Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Queenstown Wed 27 Dec - Chaffinch & Redpoll

I had two totally different banding sessions yesterday. In the morning I caught Chaffinch in the neighbour's hen house and in the afternoon I set a couple of nets up at the stream at the bottom of the property.

AM - Hen House

Caught 17 Chaffinch, 4 new and 13 recaps. There were also about 40, mostly juvenile House Sparrows but I avoided catching them as I will probably run out of BP bands if I was to band them all. Of the recaps 3, AP 18306, 08, 09 were originally banded on the first day of banding here so at 837 days from banding they are the oldest birds of any species caught here. They beat the Blackbird caught on Tuesday by a day.

PM - Stream

The afternoon catch was a total contrast, 52 birds of 11 species with 47 new and just 4 recaptures. The 11 species in one session is I think the highest number caught down here although several species were only represented by 1 or 2 individuals.
Species caught were - (Recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Song Thrush - 1 (0) a newly fledged juv.
Redpoll 16 (0) surprised not to recapture any of the 400 or so birds banded at this site over the last few years.
Several of the male Redpols are very well coloured while others have only a reddish wash.

One of the Redpolls was actually an Orange Poll
Goldfinch - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
Yellowhammer - 2 (0)
Both Yellowhammers were females
Dunnock - 1 (1)
House Sparrow - 0 (2)
Silvereye - 2 (0) One of the birds appeared to have had a broken tarsus that had healed well but slightly out of alignment.
The broken leg now healed
Tui 0 (1) the same bird as recaptured on Tuesday about 500m away.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Queenstow - Heaps of Sparrows

We arrived back down to Littles Road a few days ago and plan to stay a few weeks. Now that I have got some of the chores done and Christmas celebrated I was able to get a couple of nets up this morning. Caught 52 birds of 6 species with 47 new and 5 recaps. Most of the birds were House Sparrows with 44 new and 1 recap, most of them were recently fledged juveniles with just 6 or so being older birds.
Other birds caught were 1 Dunnock, 1 new and 1 recap Bellbird, 1 new and 1 recap Tui, and 1 recap each of Starling and Blackbird. The Blackbird was banded on the first day of banding here, so is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured here.
The Starling is starting to fade out of its breeding plumage.

The new Tui was a male in its second year (aged as a 2)

The Bellbird recap was a female originaly banded as a 2 (in second year) and has well  worn primaries. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Christchurch, Halswell Quarry - 14 Dec.

We had another session at the Halswell Quarry this morning. After a very slow start, only 1 H Sparrow in the first hour or so, then it picked up a bit. We finished up catching 21 birds of 6 species with 19 new and 2 recaps.
The Three Amigos busy at a net. Eleanor, Kenny & Phil.

Blackbird 1, Goldfinch 3, Chaffinch 1, Starling 1, House Sparrow 13 and 1 recap and we recaptured the same Welcome Swallow, we keep trying to catch its mate but we always catch the one that's banded. Perhaps one bird takes the day shift on the nest and the other the nights?
Two of the Goldfinch, probably a pair

Phil and Friend, actually Ron's mate Tess an ex wildlife dog.

Monday, 11 December 2017

NZ Banding Office Newsletter

Below is a link to the  latest NZ Banding Office Newsletter, well worth a read.
The fifth quarterly Banding Newsletter, BirDBanD, is available for download, featuring young banders and old snippets, news and updates of bird banding around New Zealand. Please feel free to circulate this widely… This is also an open invitation to submit your own banding banter for inclusion in the next newsletter. Previous newsletters can be downloaded from the bird banding webpages of Department of Conservation and BirdsNZ.

Kind regards,

Michelle and Sandy

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Christchurch, Halswell Quarry - 7 Dec

A group of us, a scribe, 3 trainees and a trainer had a session at the Halswell Quarry this morning. We had a good flow of birds which kept us busy but still with time for some in depth training. A total of 24 birds of 7 species were caught with 22 new and a couple of recaps.

Caught were - 1 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Silvereye, 12 House Sparrow, 2 Greenfinch, 6 Chaffinch with 1 recap and a Welcome Swallow recap.
One of the Greenfinch getting its bling.

