Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Houghton Bay Wednesday 31 Aug - An Old GW

Went down to the Houghton Bay Stream for an hour or so this afternoon. Not a lot of birds about but did manage to catch 23; 17 new and 6 recaps.

Greenfinch - 4 (0)
House Sparrow - 2 (0)
Silvereye - 10 (3) the oldest banded August 2011 and another banded at Hornsey Rd
Fantail - 0 (1) a recently banded bird
Grey Warbler - 1 (2) 1 of the recaps banded Jan 2012 and the other in Dec 2009. This bird is now at 1322 days our oldest Grey Warbler caught at this site and the second oldest at any of our sites.
The old Warbler

Hornsey Rd Tuesday 30 July - Greenfinch

I have been feeding seed in a new funnel trap for the last week or so with the hope of catching some of the increasing number of Greenfinch about. I set it as a trial on Monday evening and after a few glitches caught 8. On Tuesday morning I set both traps, the new one caught 28 new Greenfinch and 4 recaps, also 2 new Sparrows. Two of the recaps were banded at the Zoo, 1 in August 2010 and the other last Saturday.

The other trap caught 13 new Silvereyes and 19 recaps with a bycatch of 1 Blackbird. All except 4 of the Silvereyes were either new birds or had been banded this year. With the mild weather we have experienced over the last week or so almost all the older birds appear to have dispersed presumably to do their spring thing. With bad weather forecast over this next weekend it will be interesting to see if they come back.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Zoo Saturday 27 July -A good catch

We had a good days banding at the Zoo on Saturday with 129 birds caught with 103 new and 26 recaptures. Although there were 6 species caught the catch was dominated by 2 species with only token numbers from the rest. There was a good team of banders who did a great job of handling the steady flow of birds.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 0 (1) only 1 bird but a good one, banded in June 07 and at 2232 days the second oldest Chaffinch recap at the Zoo.
Greenfinch - 33 (2) the older recap banded Oct 11
We continue to have good discussions about aging and sexing Greenfinch. These 2 are easier than most, 1 F top, 2+ M bottom

House Sparrow - 4 (1)
One of the Sparrows had an unusual pink lump at the base of its bill.

Silvereye - 63 (22) 3 of the recaps came from here at Hornsey Rd, 1 banded in 2012 and the other 2 just 4 days ago. The most interesting recap I think was a bird originally banded in Jan 2010. In Aug 2012 it was found stunned on a path and taken to The Nest for rehab. After some TLC it was released a couple of days later and it is great that nearly a year later it is still alive and well.
Tui - 1 (0)
Julia banding her first Tui, we usually make Tui banding a 2 person operation it helps prevent excessive blood loss (Human not avian), esp. when handling big old males like this one.

It was interesting to watch a Song Thrush building a nest a few meters from the banding station, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. It is using the same nest site that a Blackbird used last year.
The site of last year's Blackbird and this years Song Thrush nests.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hornsey Rd 23 July - more Silvereyes

I set the funnel trap again yesterday and caught 96 Silvereyes with a bycatch of 1 Greenfinch. There were 27 new Silvereyes and 69 recaptures. The only birds of significance were the 2005 bird caught again and a 2008 bird caught for the first time in 4 years.

This is the fourth week in a row with a catch over 90. Each catch has had a number of new birds so there appears to be a constant  turnover, probably about 30-40% per week. The percentage of this year's birds recaptured has been increasing, as would be expected, as there is a larger pool each week with 180 now banded here this year. There were 41 birds banded in 2013, 9 in 2012, 12 in 2011, 2 in 2010, 1 in 2009, 2 in 2008 and 1 each in 2007 & 2005.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Island Bay Saturday 20 July - A good morning

Seven of us, Dianne, Ros, Otis, Mary, Ross, Kate and I had a good morning's banding at Island Bay this morning.With near perfect conditions we caught 129 birds of 7 species with 109 new birds and 17 recaptures. We hadn't had a session there for a while due to damage from the 2 southerly storms we have had in the last month. Although access has been cleared and there was no major damage to buildings there is still a lot of clearing up to do and fire wood for the foreseeable future. Ken reported that the behavior of birds during the storms was interesting with a big build up of birds especially Tui with up to 30 coming at a time. Consequently huge quantities of food were being devoured.

Species caught were - (Recaps in brackets)
Kate with one of the Blackbird recaps.
Blackbird - 5 (3)
Otis with the first Blackbird he has banded.

Dunnock - 1 (1)
Greenfinch - 11 (2) 1 was banded here in July 2010 and is now the oldest Greenfinch caught at this site the other was banded at the Zoo in August 2010.
Ross, Ros and Otis comparing Greenfinch age and sex.

