Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Zoo Tuesday 27 May - Some old birds

Ros, Angelina, and I had a busy morning at the Zoo this morning.  We were joined by Emma and Shannan from Dept. of Conservation who are making a training video on mist netting. So as well as handling a good number of birds we were part actors in their activities; hopefully the birds will play the main roles.

We caught 40 birds of 5 species with 28 new and 12 recaptures. The highlight (other than Angelina's delicious cake) would have to be catching 3 birds over 5 years from banding. A Silvereye at 1844 days (just made it) another at 2568 days and a Starling at 2236 days from banding.
Angelina and Ros enjoying cake and coffee (the camera man was also well provided for)
The Zoo Café make great coffee

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 3 (1) the recap was banded July 2011
Greenfinch - 0 (1) it was banded Nov 2011
House Sparrow - 10 (3)
Silvereye - 15 (6) The oldest recap banded June 2007 and another May 2009
Three of the Silvereyes about to be released

The oldest bird of the day, still looking fit for a few more years hopefully.
Starling - 0 (1) banded April 2008, we ave only caught 3 Starling at the Zoo this year all have been recaps and reasonably old birds.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Zoo Saturday 24 May - a wet and windy day

With strong winds and heavy rain the start of our Zoo session was postponed this morning. Later the weather improved so we put 3 nets up in the more sheltered positions. After an hour or so the weather again deteriorated so the nets came down and we packed up.

We did manage to catch 19 birds of 5 species in that time with 15 new and 4 recaps. Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Greenfinch - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 5 (1)
Silvereye - 6 (3) the oldest banded June 2011
Rory (on right) and his mate Felix about to release 2 of the Silvereye
With the wind and rain expected to continue for the next few days we will probably try again on Tuesday which is supposed to be a better day for banding.


Monday, 19 May 2014

Island Bay Saturday 19 May - a Ton of Sparrows

Annette and I had a session at our Island Bay site this morning.  The place is absolutely teaming with House Sparrows but there are very few other species about. This is probably due to the mild weather and the abundance of natural food at the moment.

We caught 110 new Sparrows and 8 recaps with the only other bird being a Blackbird.

This female Sparrow had several white feathers on the right wing (top) but only partially white on left

Almost all birds caught have completed primary wing moult, with only 6 still to finish.

Although finished their moult there is still big variations in plumage. The bird on the top in the top photo is the one on the right in the bottom one.

This male although in good condition has a very long bottom bill.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Karori Cemetery 17 May - a bit of variety

We had a session at the Karori Cemetery this morning and there was a good group of banders and helpers. Love our banding friend from Sweden was back for a last bit of banding before heading home next week. His flat mate Franziska helped as our scribe. Rory a very keen and knowledgeable lad came for the first time, and his mother and sister also spent some time with us when not away at netball. Ros and David, a couple of regular experienced banders, rounded out the team.

After a cold start the day warmed up with little wind but a bit too much sun on some of the nets. After the cold southerly earlier in the week no one was complaining. We caught 24 birds of 6 species with 22 new and 2 recaps.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 8 (1) the recap was banded a couple of weeks ago
Love showing Rory how to hold a Blackbird, his first bird handling.

Rory about to release his first bird.
House Sparrow - 1 (0)
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 7 (1) the recap was also banded a couple of weeks ago.
Eastern Rosella - 2 (0) a presumed pair.

The 2 Rosella, male left with a bill width of 11.8 mm, female right bill width 10.1 mm
Tui - 3 (0)
A 7th species, a banded Chaffinch made its escape before being processed.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Karori Cemetery 3 May - Blackbirds & Tui

A group of us gathered at the Karori Cemetery this morning.  The first couple of hours were a bit frustrating as despite a good forecast we had periods of misty drizzle. Consequently the nets were slow in being erected but despite this we still had a reasonable catch of 14 birds.
Katherine banding a Tui with the sharp bits controlled by Dave and Otis keeping an eye on progress.
Most were Blackbirds with 9 new and a recap.  The recap was the same one we caught a couple of weeks ago and it still holds the record for the oldest bird recaptured at this site now extended by 12 days.
One new Silvereye was caught and 3 Tui. The first Tui caught was in heavy moult in all areas - the first one caught moulting this year. By the notch in P8 it was judged to be a bird in its first year.
The Tui wing showing P7 growing and P8 with a small notch
Yesterday I retrieved a dead banded Tui from the road, probably the result of being hit by a car. It had been banded in Nov 2012 as a first year so would now be aged as a 4. The bird was in pristine condition having just completed its moult so I took the opportunity to take a photo of the wing to show the development of the notch of a known aged bird.
The wing of the dead bird showing the bigger notch of an adult.