Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Queenstown - Another good morning.

I put nets up in the same configeration as yesterday with the intention of moving them after an hour or so. But as I kept catching interesting birds they stayed put. I finished up with 1 more bird than yesterday, 53 of 8 species with 30 new and 23 recaps.Species caught were -
Chaffinch - 3 (0)
Rdpoll - 0 (1) the same bird that was banded yesterday.
Dunnock - 0 (3)
Yellowhammer 1 (0) this bird was missing the left foot and lower leg but despite this it appeared to be in good condition.

House Sparrow - 9 (2)
Silvereye - 16 (15) several of the recaps had been banded yesterday but there were a number from previous years including one banded 20 Sept 2015, and if I catch it tomorrow it will be 3 years.  At 1095 days it is the oldest Silvereye recaptured here and only beaten by a Chaffinch at 3099 days.
Bellbird - 1 (1)
Tui - 0 (2) one was the second male Tui banded here and was a newly fledged juvenile when banded in Feb 2016 and it is now the oldest Tui recaptured.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Queenstown - Update of the last few days.

On Sunday morning Bex came over and we banded in mild sunny temperatures until the wind strengthened late morning and we had to take the nets down. It was a fairly quiet morning. We caught 23 birds of 5 species with 18 new and 5 recaps. By far the majority were Silvereyes.
Bex at the banding table - Sunday

The same table on Monday - because someone didn't put it away.

I woke on Monday morning to heavy snow. The ground was already covered and it continued to snow until midday. After scattering food on the lawn the nearest thing to banding that I did was look for banded birds out of the window.

This morning dawned calm and sunny although the ground was still covered with the white stuff. I set up nets late morning after the temperature had risen and with birds having had time to get some food. Caught 52 birds of 6 species with 38 new and 14 recaptures.

The combined totals for both sessions was - (Recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 0 (1)
Chaffinch - 2 (0)
Redpoll - 1 (0) the first for a while.
House Sparrow - 14 (1) all except 1 were male.
Silvereye - 31 (12)
Bellbird - 1 (2) included in the recaps was the oldest Bellbird caught here, it was banded April 2016.
The new Bellbird aged as an adult due to its bright eye
Tui - 4 (4)
One of the Tui about to be released.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Queenstown Saturday 15 Sept

We had a couple of sessions down here today. This morning I had a net up for a short time, didn;t catch many birds but there was a couple of interesting ones. The miserable tally was 5, 1 new and 4 recaps. The new bird was a Silvereye and the recaps 1 each of Blackbird, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Bellbird. The Chaffinch was banded on the first day of banding here, 12 Sept 2015 so at 1099 days from banding is the oldest recap and the first over 3 years. The dunnock was banded a couple of weeks later but doesn't quite make the 3 year mark.

This afternoon Bex joined me and we went to the site in Moorhill Rd. We caught 26 birds of 5 species with all but 4 being new. Chaffinch 7, House Sparrow 7, Yellowhammer 4, Blackbird 2 and Dunnock 2 new and 4 recaps. All the recaps were banded back in June. One of the Yellowhammers was blind in its right eye, despite this it was still within the normal weight range.
The Yellowhammers blind side

And its good side

Bex busy at our banding table.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Halswell Quarry Sunday 9 Sept.- Last session here for a while

We had a session at the Quarry this morning. As it was in the same area we used a couple of days ago I wasn't expecting a big catch but was still pleased to get 27 birds of 6 species. There were 22 new and 4 recaps, only one of the recaps was from Thursday.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 1 (1) the recap was from last October just a couple of weeks after we started banding at this site and is now the oldest bird recaptured of any species.
House Sparrow - 9 (0)
Silvereye - 9 (4) one of the recaps was banded not long after the Blackbird.
Greenfinch, Yellowhammer & Starling 1 of each.
Today's team during one of the quieter moments.
L to R Sandra (scribe), Jan, Eleanor, Andrew, Kenny, And seated Ron with our "Bird Dog" (retired) Jess 
I am off down south later in the week so the next report is likely to be from down there.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Halswell Quarry Thursday 6 Sept - a reasonable catch.

We had a session at the Halswell Quarry on Thursday morning. The session was held at the opposite end of the Park from the recent ones in an area replanted in native trees.With some of the regular banders away we were a smaller group than usual so only had two nets up instead of the usual four. Despite this we still had a steady flow of birds catching 39 of 6 species. There were 35 new and 4 recaptures. Species caught were -
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Starling - 1 (0) This is the first Starling we have caught this year.

Eleanor banding her first Starling.
House Sparrow - 8 (3) Included in the recaps was one banded in one of the first sessions and is now at 273 days the oldest bird recaptured at this site.
Greenfinch - 8
We had a group of Tai Tapu School children, who were on a nature tour drop by. Although they were limited by their tight schedule they enthusiastically watch a Silvereye being processed.
The children watching a Silvereye about to be released

Thursday, 6 September 2018

New Banding Office Newsletter

The link doesn't seem to work so try this one.

