Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Sunday, 30 December 2012

A bit of banding and an old bird confirmed

Spent a couple of hours at the Houghton Bay stream yesterday (Friday). I didn't expect to catch much after heavy overnight rain but still caught 13 birds.
House Sparrow - 3 (0)
Greenfinch - 1 (1)
Goldfinch - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 4 (1) the recap was banded in 08 so a reasonably old bird.
Tui - 2 (0)

I have also done a bit of banding both here and down the road at Bridie's with not a lot of birds.
Blackbird - 2 (4)  the recaps included the old bird "White Eye" who was caught for the 19th time and at 3064 days is the oldest live Blackbird recapture at any site, but has a while to go to beat a couple of recoveries.
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 5 (2)
Tui - 1 (0)

Called in at the Zoo a couple of days ago and spoke with Nathan who was the keeper who found the dead Blackbird mentioned in the last post. He confirmed that it had only been dead for 2-3 days.  It apparently has been around the Giraffe enclosure for some time and was very confiding and well known to the keepers working there. It was last seen about 4 days prior to the body being found and the comment was made that he wasn't looking very well. As it was banded as a Juvenile this makes it just over 11 years old at the time of its demise and at 4021 days our oldest bird recaptured or recovered of any species, surpassing the Silvereye that had held the record since Nov 2007 when it was recaptured after 3817 days having been banded in May 1997.

This is the last post for 2012 and I wish you all the best for the new year. The past year has been a good one for old birds with a new oldest bird overall as well as for Blackbird, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling and Tui. I am away for the next few weeks so there is unlikely to be any new postings till towards the end of January.

Monday, 24 December 2012

A bit of banding and several recoveries

I have done a limited amount of banding in the last week or so with small numbers of birds caught at each attempt.
Totals caught for the combined sites were -
Blackbird - 6 (4)
House Sparrow - 9 (7)
Starling - 0 (1) a bird banded in Oct 06 so of a reasonable age.
Silvereye - 2 (2)
Tui - 1 (0)
Fantail - 2 (0)

We have also had a number of recoveries reported in the last few weeks and the most significant was of a Blackbird that was banded at the Zoo on 1 Dec 2001.  This was found and reported by one of the Zoo keepers who advised that it was badly decomposed but even if it was dead for 6 months or a year it is still the oldest recovery or recapture we have had of any species at any site. I hope to call in at the Zoo later in the week and see if I can get some further info.

Among the other recoveries there were 6 killed on the road. 1 Blackbird, 2 Silvereye, 1 House Sparrow and 1 Tui. A considerable number of birds are killed on the road over the Spring early Summer months and it is often assumed that the majority are naive young birds but as all these recoveries were adult birds so a considerable % are probably older.

I hope you all have or have had a happy and safe Christmas.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Zoo Stream - an old bird

I have had a couple of session at the little stream over the Zoo fence in the last few days. Had a 2 hour session on Saturday afternoon 15 Dec and another this morning 17 Dec. Part of the reason was to compare the catch rate between morning and afternoon and with some species there appears to be a difference. Caught 27 birds Saturday PM and 31 this morning so the overall the numbers caught were very similar. In all there were 52 new birds and 6 recaptures, the recapture rate is low but the majority of the catch were newly fledged juveniles. Among the recaps was a very good one and it is now the oldest of the species caught by the group.

Species caught were - (Recaps in brackets)
Blackbirds - 5 (1) all were caught in the AM session.
Song Thrush - 2 (0) this makes 3 in the last week, both caught this morning.
Chaffinch - 10 (1) 7 caught PM, 4 caught AM. The recap was banded 30 Nov 2005 and is now at 2574 days the oldest recapture of a Chaffinch at any of our sites. It was the second to last bird caught this morning.
Goldfinch - 19 (1) the 13 caught this morning is I think the most caught in one day, most were newly fledged juvs.
Greenfinch - 9 (0) 6 on Sat afternoon and 3 this morning and included the first juveniles for the year.
Silvereye - 1 (1) 1 each day and an extremely low number for this site.
Fantail - 0 (1)
Grey Warbler - 1 (0)
Tui - 5 (0) all except 1 caught in the afternoon and the one this morning was the last bird caught.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Houghton Bay 14 December - a 1 legged bird reunited

Danielle and I had a session at the Houghton Bay stream this morning. Danielle had traveled down from Palmerston North where she is a vet doing a post grad at Massey University. She is keen to up-skill her banding so she can get a permit for her study on avian disease in forest birds.

