Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Wellington Zoo 29 June - A BIG day

With near ideal conditions and a small but experienced banding team we caught a large number of birds today at the Zoo. The total for the day was 191 of 10 species with 114 new birds and 77 recaptures Although 10 species is a high number for this site most were represented by only 1 or 2 individuals.With the large number of birds being caught early we put fewer nets up than usual. Also due to recapturing birds a second or third time (about 50% of the catch towards the end) we closed down an hour sooner than we do on most occasions.
The "Team" all busy at their tasks, David, Danielle, Ros and Annette
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 0 (1) an interesting recap as it was banded in Houghton Bay in Jan 2011. This is the longest distance that we have recaptured a Blackbird.
Dunnock - 0 (3)
Greenfinch - 12 (4) 1 of the recaps was banded at Bridie's on Hornsey Rd in Dec 12
The sexing and aging of Greenfinch caused some interesting discussion 
Goldfinch - 2 (0)
House Sparrow - 5 (1)
Starling - 1 (1) the recap was also banded at Bridie's in Jan 11
Silvereye - 89 (77) this is the highest Silvereye total we have caught in a day at the Zoo with the highest number of new birds and 1 less than the highest number of recaps. No really old birds were caught but there were 6 that were banded in 2009, 5 in 2010 and 5 in 2011.
Fantail - 1 (0)
Grey Warbler - 1 (1) the recap was banded in April last year.
Yellowhammer - 3 (0) the first at the Zoo for some time.
Ros taking one of the Yellowhammer's wing measurement
After we had packed up we were privileged to have a look at the birds that are being treated from storm injuries at the Nest (the Zoo bird hospital). What a great asset this facility is to the City but very sobering to see so many birds in care, esp. the bigger Albatrosses and Petrels.
One of the 6 White-capped Molly's that were received at the Nest after last weeks storm.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Hornsey Rd 27 June - More Silvereyes

I had intended to put up a couple of nets this morning to catch some of the trap shy birds but the wind was a bit strong. After clearing a couple of net lanes from last week's storm I made a late decision to set the funnel trap again with the result that I caught a heap more Silvereyes. The total in just over an hours trapping was 78 Silvereye and a couple of not so bright Sparrows. There were 27 new Silvereye and 49 recaptures, 12 of the recaps were banded on Monday and 14 of Monday's recaps were caught again so a total of 116 different individuals have been caught this week.

The oldest bird was banded 11 Feb 05 and at 3058 days since banding becomes the 7th Silvereye we have recaptured after 3000 days. Five of the birds caught this morning were over 5 years from banding which is the most I can recall catching in one day. As was the case on Monday a lot of the recaps had not been caught for a considerable time.

Monday, 24 June 2013

At last some Banding - 24 June

After a week of almost constant rain and several days of gale force winds I was able to do some banding today.

This morning I had a session at Witham St in Island Bay. This site is on the other side of the valley from our usual one, and although less productive can still provide some reasonable catches. Caught 28 birds of 5 species, 1 Blackbird, 2 Chaffinch, 5 Greenfinch, 6 Sparrows and 11 new Silvereyes and 3 recaps.

With an earlier start than usual I had a chance to watch the setting of the moon, which according to the boffins on TV, is on one of its closest orbits to the earth.

Silvereyes started feeding here at my place last week with numbers building up rapidly during the bad weather.  This is about a month later than most years probably due to the mild Autumn. This afternoon I took a break from doing chores and set the funnel trap and got a big surprise with the number of birds. In just over an hour 64 Silvereyes were caught with 28 new and 36 recaptures. The oldest recap was banded in Aug 2007.
A surprising number of older birds have not been captured for some time and this is especially true of most of the 14 birds that were banded in 2011. There were 2 birds captured which had been banded in 2007 - for 1 it was the first recapture and the other hadn't been caught since 2009. This is the biggest catch of Silvereyes here in a day for several years and usually the numbers don't peak until July. Several birds were caught that had been banded at other sites including 2 from the Zoo and 4 from Houghton Bay.

It will be interesting to see if a similar pattern is found on Saturday at the Zoo. That is providing of course that the weather gods are kind and we get to have a session.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Wild Weather with NO Banding

With almost constant rain all week and now severe gales there has been no banding for quite a while.

