Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

NZ Birds on Line

I have been privileged to be one of the NZ Birds online photographers featured in the Te Papa blog. A series of photos I did of NI Fantail at their nest from the website have been highlighted.


The female of the pair was banded but I did not manage to get the male banded. All the 11 young that they fledged were banded but I only managed to catch 1 after they fledged. It was caught 28 days after banding about 1 km away.
The female was banded  but the male wasn't.
If you wish to find out any information on a NZ bird or want to get an identification confirmed NZ Birds online http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/is a fantastic source of information.

With the current weather of strong southerly wind with rain, and the forecast for this to continue for the next few days, it is unlikely there will be much banding for a while. Although I hope I might be able to set a trap or two near the end of the week.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Island Bay 24 Nov - Mostly Sparrows

Roisin, Ros and I had a successful session at Island Bay this morning catching a total of 80 birds with 63 new and 17 recaptures. But with only 4 species there wasn't much variety andHouse Sparrows dominated the catch.  For the first time this spring/summer there were a significant number of juveniles.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 10 (4) the oldest recap was banded in June 2010
Roisin banding her first Blackbird, one of several Juv's banded.

Song Thrush - 1 (0) only our second S Thrush at this site, the other was back in 2007 a short time after we started banding there.
The Song Thrush, a recently fledged Juv.
The "thorn" pattern on the coverts which indicate a 1st year bird

Starling - 2 (0)
The 2 Starlings, adult male on left with dark eye and juvenile female on right with pale ring around eye.

House Sparrow - 52 (13) the oldest also banded in June 2010, another was banded in Blythe St, Berhampore.
Several of the Sparrows were newly fledged.

As usual we were treated to great hospitality by Marion and Ken including a great morning tea.


We missed one of the highlights of the day as after we had packed up and left Ken watched a Kereru (NZ Pigeon) drink from the sugar water bowl on the bird table. This is the first time he has seen this happen and the first time I have heard of it happening.  We will wait and see if it becomes a regular visitor or if it was a one off.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Prince of Wales Park 20 Nov - a trial run

I spent a couple of hours at the stream in the Prince of Wales Park this afternoon mostly to see if it was still a suitable site after tree felling and the effects of the winter storms. The answer to that is, despite major changes and with just one net up, I managed to catch 30 birds in the 2 hours. I also had a great many bounce or get out of the net, possibly because they were approaching the net at a steep angle.

Species caught -
Chaffinch - 6 (1)
Greenfinch - 3 (0)
Goldfinch - 6 (0)
These 2 Goldfinch were caught together and are possibly a pair

House Sparrow - 5 (0)
Starling - 4 (0)
Silvereye -2 (1)
Tui - 2 (0)
Both the recaps were banded last summer but I was particularly pleased to catch them as the site has only been in use for a year.

A Recovery

I picked up a body on the road outside the Zoo after a car accident this afternoon. The body was a Blackbird banded at the Zoo in May 2009.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Houghton Bay 14 Nov - A mixed bag

We had a banding session at the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon. I was assisted by Sarah and Chye-Mei from the Zoo who were attempting to get some more experience. Unfortunately due to my giving not very clear directions they were a bit late in arriving, but still managed to handle some birds.

We caught 34 birds of 7 species with 23 new and 11 recaptures. Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Chaffinch - 2 (1)
House Sparrow - 6 (0)

Chye-Mei taking the wing cord of one of the Sparrows

Silvereye - 10 (9) the oldest bird was banded Nov 2010
Sarah looking rather pleased with "her" Silvereye

Starling - 1 (0)
Grey Warbler - 1 (0) Heard a Shining Cuckoo (They parasitise GW nests) calling near the banding site. First one seen or heard over the 5+ years and 100's of hours spent at that site.
Fantail - 1 (0)
Tui - 2 (1) one of the new birds was  newly fledged our first for the year, the recap was banded last March as a Juv, now a well developed Male.
The recap left me with a bad case of "Tui finger"
Both the older Tui and many of the Silvereye are obviously feeding on the abundant Flax flowers

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A couple of Shining Cuckoos and some recaps

I received a message this morning from the 'Nest' (Hospital) at the Zoo that they had a couple of Shining Cuckoos in rehab which were nearly ready for release and that they would like them banded. Ten minutes later I was there with bands and pliers ready to do the deed. These are the first Cuckoos as far as I know that have been banded by the Group here in Wellington and the first that I have banded for about 30 years. Back in the 1980's the Group used to run banding sessions and workshops at Ward in Marlborough and Shining Cuckoos were occasionally caught. The site is now used regularly by Mike Bell and his team from Blenheim.

These two birds looked to be in good condition and are feeding well. They are the first the staff at the Nest have successfully rehabilitated and will probably be released in the next day or so.

PS - 10 Nov. Both birds have been released and flew off strongly.

Bridie's Friday 9 Nov.

After work on Friday evening  I set the trap at Bridie's for a while and managed to catch 10 birds. There were 2 new Blackbirds and all of the rest were recaps. 2 Blackbird, 2 Starling, 2 House Sparrow and 1 each of Silvereye and Greenfinch.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Hornsey Rd 6 Nov - a few birds

I set the funnel trap here this morning after getting back from Canterbury yesterday afternoon. Only caught 16 birds but with 5 species there was some variety and a considerable change from last week.

Blackbird - 1 (3) the oldest banded in Nov 11
Starling - 2 (4) the oldest recap was banded Nov 10
House Sparrow - 0 (1)
Greenfinch - 1 (1) the recap was banded at the Zoo in Aug 11
Silvereye - 1 (2)

Friday, 1 November 2013

Not Much Banding This Week

With work commitments and bad weather there has been only a little banding this week.

Hornsey Rd

On Tuesday I set funnel traps here for a couple of hours. Caught mostly the same birds as last week except there was a little variety. From a total of 38 birds caught only 2 were unbanded, 1 Silvereye and a Dunnock. Of the 31 Silvereye recaps most had been caught last week with a few exceptions, some not for several months and for 3 it was the first capture this year. Also recaptured were 2 sparrows, 2 Greenfinch including 1 from the Zoo, and 1 Dunnock.

Houghton Bay.

On Wednesday morning I went to the Houghton Bay stream with very poor results, caught only 4 birds in an hour so packed up and came home. Caught were 1 Sparrow, 1 Silvereye, 1 Grey Warbler and a recap. The recap was banded Jan 2012 as an adult so is now a reasonably old bird for this small, short lived species.

The Grey Warbler recap showing the red eye of an older bird

I am off to Christchurch for the next few days for a family reunion and then working so there is not likely to be much banding done next week either.