Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Houghton Bay Saturday 31 Jan.

We had a session at the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon. It was reasonably successful with 65 birds caught of 9 species = 57 new and 8 recaps.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Goldfinch - 5 (0)
Greenfinch - 8 (1) The recap was banded Sept 2012.
House Sparrow - 13 (1)
Silvereye - 25 (6) the oldest recap was banded Aug 2011
Tui - 1 (0)
Fantail - 2 (0)
Grey Warbler - 1 (0)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Zoo Stream Tuesday 27 Jan - some wandering birds

A group of us spent this morning at the stream site over the fence from the Zoo. Numbers were down on recent sessions but we still had a reasonably successful morning. Caught 26 birds of 8 species with 21 new and 5 recaps.
Most of the group with a few visitors (Ross was away on a coffee run)
As was the case with our previous session at this site we had Kereru come down, possibly 2 birds and although a net was hit twice neither stuck.
One of the Kereru perched just above the banding table - photo taken by Rory
Species caught were -
Blackbird - 6 (1)
Chaffinch - 3 (2) 1 of the recaps had been banded at the Houghton Bay site 2 weeks ago and the other at Island Bay 1 week ago.
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
Goldfinch - 4 (2) the oldest recap was banded at Houghton Bay in March 2013.
House Sparrow - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 2 (0) the first and last birds caught.
Tui - 2 (0)
Kate weighing one of the Tui - photo by Ross
One of the Tui was a newly fledged male.
Fantail - 2 (0)

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Prince of Wales Park Sunday 25 Jan.

I had a session at the Prince of Wales Park this afternoon. Unfortunately it clashed with an Ornithological Study Course and other activities such as a wedding and Prion feeding so I was the only bander. Fortunately I was assisted by  3 enthusiastic young assistants, Rory and George who have been to session before and Maddie who was out walking with her father and younger brother. She became interested in our activities and stayed and joined in.
The three assistants (Rory, George & Maddie) preparing to release birds

And they are gone.
We had fewer nets up than usual but still managed to catch 38 birds. Most were House Sparrows with 30 new and 2 recaps. Both the recaps were banded on 2 Feb 2013. Other birds were 3 Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinch and 1 Silvereye - all new.
Maddie's father is a local brewer and has birds feeding on grain spilt around the brewery and invited us to try and catch them. Somehow the idea of catching birds at a brewery seems to appeal.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Houghton Bay Friday 23 Jan

Bridget and I had a session at the Houghton Bay stream this morning and we were joined by George, a keen and knowledgeable lad, along with his mother. Numbers were down on the recent high tallies but we still managed to catch 43 of 7 species, 39 new and 4 recaps. A noticeable trend is the increasing percentage of birds that have commenced their moult.
A House Sparrow and a Silvereye both just started their moult
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Chaffinch - 2 (1)
Greenfinch - 4 (1)
A juvenile  (left) and an adult Greenfinch
Goldfinch - 2 (0)
House Sparrow - 8 (0)
Silvereye - 19 (2) the oldest recap was banded Nov 2010
Fantail - 2 (0)
Bridget preparing to band a Fantail

George preparing to release a Fantail

And with a flick of its tail it's off.

Grey Warbler - 1 (0) numbers seem to be down this year
Tui - 1 (0)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Island Bay Tuesday 20 Jan - more H Sparrows

Annette, Mary, Kate, Sarah V H and I had a successful session at our Island Bay site this morning. We had very good conditions and as usual great hospitality from our hosts Marion and Ken.
Three of the team at work. Kate about to release a Blackbird while Annette explains some banding  details to our scribe Mary.
We caught 140 birds of  7 species with 121 new and 19 recaps. This is very similar to the December session when we caught 140 with 123 new and 17 recaps but there was a bigger variety today. We didn't catch any Tui, in fact we didn't even see any, just heard a couple. Last month we caught 7 and saw probably 30.

Species caught this morning were - (Recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 13 (2) all the new birds were juveniles and 1 of the recaps was banded in August 2009 so a reasonably old bird.
Chaffinch - 9 (0) mostly juveniles.
Dunnock - 5 (0) all juveniles.
House Sparrow - 87 (17) The usual dominant species at this site. The oldest recap was banded in Oct 2010. A few of the birds had started moult.
Starling - 4 (0) 3 out of the 4 were in primary wing moult.
A moulting juvenile Starling.

