Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Friday, 31 October 2014

Zoo - Friday 31 October

Henk and I put some nets up at the opposite end of the Zoo from our usual site. This was basically an experiment to see what was there. We were joined by Phil and Joakim two of the bird keepers. The catch of 16 birds of 6 species was a bit below what I had hoped for. There were two possible reasons for the lower catch in that a couple of the nets were badly affected by the wind which got up mid morning and bad placement of the nets. Almost all of the birds were caught in 2 nets while a double 12 m caught nothing and I thought that would be the main catching net.
There were 13 new birds and 3 recaps all of which were relatively new Zoo banded birds. Species caught were-
Blackbird - 3 (0)
House Sparrow 2 (0)
Henk taking the wing measurement of 1 of the Sparrows
Dunnock - 3 (0)
Greenfinch - 3 (2)
Phil with one of the Greenfinch
Silvereye - 1 (1)
Tui - 1 (0)
Henk with his Tui

Hornsey Rd - Thu 30 Oct

Yesterday morning I again set the funnel trap  here and also put up a couple of nets for a while. Caught 25 birds of 5 species with all but 3 being recaps. 
Blackbird - 2 (4)
Chaffinch - 0 (1) a bird banded at the Zoo in Dec 2010
Dunnock - 1 (2)
House Sparrow 0 (1)
Silvereye - 0 (14) 4 of the recaps were over 5 years since being banded, 2 banded in 2009, 1 in 2008 and the 2005 bird caught a few days ago.  Surprisingly for the 09 & 08 birds this was the first time they had been caught this year. Hopefully there might be some more old birds out there to be caught.

Monday, 27 October 2014

A couple of banding sessions - Sunday 26 Oct

We had a couple of banding sessions yesterday, Sunday 26 Oct. Didn't catch a lot of birds but there was at least one of interest.

Hornsey Rd

I set the funnel trap here in the morning, caught only 14 birds before I had to close it for other duties. Only 1 bird, a Blackbird, was unbanded. Recaps were 4 Blackbird, the oldest banded Nov 2010 and 9 Silvereyes. The oldest Silvereye was banded 11 Feb 2005 and is the fourth oldest we have recaptured. The four oldest now are - 
A-135040 banded 22 May 1997 last recaptured 3 Nov 2007 at 3817 days
A-134907 banded 2 April 1996 last recaptured 26 June 2006 at 3737 days
A-154943 banded 13 June 2003 last recaptured 11 July 2013 at 3681 days
and yesterday's bird
A-161829 banded 11 Feb 2005 last recaptured 26 Oct 2014 at 3544 days.
This is the first time it had been caught this year, so hopefully we will catch it again next year and it can move up the chart.

Prince of Wales Park

In the afternoon Michelle, Matu and I spent a couple of hours at the stream in Prince of Wales Park. Matu had just come back from banding 2 Saddleback chicks. These are probable the first ever banded on the New Zealand mainland outside a fenced predator proof sanctuary. Unfortunately he was wearing his Zealandia hat at the time so the Group can't claim this first. Matu and one of the chicks made the page 3 feature in this (Monday) morning's Dominion Post. Not however the usual Page 3 pinup!
We caught 14 birds, all new of 5 species, 4 Chaffinch, 1 Greenfinch, 6 Goldfinch, 1 House Sparrow and 2 Silvereye. Michelle hadn't actually banded any birds before so we took the opportunity of the leisurely catch rate for her to get some experience. She proved to be a quick learner and with a bit more practice will be very competent.
Michelle preparing to band her first Silvereye

And banding her first Greenfinch, the last bird of the day.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Congratulations Kate

This afternoon (Sunday 19 Oct) I had the privilege to attend the Pride Award Ceremony which is to acknowledge the achievements of some of Wellington's younger folk. Our very own Kate was awarded the junior award in the Conservation and Environment category. Well done Kate!

Kate has been banding with us for the last 5 years or so and has developed into not only a very competent bander and bird handler but now has a very extensive knowledge of New Zealand's fauna and flora. The award was given in part for her bird banding skills as well as her general conservation ethics.