The planned session at the Zoo tomorrow (Saturday) has now been canceled due to dangerous conditions with trees down and other hazards in the area we band in (not public places) Will see if we can do something next week.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Houghton Bay 13 June - An unexpected good catch

I had a session at the Houghton Bay stream this morning. I only went down because plans A & B failed so with a bit of time on my hands I thought I would check out the stream. At this time of year and after recent rain I didn't expect to catch much, perhaps 10 - 20 birds if I was lucky. I was very wrong and caught 64 birds of 6 species with 47 new and 17 recaptures. I had trouble getting the nets down as birds kept flying in and I was an hour late in getting home. Fortunately I was forgiven (it's actually not the first time).

Species caught were - (Recaps in brackets)
Chaffinch - 7 (0)
Goldfinch - 1 (1) the recap was banded Dec 2010 so a reasonably old bird and the oldest recaptured at this site.
When I arrived home I received a recovery report of a Goldfinch that had been caught by a cat near Vic University in Kelburn, it had been banded at Newtown Park next to the Zoo last June.
The Goldfinch recap
House Sparrow - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 31 (14) the oldest recap was banded April 09, another Nov 09, 1 in 2010 and 2 in 2011. There were 2 birds from other sites, 1 from Bridie's in Hornsey Rd and 1 from Witham St in Island Bay.
One of the Silvereye recaps has lost all except its back claw on the right foot. I wonder if it was caused by a mouse trap?
Grey Warbler - 4 (1)
The first 2 Grey Warblers were caught together, perhaps siblings?
Fantail - 3 (1)
The first 2 Fantail were also caught together, both have retained brown tipped juvenile covert feathers so were aged as 1

Friday, 7 June 2013

Island Bay 7 June - Tui

Monica, Ros, Annette and I had a successful morning's banding at our Island Bay site today. Bird numbers were down considerably from recent sessions but as Monica was over from Sydney it was as much a social and story telling session as it was a bird banding one. So, in regards to this it was a great success as it was interesting to catch up with her Australian activities.

We caught a total of 41 birds of 6 species with 32 new and 9 recaptures. This is a lot lower than recent sessions and was about half of the numbers caught in June last year. The big difference in numbers was due to the almost complete absence of House Sparrows. Ken our host reported that they were there in their  hundreds last week.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 4 (3) one of the recaps was banded as an adult in Nov 07 and is now at 2042 days our oldest recaptured Blackbird at this site. It was its the first recapture so where has it been for the last 5+ years? Probably in the area but playing hard to catch.
Chaffinch - 9 (2)
Dunnock - 4 (1)
Monica banding her first Dunnock for a while.
Tui - 6 (0) the first 3 birds caught were Tui, with all but the last caught being male.
The 3 "girls" with their 3 "boys"
The last Tui caught, a female with a pinkish neck tuft, looked as if it had  some different food recently.

Two of the male Tui wings showing the notch in 7p, the older bird with the bigger notch is at the bottom

House Sparrow - 8 (3) the oldest recap was banded Dec 11
Yellowhammer - 1 (0) our first Yellowhammer at this site for a couple of years.
We had an interesting discussion on aging and sexing the Yellowhammer
As is usual we enjoyed a scrumptious morning tea, (actually 3 coffees and a  milky drink).

NZ Birds Online

A new web site was launched last weekend at the The Ornithological Society of NZ (OSNZ) AGM in Dunedin and it is a great addition to the New Zealand birding scene. It is a joint venture between OSNZ and Te Papa. Colin who works at Te Papa and is a long term and very active OSNZ member was the main driving force behind the site. He has done a fantastic job and has I believe spent most of his waking hours working on it for months. Well done Colin and your team.


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Tui Recovery

I am in Auckland for a week so there hasn't been any banding but I have just had a recovery report from the DOC Banding Office of a Tui recovery. It was recovered at the Lyall Bay School and banded at the Zoo back last November so not a long recovery. I think this is the second Tui we have recovered from this school which is a bit of a surprise as I would have thought that there were not many in that area. Will check up when I get back to Wellington later in the week.