The above link should take you to the latest NZ Banding Office Newsletter. It is well worth a read with a lot of interesting stuff. A number of the authors I have had the pleaser of knowing over the years. Sandy is a friend and ex colleague, Jack is a great guy and I have had the pleasure of banding on his farm a number of times, Chris I spent a week on an Island banding Penguins, Murray I have known since I was a teenager and he was with the Wildlife Service. Lance I have never met but the group I was with in Wellington was responsible for banding the House Sparrow that  started him on his banding related journey.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Halswell Quarry 30 Aug - A quiet morning.

We had a relatively quiet morning's banding at the Quarry today. The nets were erected amongst the flowering gums and wattles in the Australian section where there had been a lot of birds last weekend when the area had been checked. Unfortunately numbers (esp. Bellbird) had dropped during the week. I suspect birds had moved to Kowhai trees that are now in full bloom. We were joined today by George who is down from Wellington where he was part of the group I banded with there. Also we had Andre come along. He is a South African trained bander who wants some experience with New Zealand birds.
Today's Team. Back L to R - Eleanor, Ron, George, Andrew (CCC Park Ranger), Andre. Front - Christine ( CCC ecologist), Sandra (scribe) & Jan

We caught a total of 24 birds of only 4 species with all but one being new. Silvereye 16, Chaffinch 4, House Sparrow 2, Yellowhammer 1 and a Bellbird recap.
Andre with the first Yellowhammer he has handled and banded

The Bellbird recap. The first Andre has handled (but he didn't get to band it).

Friday, 3 August 2018

Queenstown Fri 3 August - heaps of birds

I had a session here this morning, same site as a couple of days ago. Again the start was delayed by damp weather but once it cleared it was all go. Caught a record number of birds for down here. A total of 115 birds caught of 6 species with 90 new and 25 recaps.

By far the majority were Silvereyes with 60 new and 22 recaptures . This is a record number of Silvereye, the previous record was set 5 Aug last year. . Two of the recaps were banded on 20 Sept 2015 they were consecutive numbers AP-16326 & 27 they are now the oldest recaptures here at 1048 days from banding. Except for one being caught the day after banding neither had been recaptured before. The previous record holder AP-16331 which had been caught two days ago was also banded on the same day. Another recap had been banded at The Thurlby Domain, not a huge distance just a few ks but still good to get and the furtherest  we have made.

Other species caught were -
Chaffinch - 3 (1)
Greenfinch - 4 (0)
House Sparrow - 16 (2)
Bellbird - 1 (0)
Tui - 6 (0)

The first Tui caught, a young male.

Of back to Chrstchurch in the morning, then up to Auckland for a for a couple of weeks, so no banding for a while.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Queenstown - 1 August

After heavy rain started about 7.30 this morning I thought my banding plans were history. But about 9 it cleared as quick as it started and I ended up having a pretty successful day. This morning I had a double rigged net up here at a site I have been feeding for the last couple of days. Caught 55 birds of 7 species with 43 new and 12 recaps.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Chaffinch - 6 (0)
All except one of the Chaffinch were male
Dunnock - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 5 (2)
Starling - 1 (0) The first for a while.
The Starling was a stroppy male already getting its breeding plumage 
Silvereye - 27 (12) one of the recaps was banded 20 Sept 2015 a week or so after banding started here. At 1046 days from banding is the oldest recap here.
Bellbird - 1 (0) A female, the first new one for several months.
The Bellbird was an adult female.
Tui - 2 (0)

This afternoon I had a session at Moorhill Rd, catching birds stealing chook food. Unfortunately I put up an extra net from the setup I had last time and this turned out to be a big mistake. There was a very poor catch rate until I took the extra net down and then it improved until I had to call it a day as darkness approached. Ended up with 19 birds of 3 species, all new except Dunnock 2, Chaffinch 8 and 8 Yellowhammer and a recap.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Halswell Quarry Thu 26 July - a good, if cold morning.