A moulting adult starling.
Silvereye - 2 (0)
Fantail - 1 (0)

Friday, 16 January 2015

Zoo Stream Friday 16 Jan - A little quieter

We had a session at the stream just outside the Zoo this morning and although a bit quieter than the last couple of sessions we still had a steady flow of birds. The final total was 56 birds of 7 species with 47 new and 9 recaps.
Most of the team at work - Luke, Kate, Henk and Bridget.

A highlight of the morning was a bird we didn't catch, a Kereru (NZ Pigeon) which came down to drink. Fortunately it flew out over our heads and away from the nets as we haven't a permit to band them and it probably would have flown straight through the net anyway. This is the first one I have seen at this site.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 4 (0)
Kate with one of the juvenile Blackbirds - 3 were juvs and the other a 1 year old.
Chaffinch - 6 (1) the recap was banded 4 years and 1 day ago on 15 Jan 2011 as an unsexed juvenile at the same net site. This was it's first recapture.
The wing of the 4yr old Chaffinch (top) compared to a juvenile one (bottom)
Greenfinch - 4 (0)
Goldfinch - 13 (2)
House Sparrow 2 (0) Henk also reported the recovery of a H Sparrow found dead. It was banded in Feb 2010 just a couple of weeks short of 5 years.
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Silvereye - 18 (5) the oldest recap was banded June 2011, subsequently recaptured at Houghton Bay and is now back at the Zoo.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Houghton Bay Wed. 14 Jan. - over the ton of birds.

A group of us had an extremely successful session on Wednesday afternoon catching 124 birds. There were 9 species with 100 new and 24 recaptures.
Most of the group during one of the quieter periods

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 3 (0)
Greenfinch - 6 (2)
Chaffinch - 7 (0)
Goldfinch - 5 (2)
House Sparrow - 10 (0)
Silvereye - 61 (20) The oldest recap was banded almost exactly 8 years ago on 21 Jan 2008, which was our second session at this site (the first was on 19 Jan 2008). This bird is now 2550 days from banding - our oldest bird banded and recaptured at this site.
A silvereye tail with several growth bars - the bottom one probably qualifies as a fault bar
Tui - 2 (0) one was a newly fledged male still to grow it's white throat tufts.
Fantail - 5 (0) all were juveniles.
Sarah J looking rather pleased after banding her first Fantail.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Prince of Wales Park Sunday 11 Jan - Heaps of birds.

Ros, Ross and I had a very successful session on Sunday afternoon at the stream in the Prince of Wales Park. We caught 85 birds of 10 species, all were new (we did make 1 recapture but it turned out to be a bird from earlier in the day). This is the highest daily total at this site and the catch was dominated by 2 species - House Sparrow 35, which is almost double the previous highest at this site, and Goldfinch 29. Other species caught were - Chaffinch 3, Greenfinch 6, Silvereye 5, Tui 3 and 1 each of Yellowhammer, Blackbird, Starling and Dunnock.
Ros and Ross at the banding station which was a handy grassy bank.

A fist full of birds in bags.

Ross showing a delighted and delightful small girl and her mother a bird close up. 

Friday, 9 January 2015

Zoo Stream Friday 9 Jan - First banding for 2015

Ross and I had a very successful session at the stream over the fence from the Zoo this afternoon. The stream at the moment is actually just a series of small puddles but birds find them enticing. We caught a total of 69 birds of 9 species with 59 new and 10 recaps. Surprisingly several birds were found to have already started primary moult.
The first bird caught in 2015 - a Greenfinch recap.
Species caught were - (Recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 3 (0)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 12 (1) the recap was banded at the Prince of Wales Park in March 2013 and is now the oldest recaptured bird banded there.
One of the Chaffinch had started to moult its primaries.
Goldfinch - 14 (1)
Greenfinch - 10 (4) One of the recaps originally banded in Dec 2009 is the oldest Greenfinch we have recaptured in the last couple of years.

We caught our first juvenile Greenfinch for the summer - Juvenile on right compared to adult on left
House Sparrow - 1 (1)
Silvereye - 14 (3) The oldest recap was banded in July 2008 so is a reasonably old bird. Interestingly although banded at the Zoo this is the first time it has been recaptured.

Several of the Silvereye had also started their moult.
Grey Warbler - 1 (0)
Fantail - 3 (0)