Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Queenstown - The last session for the year

No banding today but I had nets up yesterday morning and managed to catch 28 birds of 6 species. Fourteen were new and fourteen recaps. Amongst those caught were several starting to moult their primary wing feathers which was a bit of a surprise.

Birds caught were -
Blackbird - 0 (1) this bird was banded on the third day banding here and was the oldest bird recaptured for about an hour.
Song Thrush - 1 (0) a bird starting to moult.
The Thrush was moulting the right wing out of the usual order, although the left was in the ususl sequence.
Chaffinch - 3 (1)
Redpoll - 0 (1) a female banded as an unsexed juvenile back at the begining of March, now starting to moult, but still surprisingly has a prominant brood patch.
The Redpolls moulting right wing.
House Sparrow - 9 (11) a number of juveniles starting to moult but no older birds. One of the recaps was banded on the first day of banding here and is now the oldest bird recaptured here.
One of the moulting H Sparrows
Tui - 0 (1)
Califoronian Quail - 1 (0) the third banded here and the first male.

The male Cal Quail - a real handsome dude.

I wish you all the best for the new year. For me 2016 has been an interesting and enjoyable year and I look forward to 2017.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Queenstown - Sparrows by the dozen

I have had several banding attempts over the last few days with some success, mostly with Sparrows. On Monday I had nets up for the morning and caught 62 birds which is the highest total for a day. As expected at this net site the majority were Juv House Sparrows. On Tuesday it was a bit windy for nets but I did catch some birds in the neighbours hen house, again mostly Sparrows but also a couple of Blackbird recaps. Both were interesting. One had held the record for the oldest bird caught here, it still holds it but now by a few more days. The other was one of the pulus I banded a couple of months ago. Great to know it has survived at least for this period. Yesterday I had nets up for an hour or so until the wind got too strong, but still manged 16 birds.

The combined totals for the 3 days was -
Blackbird - 1 (6)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 49 (20)Mostly juveniles but there were a number of older birds.
This juvenile Sparrow was in the process of renewing some of its tail feathers

A number of Sparrows have very prominent fault/growth bars on their tails.

A few of the juvenile male Sparrows are starting to show their "true colours"
Goldfinch - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 3 (3)
Starling - 1 (0)
The Starling, the first caught for a while was sexed as a female by its white eye ring.
Bellbird - 1 (0)
I think the Bellbird was a year old bird due to eye colour but not 100% sure.
Tui - 1 (1)
I was hoping to have caught some fledgling Bellbird or/and Tui by now but all those caught were older birds, mostly old boys.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Queenstown - a few more birds

I put up a couple of nets this morning in a differant site than usual, mainly to get away from Sparrows for a change and to try for a few differant birds. Only caught 9 birds but some were interesing.

Birds caught were - a new Dunnock and a recently banded one, two new Chaffinch and a Song Thrush. Three Blackbird recaps, one was banded a few months ago, but DP-6306 was banded as an adult male on the third day banding here and at 656 days from banding is not only the oldest Blackbird but the oldest of any species recaptured. Caught at the same time was DP-6309, a female which had been banded the following day and is now the oldest female BB and the second oldest of any species.

The final bird caught was a bit of a surprise, a banded Redpoll which had been banded back in February as an unsexed juvenile. It is now clearly identifiable as a male although differently coloured than normal. This bird is now the oldest Redpoll recaptured beating the old record by a couple of hundred days.

The recap Redpoll with an orange breast instead of the usual red.
I will not be doing any banding untill at least next week and possibly not untill next year so I hope you all have a great and safe festive season.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Queenstown - more Sparrows & a few others

I had nets up yesterday (Tuesday) morning and again this morning. Yesterday 30 birds of 6 species were caught, and today 47 birds of 8 species. As has been the pattern over the last few sessions the catch was dominated by juvenile House Sparrows. Neighbours on both sides of the property keep hens with one of them owning a bakery and feeding the hens and conseqently the local Sparrows on left over produce.