We had a successful session at the Quarry this morning catching 42 birds of 7 species with 36 new and 6 recaps. The forecast was for a calm mild morning after a light frost but they were wrong. It clouded over and a bitterly cold southerly breeze came up. The nets were put up at the other end of the Park from the last few sessions which is more exposed to a southerly.
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Chaffinch - 3 (0)
Greenfinch - 8 (4) the most we have recaptured in a session.
Blackbird - 0 (1) the first Blackbird we have recaptured here.
Dunnock - 2 (0)
House Sparrow - 17 (0)
Silvereye - 5 (1)
Bellbird - 1 (0)
Todays team L to R. Kenny, Andrew, Ron, Phil, Eleanor, Jan (feeling the cold) and seated our scribe Sandra. 
In front is our mascot, Tess.
During slow periods and during a welcome coffee break we were entertained by Ron who as well as supplying the hot drinks has a wealth of knowledge and information from his years in the Old Wildlife Service and the Dept. of Conservation. He has been involved with many of the conservation efforts with NZs rare and unique birds from Bush Wren to Black Stilts as well as more recently the hunt for the elusive S I Kokako. He should write a book.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Halswell Quarry, Thu 19 July.

We had a session at the Quarry on Thursday morning. A significant drop in numbers and variety from recent sessions. A total of 35 birds caught with 32 new and only 3 recaps. Only 3 species were caught with 27 new Silvereye and 2 recaps, 4 new and 1 recap Bellbird and a solitary Grey Warbler , the first for a while.
This was the highest number of Bellbird we have caught in a session and the first recap. We have now banded 15 Bellbirds, all Male except one. Amazing that we only caught 2 of the 100+ Silvereye that we have banded in this area over the last few weeks, I suspect there is a large turn over of birds.
Eleanor extracting one of the Bellbird
Andrew being closely observed by his two delightful children while processing the Grey Warbler

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Halswell Quarry 5 July - a lot of green and an old recovery

We had a session at the Halswell Quarry this morning and caught 49 birds with 46 new and 3 recaps. All but 7 of the birds were green, 35 new Silvereye with 3 recaps, 3 Bellbird and a Greenfinch. The LBJ's (Little Brown Jobs) were 2 Chaffinch and 5 House Sparrows. The Silvereye recaps were all banded last week

Kenny banding one of the Bellbird

Phil taking the wing length of one of the other Bellbird

An old recovery from Wellington.

I arrived home from the session to find a recovery report from the Banding Office of a banded Starling picked up on the Parade in Island Bay Wellington. It had been banded at the Freeling St site on  5 Aug 2007 and recovered 3984 days later, which is the first time it has been encountered since being banded. I estimate its age at, at least, 11 years 7 months. This is the second oldest bird we have recorded, the oldest being a Blackbird at the Zoo found dead after 4021 days, which was only 37 days longer. Perhaps there is a lesson here for some of us older folk to be careful on the road, by the injuries to the old bird it was probably involved in a vehicle accident.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Halswell Quarry 28 June - a lot of new Silver

We had a banding/training session at the Halswell Quarry here in Christchurch this morning. It was held in a new area amongst Red Flowering Gums in the Australian section. It turned out to be a busy one with a record catch of 63 birds. All were new. There had been banded birds seen in the area but none were caught. By far the majority were Silvereyes with 46 followed by House Sparrows with 11, 3 Bellbirds, 2 Chaffinch and 1 each of Greenfinch and Yellowhammer. Had hoped to catch more Bellbird as there are a lot feeding in the area but most were a bit high. Had also thought that Cirl Bunting might have been a possibility as 2 had been seen a couple of days ago but no joy.
Eleanor banding one of the Bellbird
The Yellowhammer held in Andrews big mitt.

Some of the group busy at the banding table. Sandra (scribe), Eleanor, Kenny, Andrew and Luke.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A new site, Moorhill Rd - a lot of Yellow

I had a session at a new site this afternoon. It is the property of a Lady who returned a band from a dead sparrow and is about 1.5km from my main site near Queenstown. She has heaps of small birds feeding on left over chook food. She feeds her small flock of multicoloured hens and an old rooster called Roger on the driveway.
The hens are an interesting collection

She normally feeds the hens about 4pm and the birds arrive almost instantly. I set up one net about 3.30 and waited but not for long. Banded 30 birds of 3 species also caught a number of House Sparrows but did not band them. Banded 2 Chaffinch, 8 Dunnocks and a masive 18 Yellowhammers. Also recaptured a banded House Sparrow that had been banded at the main site back in January as a newly fledged juvinile.

A couple of the Yellow fellows

Monday, 18 June 2018

Queenstown 17 & 18 June - another Creeper

Yesterday morning, 17th, Bex came back for another session. We caught 70 birds with 37 new and 33 recaps. The catch was dominated by Silvereyes with 22 new and 28 recaps. House Sparrows were the other larger group with 12 and 3. Chaffinch 2 and 1 and a sole Yellowhammer made up the total.

This morning Rachel come over from Hawea and we had a session at the neighbours where there are a couple of apple trees with some fruit still attarcting a range of birds. Again Silvereyes made up the bulk of the catch with 33 new and 8 recaps. There was also 1 each of Chaffinch, Bellbird and Tui also a recap Dunnock. But the catching of 2 Brown Creeper was the highlight. One was new and the other was a recapture of the bird caught a couple of days ago. The distance between sites is not great probably only a couple of 100 meters on the opposite side of a stream that has banks covered with willow and hawthorn. Not far but still a good bird. This stream is probably the route that the birds follow coming up from the Shotover River.