Kate Sept 2012

Kate June 2014

Zoo Saturday 18 Oct - We did the Ton

We had a very successful banding session at the Wellington Zoo on Saturday capturing over 100 birds. After a dire forecast earlier in the week the weather was kind with a light northerly wind, overcast in the morning and then sunny and hot in the afternoon. There was a good turn out of people including a good number of experienced banders which was fortunate as at times there were large numbers of birds to deal with. The team had a bit of an international flavour with a bander from Mexico and another from the UK. Both were keen enthusiastic young men.

The final tally of birds was 104 with 83 new and 23 recaptures. Included in the 11 species was a new one for the Zoo, an Eastern Rosella. This was not entirely unexpected as numbers appear to have been increasing around the Zoo area over the last couple of years.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 2 (1)
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
Greenfinch - 14 (4) the oldest bird was banded Oct 2010, it and another were banded at Hornsey Rd
The oldest Greenfinch about to be released
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Goldfinch - 31 (2) One of the recaps was banded at Houghton Bay. This is the highest number we have ever caught at the Zoo in one day, with most being caught at the small stream over the fence when the sun came out mid afternoon.
House Sparrow - 19 (11) the oldest recap was banded June 2011 and another was banded at our Island Bay site.
A house Sparrow giving Mary a farewell peck - photo taken with delight by Ross, (Mary's husband)
Starling - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 2 (0)
Silvereye - 7 (5) not a big number but better than the zero tally of last month. The oldest recap was banded in May 2009
Grey Warbler - 1 (0)
Tui - 2 (1) the recap was banded Sept 2011
Kat with her first Tui.
Eastern Rosella - 1 (0) the first caught at the Zoo, at least another 2 bounced out of nets.
The first Eastern Rosella banded at the Zoo. Extracted and banded by Ben from the UK without loosing any fingers or much blood.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hornsey Rd & Houghton Bay Tuesday 14 Oct.

I set the funnel trap here this morning and had a mist netting session this afternoon at the Houghton Bay Stream. There was a big difference between the two sessions.

Hornsey Rd

Twenty one birds of 4 species were caught with 3 new birds and 18 recaptures. Two Blackbirds were recaptured and 1 new Dunnock, 1 new Starling, 1 new Silvereye and 16 recaps. The oldest 2 Silvereye recaps were banded together on 9 Sept 2010 and they were caught together again this morning. In the intervening 4+ years neither bird has been recaptured, perhaps they have something going on or perhaps they are just good friends.

Houghton Bay

A bit more variety was caught this afternoon with 31 birds of  7 species. I had a pretty busy time for the first hour or so until reinforcements arrived in the form of Kate and Mary, but then the flow of birds dropped to a trickle.  New birds caught were - Blackbird 1, Chaffinch 2, Goldfinch 3, Greenfinch 3, House Sparrow 4, Grey Warbler 1 and Silvereye 16. A Blackbird was the only recapture.
Kate banding a Silvereye under Mary's watchful gaze.

This bird is about an average weight but a number of the Silvereye caught especially this morning were on the light side. With many only just over 10 g and the lightest under  10 g

Colour Banded Tui

Yesterday I received a report together with a photo of a colour banded Tui seen at a sugar water feeder in Karori. The bird was banded at the Karori Cemetery on 27 June 2009 as a juvenile. Amazingly, although presumably living in the area for the last 5+ years, this is the first report of it. This site has also had another colour banded Tui there earlier this year except that one came from Island Bay which is in the opposite direction.
The colour banded Tui - image © D Shuker

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Hornsey Rd Wed 1 Oct - a few Silvereyes are back

I set the trap here at my place on Wednesday morning and also down the road at Bridie's in the afternoon. Didn't catch a lot of birds but did catch the first Silvereyes for a couple of months.
Combined numbers for both sites -
Blackbird - 0 (1) a bird banded on 9 Oct 2009 so 8 days from 5 years.
Greenfinch - 1 (2) 1 of the recaps banded at the Zoo Nov 2011
House Sparrow - 0 (1)
Starling - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 3 (5) the oldest recap was banded Aug 2010.

I am off down south for a bit of a trip so unlikely to be any banding or posts for a week or so.