 05 (2651)
May 04 (3092) This last bird is now the oldest Starling recaptured by the Group at any site.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Houghton Bay Friday 9 Nov

Spent a couple of hours at the Houghton Bay stream this morning, caught 34 birds of 6 species with 32 new but only 2 recaps.
Species caught -
Blackbird - 5 (1)
Greenfinch - 3 (0)
Goldfinch - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 22 (0)
Grey Warbler - 0 (1)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Island Bay 6 Nov - Lots of birds

Ros, Danielle and I had a busy morning at Island Bay yesterday. There was a strong southerly wind blowing which made it very cold but the threatening rain held off and fortunately the net site is sheltered from the worst of the wind. Danielle is an avian Vet at the Zoo and wanted some more experience with handling and banding small passerines so with a constant flow of birds I think she achieved this.
Danielle and Ros busy at the net
And busy at the banding table
The "Totem Pole" with bags of birds

In all we caught 93 birds of 8 species with 75 new and 18 recaptures. Among the recaps there were several interesting birds. Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 7 (4) Most of the recaps were banded as Juvs last year.
Dunnock - 1 (0) This continues the trend of the last 2 years of very low Dunnock numbers at all our sites. Not sure why, perhaps they have had poor breeding success.
Chaffinch - 4 (1) The recap was banded 15 Sept 07 and at 1879 days is not only the oldest Chaffinch but the oldest bird of any species banded and recaptured at this site. It is also the second oldest Chaffinch recaptured at any of our sites.
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 0 (1) A bird banded in June 09
Starling - 10 (2) One of the recaps was banded at Houghton Bay in Jan 08 and is now at 1752 days the oldest Starling recaptured at this site.
House Sparrow - 46 (10) Most of the recaps were banded in the last 2 years but one was banded in Nov 08
Tui - 6 (0) A bit disappointing not to get any recaps as there were a number about but then I think Tui are quick learners. The brown/fawn (Leucistic/Isabelline?) that has been at this site for a while was about but having hit the net last month avoids it with ease.

As usual we were treated to great hospitality by Marion and Ken including a great morning tea feast and several hot warming drinks.
The morning's feast waiting for a break in bird numbers