We also had a Primary School arrive to have their sports day. Many of the children showed a great interest in our activities but the flow of birds dried up possibly due to their activities.
Eleanor with an attentive audience

A Chaffinch about to be released.
And its gone!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Queenstown - a few more birds

I  put up a couple of nets this morning in a differnt location from usual. The master plan was to catch one of the Kingfisher that are in the area, as with a lot of my plans this failed. One perched on a power line and looked at the net but then flew the other way. I did however catch a few birds, some of which were interesting. Caught a total of 9 birds  of 7 species, 6 new and 3 recaps so there was a bit of variety.
Blackbird - 1 (1) the new bird was newly fledge and the recap was the oldest Blackbird caught down here, 799 days after being banded, 3 days short of the maximum.
Blackbird was a very brown individual and the finger was abled to be saved.
Song Thrush - 2 (0) one of the birds had its lower right leg missing but was still within the normal weight range.
The stump that's left of the right leg.
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
Redpoll - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 0 (1) at 791 days from banding it is the oldest Dunnock recaptured
Silvereye - 1 (0)
Tui - 0 (1) the first Tui banded down here so is at 708 days the oldest for the species.
The old "Girl"

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Queenstown - three banding sessions

We came south on Saturday, and  since then I have had 3 separate banding sessions. Although a similar number of birds were caught at each session the composition was very different.

Sunday afternoon. Put a couple of nets up at the stream at the bottom of the property, primarily to check out guy ropes and clear any winter debris. Caught 16 birds of 6 species, all except 1 were new.
Caught were 5 Greenfinch, 5 Redpoll, 2 Blackbirds, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Fantail and a solitary House Sparrow recap.

Monday. Caught birds that were inside the neighbours hen house. Managed a total of 17 but only 4 species all except 2 were recaptures and with 1 new and 14 recaps almost all were Chaffinch. Two of the recaps had been banded 12 Sept 2015 the first day banding here and are now at 800 days the oldest birds recaptured of any species.
The Old Boy

The Old Girl
The by catch consisted of 1 new House Sparrow and a recap Dunnock.

This Morning (Tuesday) Put a couple of nets up near the house where I had been doing a bit of feeding. Caught 17 birds of 7 species, 8 new and 9 recaps.
Blackbird - 2 (3) 2 of the recaps were banded in the first week of banding here and at 797 days are the oldest for the species.
One of the Blackbird recaps had the scruffiest tail I think I have ever seen
Song Thrush - 1 (0) a juvenile.
The juvenile Song Thrush had very well defined "Thorns" on its wing.
House Sparrow - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (2)
Dunnock - 1 (2)
Redpoll - 1 (0)
Bellbird - 0 (2) 1 Male and 1 female
Male Bellbird

Female Bellbird

Friday, 17 November 2017

A couple of House Sparrow recoveries.

After arriving home from the banding session yesterday I received two recovery reports from the Banding Office.

The first was of a House Sparrow found sick and very uncoordinated under a Rhododendron bush at the Karori Mall in Wellington. The woman finding it took it home and after some TLC it recovered and was released. The bird was banded and she reported the number to the Banding Office. It had been banded on the other side of the City in Puru Cr. in Kilbirnie on 17 May 2010. At 2734 days from banding it is the second oldest House Sparrow we have recorded. The oldest is one found dead at 2773 days. This is also the furthest we have had a House Sparrow travel even if it took an awful long time to get there.

There are two main possibilities for the bird's condition. There have been reports of a poisoning operation at the Karori Mall to control Sparrow numbers and it might have been a victim. Or it might have been sipping nectar from the rhododendron and been poisoned.

The second recovery report was far less spectacular. It was of a House Sparrow found dead about 2 km from its banding site in Littles Rd near Queenstown, only one year since banding.

Christchurch, Halswell Quarry - a better day

We had a session at the Quarry yesterday morning, 16 Nov. and had a reasonable catch of 20 birds. Although this is not a huge number it was with a steady flow of birds ideal for training purposes. All birds were new except for a Starling recaptured after being banded last week.

There were 11 House Sparrows, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Chaffinch, 1 + the recap Starling, 1 Bellbird and 3 Fantail. The fantail were 3 nestlings found in a nest next to one of the nets where we had been watching a pair of adults feeding around the net all morning. As is usual with Fantail they skillfully avoided any temptation to get caught.

Eleanor with her first Starling and our first juvenile.

The Bellbird, an adult male was blind it its right eye.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Christchurch, Halswell Quarry - another quiet day.

We had another quiet session at the Halswell Quarry this morning. We set up at a different area and although the catch was small it has as a Real Estate Agent would say "Heaps of Potential." The total caught was 7, 6 new and our first recapture there. Birds caught were -
2 House Sparrows, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Starling and 1 new and 1 recap Welcome Swallow. While attempting to catch its mate we actually caught the recap twice.
Kenny with his and our, first Starling.

The first House Sparrow, a handsome male being banded.