Although there were fewer birds than I had expected we still caught 30 of 8 species with 24 new and 8 recaptures
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 3 (1)
Song Thrush - 1 (0) the first Thrush at this site since Oct 09 and the 3rd ever.
Dunnock - 3 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (1)
Greenfinch - 1 (1) the recap was banded at the Zoo 3 weeks ago when it was noted that it was missing its right foot and lower leg and that the stump had a pox like lesion on it. The foot is still missing but the stump has healed and is looking healthy. The bird is in good condition with a brood patch and is probably breeding. (It was checked over by a Vet)
Goldfinch - 2 (1) the two new birds were caught together and appear to be a pair.
Goldfinch female left, male right.

Grey Warbler - 1 (0)
Grey Warbler with the red eye of an adult.
Tui - 3 (1) the recap was banded a couple of days ago and had increased in weight which is good.
Danielle checking the wing cord of one of the Tui.
Silvereye - 10 (2) a considerable drop in number from recent sessions.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Houghton Bay 12 December

I spent a bit of time this afternoon at the Houghton Bay stream.  I had tried to con a couple of people to come along as well but, no takers. Was late getting there as I had to wait for a serviceman to come and fix a stove so was very happy to catch 41 birds of 8 species. There were 34 new birds and 7 recaptures.

Species caught -
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Greenfinch - 2 (0)
Goldfinch - 3 (0) 2 were juveniles the first for this spring.
The first Goldfinch Juvenile.
House Sparrow - 2 (0)
Silvereye - 22 (6) the oldest was banded April 09 all the rest in 2011.
Grey Warbler - 0 (1) a bird banded as an adult in April 2010.
Fantail - 2 (0) both were juveniles
Juvenile Fantail showing their usual defiance.

Tui - 2 (0) also both juveniles

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Island Bay Saturday 8 Dec - some old birds.

Annette, Ros, David and I had a very successful session this morning. We had very good conditions with the forecast showers not eventuating and the southerly wind dying away. In all we caught 117 birds of 8 species with 106 new and 11 recaptures. 1 of the recaps is in the wait and see basket with a number that does not seem to be one of ours. The number of recaps was lower than I had hoped for but does include a few good ones.

Species caught were (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird – 18 (0) all but 2 were juveniles with the other 2 being 1 year old. One of the young birds had a nasty wound on the back of its head. It was starting to heal and looked to have occurred several days ago. 
The wound on the back of a juvenile Blackbird's head
Chaffinch – 3 (0)
Greenfinch – 2 (0)
Dunnock 3 (0) all juvs.
House Sparrow – 73 (8) one of the recaps was banded 24 Feb 2007 on our first banding day at this site and was the first Sparrow banded; not sure if it was the first bird but it is highly likely. It is now at 2114 days the oldest bird of any species banded and recaptured there. There was one Sparrow caught with a number recorded that is not in our data base so I will have to investigate it's origins. Interestingly 28 of the birds were judged to be juveniles with (including recaps) 28 adult female and 26 adult male.

Two of the male Sparrows had chestnut coloured bibs instead of the usual black, which is I understand caused by a recessive gene.
Male House Sparrow with chestnut bib instead of the usual black.

Starling – 6 (0)
Silvereye – 0 (1) it was banded 14 July 07 and is at 1974 days our oldest Silvereye recap at this site.
Tui – 1 (2) one of the recaps  was  banded Jan 2011 as a newly fledged juvenile so good to catch it as an adult. The other was a colour banded bird which was banded 4 Nov 2007, and is now at 1861 days the oldest Tui at this site. In the 5 years since it was banded the only sighting was in Zealandia July 2011.
The older Tui still sporting the full set of colour bands

We once again enjoyed great hospitality including a scrummy morning tea (except for David who left early)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Bridie's - a couple of old birds

I have had some of trapping sessions down the road at Bridie's over the last couple of days; on Friday evening and an hour this morning. Not a big catch with 16 birds of 4 species, 6 new and 10 recaptures.
Species caught were-
Starling - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 4 (0)
Silvereye - 0 (5) The oldest was banded in July 07 and at 1975 days has joined the 5 year group.
Blackbird - 2 (4) A male that we have named White Eye because of some white feathers on the side of his head was caught for the 18th time. He was originally banded in August 04 as a first year bird so is now aged as a 10. At 3037 days from banding he is our oldest Blackbird recaptured at any site with only a female that was recovered after a fatal car accident at 3299 days from banding being older. Hopefully White Eye will survive another year or two and take over the mantel completely. By the look of the bill full of food he was taking away he is still breeding and is a busy boy.