Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

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.

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