Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Monday, 27 February 2017

Queenstown - some more birds

I have had a couple of sessions since the last post, one at the stream and one near the house. On Friday afternoon I put nets up at the stream where the catch rate was very slow with few birds about. Caught 11 new birds, 10 Redpoll and a Dunnock. All were young birds and the only one of any significance was a Redpoll with a big lump on one leg. Dispite this lump it appeared otherwise healthy and was and at 12.8g above average weight.
"The Lump" not sure of the cause.

Yesterday (Sunday) I had 3 net set up here near the house and although the catch rate was slow ended up with 30 birds, 17 new and 13 recaps. With 8 species at least there was a bit of variety although in several cases there was just one individual.

House Sparrows dominated the catch with 7 new and 11 recaps. The oldest recap was banded on the second day of banding here so it is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured here.
Other species were - (recaps in brackets)
Greenfinch - 4 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Goldfinch - 0 (1) first recap for a while.
The Goldfinch recap, an adult female in moult.
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Yellowhammer - 1 (0) A very young bird that caused me a bit of confusion untill I had it out of the net and a chance to examine it closely.

The Brown Yellowhammer, an unexpected catch.
Redpoll - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 2 (1)

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Queenstown - Some Sparrows came back.

I  had nets up the last few mornings with limited results. On Tuesday morning I caught nothing, that is a big fat 0, usually catch 10 or so birds in that area. On Tuesday I caught 9 House Sparrows and a solitary Chaffinch, all new. This morning it was a little better, 21 birds. Eight new House Sparrows and 9 recaps (several banded yesterday), 2 new Dunnocks, 1 new Chaffinch and a Silvereye recap.

Still not many birds about the house area, although an increase in Sparrow numbers with a bit of food put out. It's amazing how quickly they find food. I have found out the main reason for the drop in Sparrow numbers. The heighbours have done a very good job of bird proofing their hen house, so the reduced numbers will probably be ongoing.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Queenstown 20 Feb - A few more Redpolls

I had another short session at the Stream yesterday afternoon. A lot less birds about, possibly due to sun on the net making it more visable. Caught another 20 new Redpolls and had a bycatch of 3, 1 new Silvereye and a new House Sparrow and a recap. The recap was banded on the second day of banding here 13 Sept 2015 so it is now the oldest recap of any species caught here. One of the redpolls was missing the lower right leg and foot. It appeared to be healthy but with a weight of 11g it was at the lower end of the range.
With a very well healed wound not sure if it is an injury or perhaps it was hatched like that?

I understand that the "Birdie Boffins"in the UK and Europe are as from 1 Jan 2018 going to re-merge the Lesser and Common Redpolls leaving only two types, the Common and the Arctic. This will at least help with deciding which is the one in New Zealand. Or will it?

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Queenstown - Heaps of Redpoll but not much else

We drove down yesterday, arriving late afternoon so not much time for birdie stuff. A look around this morning showed very few birds in the house area, not even many House Sparrows, which is a bit strange. This afternoon I decided to have a look at the stream site at the bottom of the property.

Put the first net up (6m) and there appeared to be few birds about, but as I was putting the next up l looked back to see a stream of birds going into the first net. I made the mistake of leaving the second net half up and cleared the first. It was full of Redpoll and from then on it was hectic, not helped by having to clear birds out of the half errected net and furl it.

Ended up catching 59 birds in under 2 hours. All but 2 were Redpolls the exceptions were 1 Silvereye and a Goldfinch. All birds were unbanded and almost all the Redpoll were young birds with only a few judged to be not in their first year.
Most birds were young, some like this one recently fledged others were starting to get their Red Poll.

A few birds were moulting their tail feathers. I don't know much about tail moult but these appeared to be moulting the lot at once.

A few were moulting their primaries. This one was out of sequence but was doing the other wing as normal

This was the only one caught showing any redish body colour.

Down here for about 10 days so will hopefully catch a few more.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Wellington Zoo 4th February 2017

Here we are ... slowly getting things organized under the new regime.  It seems the the bird life has followed Peter south as numbers still are low even after pre-feeding.   Although there is a good deal of pest control at the zoo there were a number of very active rats to keep us entertained in the quieter moments.

Ros & Annette were the level 3 banders that supervised an eager crew. And the totals for the day were:
House Sparrow    12(2)
Dunnock       2
Fantail      1
Black Bird     1