Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Centennial Park, Miramar Sat 28 March - A new site

Joakim, Henk and I went to a small stream in Centennial Park in Miramar this morning. This is the place where the remains of 25+ birds have been found in the last few months, most if not all, were the victims of a domestic cat. Among them were at least 21 Tui as well as Blackbird, Song Thrush and Kingfisher.  All these are larger birds so it's anybodies guess as to how many smaller birds have been munched.
Joakim is the spokesperson for the restoration project for the park. www.temotukairangi.co.nz
Henk with the first birds caught.

Joakim photographing Henk with the first bird banded.

The site has very good potential but we have left it a bit late in the summer to really get a big catch. Nineteen birds were caught and all, not surprisingly, were new. 1 Fantail, 3 Grey Warbler and 15 Silvereye.
Almost half the Silvereye were caught together. The foliage in the background gives an idea of how a cat can ambush bathing birds. This little stream is probably the only available water in the area in a dry summer.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Houghton Bay 25 March - pretty quiet

Ros, Andrea (scribe) George and I spent a pretty quiet couple of hours at the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon. After a little rain overnight I hadn't expected a lot of birds and this proved to be the case. We caught 16 birds of 3 species, 14 new and a couple of recaps.
13 new Silvereye and 1 recap.
One of the Silvereyes had a nasty looking cyst on its wing but it still appeared to be doing OK. Just about finished its moult and weighed in at 12.6g which is about average.
1 new Tui.
1 recap Fantail, the first recaptured there this year.
George (holding the Fantail) with three of the school kids that joined us for a period . Pity we didn't have more birds to show them.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Zoo Saturday 21 March

We had a reasonably successful session at the Zoo on Saturday. The conditions were good in the morning but bright sun and a strong northerly affected most of the nets later in the day. A small turn out of banders meant that we erected only 5 nets instead of the usual 8-10 and we were slower to get them up. However we still managed to catch  63 birds of 7 species with 53 new and 10 recaps. Most of the recaps had been banded in the last few months.
The team at work - George, Andrea (our scribe for the day) and Kat. We also had Sarah, Kyle and little Finn for a while but they couldn't stay long as Finn needed his nap.
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 3 (1)
House Sparrow - 32 (5)
Almost all the Sparrows were still in moult. This one was doing it in a strange order
Goldfinch - 6 (1)
Greenfinch - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 2 (2)
Silvereye - 7 (1) the recap was the oldest bird of the day banded May 2012


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Houghton Bay Tuesday 10 March - More Silvereyes.

Ros, George and I had another reasonably busy day at the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon. We caught 79 birds of 5 species. As was the case last week the catch was dominated by new Silvereyes with 60 but we did manage to make 3 recaptures, all recently banded Silvereyes. Other species caught were - 8 Greenfinch, 3 Chaffinch, 4 House Sparrows and a solitary Fantail (the first bird caught).
George and Ros busy at the banding table

With the high percentage of new Silvereyes being caught I wonder if there is just a big population in the area or if there is a turnover of birds. I have had reports of large flocks of Silvereye and other small passerines in parts of the east coast of the South Island. With the current drought conditions in that area I wonder if birds are moving north? Unfortunately there is very little banding going on in that area so we are unlikely to find out.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Houghton Bay Wednesday 4 March

Andrea, George, Mary and I had a busy 3 hours or so at the Houghton Bay stream this morning. We caught 80 birds of 7 species all of which were new. It is a bit surprising and perhaps disappointing that none of the 5000+ birds banded at this site in the last few years were recaptured today. This was at least partly due to the fact the the majority of birds caught were young ones.

We caught 7 Greenfinch, 5 Chaffinch, 1 Dunnock, 2 House Sparrows, 56 Silvereye, 1 Tui and 8 Grey Warbler.
Although the majority of all species were juveniles the Grey Warbler on the right has the reddish eye of an older bird.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Zoo Stream Tuesday 3 March

I have been in Auckland for the last week so, no banding. Managed a couple of hours at the stream over the fence from the Zoo this afternoon. Caught 23 birds of 7 species with 17 new and 6 recaps.
Birds caught were -
Blackbird - 2 (0)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
The Dunnock while not moulting its primaries was moulting its secondaries
Chaffinch - 4 (4) The oldest was banded in March 2013, another was banded in Houghton Bay and another at our Island Bay site.
All the Chaffinch recaps were males, this one was the oldest

A couple of the Chaffinch and most of the Silvereyes were about halfway through their moult.
Greenfinch - 1 (1)
Silvereye - 7 (0)
Grey Warbler - 2 (0)
Fantail - 1 (0) A feature of the afternoon was the number of Fantail that I didn't catch, there were 5-6 birds flitting about most of the time.