The two Goldfinch were caught together and are probably a pair, female on left, male on right.
We will try again next week and with a few adjustments to the setup hope to do better.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Christchurch - Halswell Quarry, a few birds

We had another session at the Halswell Quarry on Friday morning. Only caught 5 birds but with all being different species at least we had variety. There was one each of Song Thrush, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Dunnock and Silvereye.
Phil with the first bird of the day and his first Song Thrush.
Eleanor looking very serious as she prepares to band the Dunnock

Kenny concentrating on banding the Greenfinch

This morning, (Sunday) a few of us experimented with trying to catch some of the Welcome Swallows that are nesting in various buildings. Things started off very well with one caught within a few minutes but after that we didn't get it quite right so no further birds caught. We will try again, probably when they have large chicks.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Queenstown - a few more birds

I have done a bit more bird banding/catching in the last couple of days, but I caught more than I banded. On Wednesday I had a round up in the neigbour's henhouse,and caught 15 individuals. All were recaptures, and except for 2 Dunnocks, all were Chaffinch and all had been either banded or recaptured in the henhouse in the last week. Amongst  the catch were 2 Chaffinch, 1 male, 1 female banded on the first day banding here so at the moment they are joint record holders.
The old female giving me a farewell peck.

This morning I had a couple of nets up and although not a big catch at least there was a little bit of variety.Species caught were =
Blackbird - 3 (2)
House Sparrow - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 4 (1)
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
Yellowhammer - 4 (0)
One of the Yellowhammers.

As well, I checked a few bodies (birds) on the road and 1 was banded, a Blackbird banded as a juvenile last November, so it had a relatively short life.
Fortunately, although the band was a bit munted, it was still readable.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Queenstown - some Blackbirds

I have had nets up for a few hours on the last couple of mornings. On both days banding was cutailed due to a strong southerly wind getting up so the catch was a bit low. The combined total was -
Blackbird - 6 (5) included was the first juvenile for the year.
The first juvenile of any species caught this year
Song Thrush - 1 (1)
Chaffinch - 1 (1) the recap was banded on the first day of banding here and is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured. On the first day 8 Chaffinch were banded and 3 of these have been recaptured in the last few days, over 2 years later.
The current oldest bird.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Wellington Zoo 14th October

What could be better than to spend a sunny Wellington morning banding behind the exhibits at the Zoo?  Catching sufficient birds for everyone to play with of course.
A bird in the hand
A total count of 48 meant that the 7 Level 1s had good session and even the 3 trainers could get hands on occasionally.

Species caught were (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird 1
Chaffinch  3 (1)
Dunnock  2
Greenfinch  18 (7)
House Sparrow  19 (6)
Silvereye  (1)

 For the first time in a while the fat we put out pre-feeding is being taken.
Kate and George comparing Greenfinch wings and nail art

Happy banders

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Queenstown - Chooks & Chaffinchs

We arrived back to Littles Road yesterday (Sat 14th) for a week or so. While checking the property I noticed a number of birds in the neighbours henhouse. So instead of doing chores I used a hand net to have a round up, almost all birds caught were Chaffinch. There were House Sparrows also but they all managed to make their escape. Twelve Chaffinch, 4 new and 8 recaps and a solitary recap Dunnock were caught. Most of the recaps had been banded recently with  a number originaly caught in the henhouse, but one, a female Chaffinch was banded 12 Sept 2015 the first day banding here. It was at 763 days the oldest bird recaptured at this site.

Today with very simular results I had 2 catching sessions. Today's total was 4 new and 11 recap Chaffinch and 2 recap Dunnock, 1 this morning and 1 this afternoon. Again most of the recaps were recently banded, including several from yesterday. However one male Chaffinch was banded on the first day banding here so at 764 days is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured here. This bird was the second Chaffinch banded here and this is its first recapture.
By far the majority of thr Chaffinch were adult males.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Christchurch - a slow start

On Thursday morning a small group of banders gathered at The Halswell Quarry Reserve to start our Christchurch banding group. This is primarily to train people keen to improve their banding skills and get their Level 2 & hopefully Level 3 permits.

It was a relatively quiet start with only 7 birds banded, this was partly due to a slow start with erecting the nets. Not only was the area unfamiliar but also the gear which had not been used for several years. The catch included 3 Blackbird, 2 Silvereye and 1 each of Greenfinch and Grey Warbler.
Our scribe enjoyed a considerable amount of quiet time.

Kenny looking very pleased with his first Grey Warbler

Sunday, 1 October 2017

A couple of recoveries - Wellington & Queenstown

I have recently received notification of a couple of recoveries from the Banding Office.
Wellington - Greenfinch

A greenfinch recovered when it was regurgitated by a cat along with other prey/food items in Island Bay. It was banded at the Wellington Zoo on 9 Jan 2015. It was recovered  985 days from banding at a distance of about 3k.

Queenstown - Yellowhammer

A Yellowhammer recovered freshly dead on a hay bale at Littles Rd about 1.5k from where it was banded on 6 Jan 2017. It had a fresh wound on one side of its head and appeared to have been attacked, I suspect by a Magpie.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Queenstown - the last banding for a while

We are now back in Christchurch after a successful week down South. I managed to get a net up on Thursday morning and caught 40 birds, 22 new and 18 recaps. With only 4 species there was very little variety. The catch rate was slow with mostly Silvereye recaptures until I went to start taking the net down and then there appeared to be a new flock of mostly unbanded birds arrive. Four new Chaffinch and 10 new Silvereye in the last net clearance. The most new birds at the one time for the trip.

