Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Monday, 19 June 2017

Wellington Zoo - some recapture data

With the Wellington crew finally having a successful catch of birds on Saturday Ross has sent me the recapture information. Most of the recent recaptures at the Zoo have been of birds banded in 2015, the last year when significant numbers were banded. But there were a number of older birds caught.

B-114433 a male House Sparrow was banded on 17 April 2010. At 2485 days from banding it is now the oldest Sparrow recaptured at the Zoo, and interestingly this is the first time it has been recaptured.
BP-9884 a female House Sparrow was banded 18 Oct 2014 it was banded as an adult and although only 939 days from banding is at least 4 years old which is older than most Sparrows manage to get to.
AP-10461 a Silvereye was banded 13 April 2013 and at 1344 days is starting to get into the old bird category.
AP 11787 another Silvereye was banded 22 June 2014, 1091 days from banding and just a few days short of 3 years.
DP- 3165 a female Tui was banded 23 Dec 2012 and recaptured Dec 2016. At 1455 days from banding it is the oldest female Tui recaptured at the Zoo. We have had older colour band re-sightings and much older male recaptures but females prove a bit harder to recapture.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Wellington Zoo 17 June 2017

At last the birds are back in reasonable numbers.  66 captures had the team working hard on a fine Wellington winters day.

Annette's washing line to hold the waiting birds proved to be a great idea.

The captures (recaps in brackets) were:
House Sparrow - 29(4)
Green Finch - 17(2)
Gold Finch - 1(0)
Silvereye - 19(6)

Ros demonstrating the old adage of 2 birds in the hand make banding difficult.
Thanks to Ros, Annette and Geoff for providing level 3 support.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Awarua Bay, Invercargill - Southern NZ Dotterel

After the Birds NZ Conference at Te Anau a number of attendees travelled to Awarua Bay near Invercargill in an attempt to catch and colour band Southern NZ Dotterels at their winter roost site. This particular Dotterel, which only breed on the higher parts of Stewart Is, are in a steep population decline.

They managed to catch 9 individuals with a sole Bar-tailed Godwit as a bonus. All these birds are now colour banded which will enable much better monitoring and population estimates to be done.
Setting up the cannon net. Photo Rachel Hufton.
The Bar-tailed Godwit being processed. Photo Rachel Hufton.

One of the Dotterels with her new colour combo. Photo Rachel Hufton.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Te Anau - Birds NZ conferance and a bit of banding.

I Attended the Birds NZ conference and AGM last weekend, and it was a very enjoyable and informative affair. The scientific papers presented covered a wide range of bird subjects and were all well presented and very interesting. Many covered the Fiordland area, especially the huge problems faced by our birds from introduced predators, especially Stoats which would appear to be the No 1 villain in many areas. The venue and food provided was superb, with many including myself overeating. Neil and his team are to be congratulated on the organization of the whole weekend.

On the Sunday morning we held a banding introduction & training course at Neil's property a short distance from Te Anau. This proved to be a very popular event with over 40 people registering. The attendees were split up into 3 groups with the main group banding at the house where Neil feeds food to attract honey eaters and other small passerines. Graeme & I looked after a smaller group in a patch of regenerating bush where food had been put out to attract finches etc. Another group went to another location but caught very few birds and joined the people at the house who were being swamped by birds. In fact they had to furl nets regularly in order to cope.
People busy (and some not so busy) at the main house banding station.

Our group banded 26 birds, mostly finches of various species with a few others for variety. Although we didn't catch as many as the group at the house we still had a regular flow of birds.

The total number of birds caught was 73 with 5 of these being released unbanded as we were running out of time. I haven't had a full list of the birds caught as the main recorders are involved in a cannon netting project near Invercargill to colour band the very rare Southern New Zealand Dotterel at their winter roost site. This bird has had a dramatic decline in the last few years and the colour banding is part of the recovery plan.

Here are some approximate numbers as I remember them being read out at the dinner Sunday evening.

Blackbird - 2
Song Thrush - 2
Grey Warbler - 4
Silvereye - 26
Bellbird - 2
Chaffinch - 6
Greenfinch - 4
Redpoll- 1
House Sparrow - 4
Dunnock - 6
Yellowhammer - 1
These numbers don't add up so when I get the official count I will correct them.

Graeme removing the 2nd bird we caught, the first was a Grey Warbler

The 3rd was another Greenfinch

Rachel removing a Greenfinch

A comparison between two Silvereyes, adult on left, juvenile on right.

Graeme supervising some banding.

Female Bellbird

Our sole Redpoll, a well marked male.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Queenstown - the last session here for a while

Yesterday 31 May I had a couple of nets up for the morning. Although I caught a total of 42 birds with only 5 species there wasn't much variety. There were 26 new birds and 16 recaps.

Species caught were -
Song Thrush - 1 (0) first bird caught.
House Sparrow - 7 (2) there is quite a big flock about but I think the majority have learnt to avoid the nets.
Silvereye - 14 (13) most of the recaps were recently banded, many at Mark's apple orchard which is about 2-300 m away as the bird flys.
Bellbird - 1 (1)
Tui - 3 (0) a bit of a surprise to catch 3 new Tui as I thought I had most of the locals banded.
One of the new Tui, a female

And a bigger male

While  mesuring his wing length it was found he had a hitchhicker