Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Island Bay Sat 26 Oct - Sparrows

We had a reasonable session at Island Bay this morning with ideal conditions for the first couple of hours and then the northerly picked up to near gale force. I had a good group of banders to help me with Angelina & Sarah from the Zoo, Kate with her parents Mary & Ross, a new member Katriona. We managed to catch 66 birds of 5 species with 48 new and 18 recaptures.
Kate getting some assistance from Ross with an unruly Sparrow

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 2 (2) the oldest recap was banded Aug 2009.
Dunnock - 1 (2)
Chaffinch - 4 (0) all males.
Comparing the moult limits on 3 of the Chaffinch's wings.

Silvereye - 5 (1)
House Sparrow - 36 (13) all the recaps were banded in the last couple of years with the only stranger of the day one that was banded at the Houghton Bay Stream.
Angelina observing (or laughing at?)Sarah removing a Sparrow from the net
We also had a Falcon hit the net and bounce while it was trying to take one of "our" Sparrows.

As is usual we had great hospitality from our hosts, Marion and Ken including a tasty spread and hot drinks.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Houghton Bay 23 Oct. _ A couple of old birds

I spent a bit of time at the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon but I didn't expect to catch much as I had a look a few days ago and there appeared to be very few birds about. However I was wrong and I had a steady stream of birds into the nets. Caught 48 of 8 species with 38 new and 10 recaptures.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 2 (2) the oldest recap was banded Jan 2011 as an unsexed juvenile, now a handsome male.
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 14 (0) a high number for this site.
Silvereye - 18 (7) 1 of the recaps was banded on 21 Jan 2008. Our first banding session at this site was 19 Jan 2008 and this bird is now at 2102 days our oldest Silvereye recapture there, (2 days short of the maximum). It was also the oldest bird of any species there for about 30 minutes, and then along came a Starling.
Starling - 0 (1) This bird was banded on 20 Jan 2008, the day before the Silvereye so at 2103 days not only our oldest Starling at this site but the oldest bird of any species recaptured there.
Grey Warbler - 1 (0)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hornsey Rd 22 Oct - Silvereyes are Back

I have noticed that Silvereyes numbers have been increasing this last week after an almost complete absence since late July. This morning I set the funnel trap and caught 39 with 8 being new birds and 31 recaptures. Of the recaps 8 had been banded this year, 8 in 2012, 8 in 2011, 2 in 2010, 2 in 2009, 1 in 2008 and 2 in 2007 so a good range of ages. One of the 07 birds was 1 of the cohort of 100 we colour banded that year and appears to be the sole survivor, being the only one we have caught in the last couple of years, but I keep hoping more will turn up.
Possibly the last survivor of the colourful 100

Friday, 18 October 2013

An old Tui tracked down

I received a message yesterday about a colour banded Tui that had been seen and photographed in a Karori garden. Unfortunately one of the colour bands was missing with the bands being B/R-?/M.

This narrowed the possibilities down to the bird being one of six banded Tui. As two had been reported dead we were down to four possibilities. Michael, who had reported the bird, was able to identify some of the digits on the metal band including the prefix which was D, so this narrowed the search down to two possibilities. He was then able to identify a sequence of 3 digits being 811 so the band had to be D-181101 not D-185201.
This was a male banded at the Karori Plunket Rooms, Karori Rd on 25 May 2003 and is now at 3797 days from banding our oldest reported Tui. A special thanks to Michael who did some great detective work to identify this bird. Some more of his great photos can be seen on -  

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Back from my travels - reporting some recoveries

We have returned back to windy Wellington after our trip around Australia. I gather while we were away the city lived up to its reputation. Hopefully now I am home we will have some calmer weather suitable for mist netting.

Although I had promised that it was not going to be a birding trip I still managed to see some interesting birds, but was disappointed with the number of sea birds seen during our 17 days at sea. The most interesting ones being numerous flocks of white "sea" birds with black wings and tails flying rapidly just above the water. After scouring all the seabird pages of my reference book to no avail I came to the conclusion that they were actually pigeons making the journey from offshore islands to the mainland.
Torres Strait Pigeons skimming the waves

The nearest I came to any banding was to see an Australian Wood Duck sporting a band.
Banded Australian Wood Duck

While I was away we received recovery reports of 4 banded birds that had met their demise.
A silvereye recently banded at the Zoo was killed by a cat in a nearby street.
A starling banded at Bridie's on Hornsey Rd in Nov 2012 was recovered in the Lion enclosure at the Zoo.
A Dunnock banded at the Zoo, also in Nov 2012, was found dead in the Giraffe enclosure.
A colour banded Tui was found dead in Northland (a Wellington suburb), it had been banded at the Karori Cemetery in April 2008.

With favourable weather I hope to get some banding done in the next week or so.