The totals for the day were -
Chaffinch - 5 (1)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 2 (3)
Silvereye - 15 (13)

A group from Christchurch City Council and Birds NZ are looking at starting up a banding group here in Christchurch. Initially this will consist of a small number of people training for their L2 & L3 permits. I will report on progress on this Blog.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Cromwell & Queenstown Tuesday & Wednesday

I have had a couple of banding sessions in the last couple of days. One was very much experimental the other more of the normal kind.

Ripponvale Rd, Cromwell. Tuesday 19 Sept.

On Tuesday morning I went to the orchard just out of Cromwell where a banded Silvereye was caught by a cat a few weeks ago. The idea was to check if there were more banded birds there. If one had made it it is likely that others have as well as Silvereyes usualy travel in flocks over the winter months. Excess apples have been left on the trees mainly to feed birds and there were 100's of Silvereye, probably nearer to 1000's. Unfortunatly I wasn't very successfull in catching them.

The tally for the morning was a pitifull 13 birds, 8 Silvereyes, a couple of Blackbird and 1 each of Dunnock, Greenfinch and House Sparrow. The low catch was probably due to bright sun on the nets and  the fact that the orchard is surounded cheery orchards with varing amounts of nets still in place. Cosequently the birds appeared to be very net savvy doing abrupt turns instead of going into the mist nets.

Littles Rd, Queenstown. Wednesday 20 Sept.

This morning I put a couple of nets up here and while not spectacular catching was steady with a total of 38 birds caught. With 9 species there was a good variety. There were 18 new and 20 recaps. The recaps included a couple of older birds.

Species caught were -

Chaffinch - 2 (3) One of the recaps was banded on 12 Sept 2015, the first day of banding here so is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured and the first over 2 years.
Dunnock - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 8 (4)
All except one of the Sparrows were male.
Yellowhammer - 2 (2)

The two Yellowhammer recaps.
Blackbird - 2 (1)
Song Thrush - 0 (1) a bird banded 18 Sept 2015 so the oldest for the species and the second over 2 years.
The old Thrush
Silvereye 3 (6)
Tui - 1 (1)
Bellbird - 0 (1)

On a different note congratulations to Ross up in Wellington for achieving his Level 3 Banding Permit. Well done Ross.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Queenstown Monday 18 Sept - mostly silver

I put nets up again this morning with marginal weather conditions. Periods of light rain fortunately didn't get heavy enough to stop the catching. Around lunch time the wind strengthened and the nets had to come down. The catching had been steady all morning consisting mostly of Silvereyes. The wind turned out to be a bit of a blessing in discuise as at midafternoon I checked the neighbours hen house and found that the hens had been let out for some fresh fodder but some time after they had been let out the wind had blown the door closed trapping a large number of birds inside. With a hand net I was able to catch a number - most were Chaffinches with a few House Sparrows and a couple of Silvereye recaps.

The combined catch for the day was 69 birds with 39 new and 30 recaptures. But with only 4 species there wasn't much variety. Species caught were =
House Sparrow - 5 (3)
Chaffinch - 11 (7) a recap had been banded 20 Sept 2015 and is now the oldest recap for the species and joint oldest for any species.
Most of the Chaffinch were male.
Silvereye - 23 (19) The old bird from yeterday was caught again now of course a day older so it is now joint record holder with the Chaffinch.
Bellbird -  (1)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Queenstown 17 Sept. A rain affected day.

We are back down here for a week or so, came down on Friday. Spent Saturday doing chores and planned to do some banding today. Unfortunatly just as I was about to put nets up this morning rain set in and it was 11am before I could make a start. Only got about an hour and a half in before it again started to rain.

Managed to catch 23 birds of 8 species so at least there was some variety.  There were 20 new birds and 3 recaptures. Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)

Blackbird - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Greenfinch - 2 (1) only the 2nd Greenfinch caught down here.
Chaffinch - 3 (0)
House Sparrow - 2 (0)
Male Sparrows have now got the breeding finary with balck bib and bill.
Silvereye - 10 (1) the recap was banded 20 Sept 2015 about a week after I started banding here and at 728 days is now the oldest bird of any species. Another 3 days and it would have made 2 years.
Tui - 1 (0)
Bellbird - 1 (0) the bird was a female so helps to even up the sex ratio a little.
The Bellbird an adult female.

I hope to get a bit more banding in during the week but the forecast is not looking very suitable at this stage - they have been known to be wrong.