Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Mt Albert Wednesday 26 Feb - Heaps of Silvereyes

I had a very successful morning at the Mt Albert fennel patch, caught 64 birds all except 2 were Silvereyes. The only bycatch were a Dunnock and a Grey Warbler. Only 2 of the Silvereye were already banded with 1 from the Zoo banded Oct 2011, and the other banded a week or so ago when I had a net up while cutting net lanes. The morning started off  relatively quiet and then a 9 m net caught a flock of over 30 birds. This is the biggest mornings's total at this site
Part of the "big catch" in the 9 m net

Almost all the birds were aged as 1st year with only 2 positively aged as older. The Zoo banded recap and the Grey Warbler which had the red eyes of an adult.
Several Silvereye had growth bars across their tail making aging as 1st year easy

This bird had a rather nasty looking growth under its bill.

When the sun rose above the ridge the noise from the cicadas was deafening especially when one used my shoulder to give out his raspy song. Fortunately I had the nets down before they started to fly very much as they are a devil to get out of nets, having to be dismembered piece by piece.
Cicada using a net pole as a singing post

Fortunately this was the only one to fly into any net -  the last net as I was taking it down.
Sorry the photo is out of focus but you can get the idea.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Island Bay Monday 17 Feb - Heaps of Sparrows

Annette and I had a busy time at our Island Bay site this morning. I had hoped to get a few more people along but no such luck. We only caught 5 species and the catch was dominated, as is usual at this site, by House Sparrows. Although we caught 90 birds there was only 1 recapture, and this was partly due to the vast majority of birds being juveniles.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 4
All the Blackbirds were juveniles and were a very motley lot with their partly moulted body feathers 

Dunnock - 8
Chaffinch - 7
Tui - 2
House Sparrow - 68 (1) the recap was banded Dec 2010 so a reasonably old bird
Most of the Sparrows were in primary moult with this one doing it a bit differently and not moulting in sequence.

The recap had an unusual pattern  on her lesser coverts.
Juvenile males were at various stages of moult with the one on the left nearly finished while the right one is just starting.
Others had not started and had only fledged a short time ago.

As usual we had great hospitality from our host Marion and Ken with a fine feast to keep us going. This was much appreciated especially as they had had a very busy weekend with their involvement at the Island Bay fair.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Houghton Bay Sunday 16 Feb. - lots of Juv Goldfinch

Kate, Ross, Sarah, Kyle and I had a reasonable afternoon's banding at the Houghton Bay stream today. We caught 37 birds of 9 species with 33 new and 4 recaptures. There was a surprising lack of Silvereye but the most Goldfinch ever caught at this site in a day.

Species caught - (recaps in brackets)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Kate measuring the wing of the only Dunnock
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Greenfinch - 5 (1)
Goldfinch - 16 (1) all except one (including the recap) were juveniles
One of the Juvenile Goldfinch
House Sparrow - 1 (0) the last bird of the day and a big drop from recent sessions.
Silvereye - 4 (2) the oldest recap banded June 2011
Fantail - 2 (0)
Grey Warbler - 2 (0)
Tui - 1 (0)

Friday, 7 February 2014

No banding but a few recovery reports

With the heavy rain this afternoon the banding session at Houghton Bay tomorrow has been cancelled and it will probably be a few days before it clears enough for a session, especially at our stream sites.

We have had a few recoveries reported recently, but none of them had moved very far from their banding site -
A Blackbird banded at Melrose Park in Oct 09 was found dead in the Zoo in Dec 2013.
Another Blackbird which was banded at Newtown Park on the other side of the Zoo was found dead near the Giraffe enclosure within the Zoo on 24 Jan.
A House Sparrow that was banded 20 Nov 2013 at Prince of Wales Park was found dead nearby a couple of weeks later. This is the first recovery report from this site.
A house Sparrow that was banded at Bridie's on Hornsey Rd in Dec 10 and recaptured at the Zoo in March 13 was found dead on Russell Tce. So although not big distances it had still moved around quite a bit.
Yesterday I picked up a banded Sparrow on Houghton Bay Rd.  It was one of a few juveniles that I banded at my place a couple of weeks ago, so hadn't survived long.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Houghton Bay 1 Feb - another slowish session

We had a session at the Houghton Bay stream this morning and, as it was at the Zoo stream yesterday, birds were again in low numbers. There was a great turnout of banders with Sarah (the Te Papa one), her partner Kyle and a friend Jim as well as Roisin, Kate and Ross with Neil and Lee joining us later. Despite the lack of birds I think we all had an enjoyable time.

We caught a total of 26 birds of 8 species with all but 1 being new and almost all were juveniles.
Species caught were -
Greenfinch - 6 (0)
Chaffinch - 4 (0)
Goldfinch - 5 (0)
Two Juv Goldfinch were caught together, the one on the right was assessed as a male, the left one female by the amount of white on the tail as well as the nasal hairs.
Silvereye - 2 (1) an extremely low catch for this site. The recap was banded up the valley at the Houghton Valley School in July 2010
The recap Silvereye, now aged as a 5+, a reasonably old bird.
House Sparrow - 5 (0)
Grey Warbler - 1 (0) this bird was processed by Ross, his first Grey Warbler. He has been banding for a long time, and with our group for the last 5 years.  He looked like the cat that had swallowed the Canary when he brought it back.

Fantail - 1 (0)
Roisin banding her first Fantail
Tui - 1 (0)
The Tui, a juvenile by the look of it's neck tuft about a month after fledging.