The combined total was 77 birds of 9 species with 48 new and 29 recaptures.
Species totals were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 0 (3)
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
Yellowhammer - 0 (1) this bird was banded Nov 2015 and is now the oldest YH recap.
The "Old" Yellow Fella
Chaffinch - 4 (4)
Dunnock - 1 (1)
Starling - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 40 (17) both new birds and recaps were mostly juveniles but 3 of the recaps were banded Nov 2015.
Juvenile Sparrows range from several weeks old to just fledged like this one.
Tui - 0 (3) the oldest was also banded Nov 2015.
  Tui are still feeding on Flax or somthing simular.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Queenstown - some more Sparrows

I had nets up again this morning untill the wind got  a bit strong and they came down. A sima
lar but smaller catch than yesterday with a total of 25 birds of 5 species, 20 new and 5 recaps.

Blackbird - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 1 (1) the recap was banded a couple of days after banding started here, so it is now the oldest recap of any species.
House Sparrow - 16 (4) All but 2 of the new birds were juveniles and all but 1 of the recaps were recently banded juvs.
Tui - 1 (0)
The Tui had pollen on its head most likely from Flax. As there is no flax on the property it must have been visiting one of the neighbours

With Christmas fast approaching and chores still to be done there probably won't be any more banding for a few days.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Queenstown - A Sparrow-full morning

I got nets up again this morning at a differant site than Tuesday. This site has been fed for a few days so consequently there was a change in species caught. Although the session was interaupted by rain I still managed to catch 41 birds of 8 species with 39 new and 8 recaps. This total was dominated by House Sparrows, especially recently fledged juveniles paying the price for accepting a free feed.

Birds caught were -
Silvereye - 0 (2)
Chaffinch - 6 (0)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Blackbird - 1 (2) one of the recaps is now the oldest Blackbird recaptured overtaking the one from Tuesday by 3 days.
The "Old Girl" about to be released.
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 30 (2)
Tui - 1 (0)
Bellbird - 0 (1) the second Bellbird caught down here and now the oldest for the species.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Queenstown - a reasonable start to the trip

Arrived down here on Sunday evening and have been able to make headway into the chores (lawns etc). So this morning I put up a couple of nets where I could keep an eye on them while still looking like I was working.

There was a good steady flow of birds which kept me occupied so still have chores to complete. Caught 31 birds of 8 species with 21 new and 10 recaps. Most of the new birds were juveniles and most of the recaps were banded in the first week of banding here. The first day of banding was 12 Sept 2015.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (1) The recap was banded 19 Sept 15 and is the oldest Blackbird recaptured.
Song Thrush - 1 (1) Recap banded 18 Sept 15, is oldest Song Thrush.
The new Thrush was a newly fledged bird with well marked coverts.
Greenfinch - 2 (0)
Goldfinch - 1 (0) had hoped for more as there were several family groups with newly fledged young about.
The Goldfinch had a very messy bill, probably due to feeding on thistle seeds.
Chaffinch - 3 (1)
Dunnock - 6 (3) all new birds were Juveniles and all the recaps banded in the first week of banding.
One of the juvenile Dunnocks
Silvereye - 3 (0)
House Sparrow - 4 (4) the oldest recap was banded on the first day of banding and is now the oldest recap of any species.

Sorry about the quality of the photos, must have had a smudge on the lens.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Wellington Colour Banded Tui Sightings

I have recently received three reports from Mary & Ralph of colour banded Tui at their property in Roseneath, Wellington. We colour banded Tui in Wellington from Aug 2001 to July 2010 so all birds must now be at least 6 years of age.

Band No   L Leg   R Leg   Date          Site     Species  Age  Sex   Last Sighting  Days
Y-14708   Y/W    Br/M   4 Feb 09  Roseneath   Tui     A     M     6 Dec 16        2862
Y-14729   Gr/M   G/W   24 Oct 09      "              Tui    A     M     3 Dec 16        2597
Y-4972     K/M    W/G   23 Dec 07      "             Tui     A     M     6 Dec 16        3271

This last bird Black/Metal-White Green had not been seen for 2 years so hopefully there are others out there to be seen. So Wellingtonians, please keep a look out. Our oldest record is 3595 days from banding, hopefully we can exceed that.