House Sparrow - 34 (8)
Starling - 2 (0)
Silvereye - 53 (3) the biggest catch at this site for a couple of years. The oldest recap was banded in June 2009.
Tui - 3 (0)
Ross showing off "his" Tui to Mary (wife) and Kate (daughter)

The damage that can be inflicted by Tui claws (and this is only a young one)
The resulting bloody mess (my blood not Tui blood)
Once again a special thanks to our hosts, Marion and Ken for their hospitality and very welcome morning spread and hot drinks.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Hornsey Rd 18 July - a ton of Silvereyes

I set the funnel trap here this morning to have a round up of the Silvereyes. Caught a total of 102 which is the highest daily tally here since 2005.  There were 29 new birds and 73 recaptures. Although the total is only slightly up on the last couple of weeks there must have been a turnover of birds as along with the 29 new, there were 12 from past years which had not been caught previously this year. Among the Silvereyes were 3 banded at the Zoo, 2 at Houghton Bay, 1 at the Houghton Valley School and 5 on Mt Albert.  The only by-catch was a Greenfinch.

This afternoon I operated the trap down the road at Bridie's for an hour or so. Caught a bit more variety but still mostly Silvereyes with 11 new and 13 recaps. Also caught were a new Greenfinch and a recap.The recap was the same bird that I had banded here in the morning (he must be a bit thick as although there are lots of Greenfinch about it was the only one to enter either trap). As well a new Starling and a recap, and 1 new House Sparrow.

Of the 86 Silvereyes recaptured today at both sites 45 were banded this year, 13 in 2012, 12 in 2011, 7 in 2010 (including 2 recaptured for the first time), 2 in 2009, 2 in 2008, 2 in 2007 and 1 in 2005 (this bird has been caught in the last 2 weeks as well.
This bird banded in 2007 is the only one caught in the last two years from the 100+ colour banded that year and appears to be the only survivor.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Hornsey Rd Thursday 11 July - Silvereyes

Contrary to my expectations Thursday morning was dry and I was able to set the funnel trap for a period before I started work at midday. Caught a total of 96 birds, all Silvereyes. There were only 15 new but 81 recaptures. Of the recaps 39 were banded this year, 18 in 2012, 13 in 2011, 2 in 2010, 2 in 2009, 1 in 2008, 4 in 2007, 1 in 2005 (the same bird has been caught in the last 2 weeks) and an old girl (or boy) banded in June 2003. This bird at 3681 days from banding is now our third oldest Silvereye recap but still has about 150 days to get the record. It was caught last year but this is the first time this year and I was beginning to think that it hadn't survived.

Four of the recaps had been banded in Houghton Bay and 2 at the Zoo. The 2 Zoo birds have consecutive band numbers and this is the fifth time they have been caught together.

Last night I picked up a very squashed little Silvereye on the road near the Zoo. It was banded but unfortunately the band was mangled and the last 2 digits are unreadable. The string of bands A-1889?? was used at the Houghton Valley School on 10 June 2010 and the Zoo on 12 June 20010, as most birds banded were Silvereyes there is no way of positively identifying the bird.
Obviously not this bird but an example of how the older aluminium bands can get mangled

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Not much banding this week

After 3 days of good banding weather while I was at work it has turned to custard today with rain and high winds expected for the next few days. Then on Saturday I am off to Christchurch for a few days so the prospects of doing some banding looks bleak. To reduce the likelihood further I put some sugar water in the feeding cage this morning and within 30 minutes a Tui had found it and is now chasing every bird that comes anywhere near, Silvereyes, Sparrows, Greenfinch and even Blackbirds get the treatment.

I did manage an hour or so at Bridie's on Saturday afternoon when the weather cleared after a northerly rain squall. Caught  39 birds; all Silvereyes except 1 recap Blackbird. Of the Silvereyes there were 18 new birds and 20 recaps. The oldest recaps were 2 that were banded in 2008.

The Blackbird we've named White eye  was feeding on the lawn but didn't go near the trap. He was banded in Aug 04, 3254 days ago.

We have had a couple of recoveries this week. 1 was a Silvereye banded 9 days previously at the Zoo and found dead about 1km away. The other was a Blackbird banded as a Juv at Island Bay in March 07 and its skeleton was found in a woodpile not far away.  The wood has been there less than a year so it was at least 7 years old when it died.

Yesterday I received from the DOC Banding Office a  photo of a colour banded Tui, and one of the colours was described as Red which would make it a bird banded in May 03, therefore our oldest Tui record. In the photo this band looks to be possibly Brown which would make the bird one that was banded in Aug 08. I am trying to gather a bit more info to confirm its ID.
Red or Brown?

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Hornsey Rd 4 July - Silvereye

Set the funnel trap here this morning with considerable success.  I caught 95 Silvereyes with 34 new and 61 recaptures. There were 36 recaps that were banded this year, 9 last year, 4 in 2011, 7 in 2010, 1 in 2008 and the old one that was also caught last week banded in 2005.

On Tuesday I had a net up for a while until the wind got too strong.  I didn't catch a lot but did catch a Silvereye that was not one of ours (a control).  It appears that it was banded by Lindsay Rowe in Kaikoura back in Sept 2004 so, not only is it our longest distance recap and only the second to cross Cook Strait, it is also our third oldest recapture of a Silvereye. I suspect it probably arrived last week with the 100+ km wind up its tail and probably it would have taken about 1 1/2 hours to get here. The distance as the bird might have flown is just over 150 kms

This morning I also caught a bird with an unusual band number which I am still checking out.