Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A quick look at 2013

Just back from a week in Dunedin so no banding and very little birding but did get a quick look at the Tomahawk Lagoon on the Otago Peninsula. Not a lot of birds but there were 4 White Heron in a group which is unusual, especially at this time of year when they all should be at Okarito breeding. Some of the birds appeared to be adults with plumes on their back.
The 4 White Herons, the most I have ever got in a frame at once.

There will be no banding here for the rest of the year as I am off to Auckland for the next week so I thought I would have a quick look at some of the stats for 2013.The overall totals will be tallied at the end of March when the banding year officially ends but I keep calender year tallies for several of our main sites.

Wellington Zoo

We caught 549 new birds and made 164 recaptures, this is about an average number for this site which includes birds caught over the fence at the small stream. Both Greenfinch & House Sparrows were up on the average with both Starlings and Blackbirds well down.

Hornsey R

Including birds caught at Bridie's 543 new birds caught and 732 recaps. Greenfinch numbers were well up with the highest ever tally of 134 new & 85 recaps. Most of the recaps were birds either banded this year or over the last couple with very few older birds caught. Silvereye numbers were also well above average with most caught during July when there appeared to be a big increase in numbers and we caught our longest distance control with a bird from Kaikoura.

Island Bay

A another site which had about an average number of birds with 683 new and 104 recaptures. House Sparrows numbers were well up on average with both Starlings and Silvereyes well down. Silvereye numbers were lower than other sites possibly due to not having a session in July when numbers peaked.

Houghton Bay

Numbers were down from previous years with 584 new and 109 recaps. This site was badly affected by the southerly gales in early winter (this also affected the site at the Houghton Valley School where no banding was possible due to fallen trees). Silvereye and House Sparrow numbers were down but with 48 new and 14 recaptures Grey Warbler were twice as many as any previous year.

Not likely to do a lot of birding in Auckland but do hope to catch a Tui or two (or similar) 
This type of Tui is best processed with sausages near a barbie.
I hope you all have a great festive season and we will commence banding in the new year.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Hornsey Rd Round Up

I have had several banding sessions both here and down the road at Bridie's in the last few weeks, mostly with traps but also a bit of mist netting. The combined total of all sessions at both sites was 114 birds with 49 new and 65 recaptures.
Blackbird - 6 (28) a number of birds were recaptured several times. one bird recaptured twice was originally banded at Island Bay, although this is not a huge distance it is the fartherest we have had one disperse. The old Blackbird we called White Eye that was banded in Aug 04 and had been seen almost daily has not been seen for nearly a month so possibly has died.
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 4 (0)
Greenfinch - 5 (10) most of the recaps were banded at other sites mostly at the Zoo or Houghton Bay
House Sparrow - 21 (12) Juvs are starting to show up in increasing numbers. Oldest recap was banded Feb 09.
The oldest Sparrow caught recently

Silvereye - 0 (3)
Starling - 12 (12) 2 of the recaps were banded in Sept 06 and at 2638 & 2655 days from banding are starting to get near old age.
The oldest Starling now aged as 9+ but looking good.
I had hoped to have a session at one of our stream sites but with almost daily rain it hasn't been possible. Now I am off to Dunedin for most of the next week and then up to Auckland for Christmas so there will not be much done for a while.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Zoo Stream Tuesday 3 Nov

Anneke and I spent a couple of hours at the little stream over the fence from the Zoo on Tuesday afternoon. Anneke is now back in Wellington after a period on the West Coast at Hokitika and then some travel including assisting with cannon netting and banding Red Knots in the States (no I am not jealous, the green shade is a reflection off the trees)
Our catch was not a big one with 15 birds but with 8 species we did have variety. I also spent a couple of hours at the stream a couple of weeks ago, mainly to check on the net lines after a large tree had fallen across them. I managed to reorganise things and got some nets up for a while and even caught a few birds.
While some of the nets had to be moved this one was able to go over the smaller end of the tree trunk. 

The combined tallies for the 2 days were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 6 (0)
Anneke about to release her first Chaffinch

Goldfinch - 4 (0)
A couple of the Goldfinch showed a bib difference in head colour

Greenfinch - 2 (0)
Silvereye - 0 (3) 1 was banded Jan 08 so a reasonably old bird.
Song Thrush - 2 (0) this brings the number for the Zoo area to 3 for the year
Anneke checking the band on one of the Song Thrush.

Tui - 3 (1)


I received a report of a House Sparrow recovered by a Keeper at the Zoo, it was banded in Feb 07 and is our second oldest Sparrow so far. It was one of a cohort we colour banded and is the first record of one for several years. The fact that it only had 1 colour band left might be a factor in this.