The two Brown Creeper with the recap nearest.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Queenstown,Sat 16 June - a short but successful session.

Bex, who works in the Te Anau DoC Office and hopes to get her L2 permit for passerines and mist netting came over this afternoon, she already has some L2 qualifications. We made a start about 2 pm and took the nets down about 4. In that time we caught 48 birds of 9 species, we would have had 10 but a Greenfinch didn't wait around for it's bling. There were 28 new birds and 14 recaptures. Included was the first ever Brown Creeper, a species seen a couple of times but never caught before. Also we made our first recapture of a Kingfisher.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Chaffinch - 3 (0)
Dunnock - 0 (2)
House Sparrow - 3 (5)
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 19 (5) one of the recaps was banded a week or so after banding comenced here and at 1000 days is the oldest recap of any species.
Brown Creeper - 1 (0) the first one banded here and the first one I have banded.
Our first ever Brown Creeper
Bellbird - 0 (1)
Tui - 0 (1)
Bex handling her first Tui
Kingfisher - 0 (1) it was banded 22 Dec 2015. We have only banded 4 here so amazing to get a recap after more than 2 years (907 days).
Bex with our first Kingfisher recap.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Halswell Quarry, Thu 7 June

We had a session at the Quarry this morning and caught a total of 46 individual birds with 33 new and 13 recaps. The actual number of bird handlings would have been much higher as a lot of Silvereyes were caught multiple times.
Our scribe, Sandra keeps an eye on Eleanor while I keep an eye on Ron's cookie jar.

There were 6 species caught. (recaptures in brackets)
House Sparrow - 15 (1)
Greenfinch - 7
Dunnock - 1
Chaffinch - 2 (1)
Silvereye - 6 (11)
Bellbird - 2
The second Bellbird caught was a big old male with a very large bill.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Queenstown - Thurlby Domain 31 May

I had a short session at the Thurlby Domain this afternoon, and with only 17 birds it was a bit below expectations. All were new, had hoped for a recap or two but not to be. There were 11 Silvereyes, 2 Dunnocks and 4 Bellbird. The Bellbird were all male and now with 10 banded at this site there must be a reasonable sized population.
This Bellbird was probably an old bird, weighing in at 40.8g  the heaviest I have caught. It also had an above average wing length of 95mm. 

The area around the apple trees where I set the nets is frozen solid and I couldn't get pegs in for the guys so had to improvise using several bits of fire wood that were handy. The birds were mostly feeding on apples still on the trees and were mostly too high for my nets. Apples on the ground were mostly being ignored as they were frozen solid.

An interesting recovery.
I have received a recovery report from the Banding Office about a Tui that was found dead at Quail Rise which is on the other side of the Shotover River from banding site. When it was found it was being closely accompanied by another Tui which appeared to be nudging it. Quail Rise is about 3.5km in a direct line as the Tui flies although probably twice as far by road.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Queenstown - plenty of Silver

We have been down Littles Road since Saturday and had planed to start some banding on Sunday but my plans went very much astray. Caught a couple of birds in the neighbours hen house but when I went to band them found I had no pliers. They had been put in the wrong box when we packed up at the Quarry on Friday, A quick call to Sandra confirmed where they were and she made arrangments to courier them down. I did have an attempt at banding on Monday using convential pliers but this proved very difficult. I couldn't keep up with the catch from one net and I wasn't happy with some of the bands, so I abandoned the attempt.

The pliers arrived down this afternoon so I got a couple of hours in. There are a huge number of Silvereyes feeding on damaged fruit that I had tipped out on the lawn so it was no trouble catching a few.

The combined total of birds caught at various attempts is 82 ot 5 species with 66 new and 16 recaps
House Sparrow - 2 (1)
Chaffinch - 2 (0)
Silvereye - 59 (12) included in the recaps was a bird banded 21 Sept 15 about a week after starting to band here. At 982 days from banding it is now the oldest bird recaptured.
Bellbird - 1 (3) included in the recaps was the oldest Bellbird recaptured.
Tui- 2 (0)
One of the tui was a ist year bird but this one was an old fella.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Halswell Quarry Fri 25 May - A record day.

We had a very successful session at the Halswell Quarry this morning. Caught a record total of 60 birds with 50 new and 10 recaptures.  Both tallies are records for this site. We were missing a couple of our regular members so we were busy at times. I even had to resort to desperate measures like extracting and banding some birds myself.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 3 (0)
Dunnock - 2 (1)
House Sparrow - 16 (2)
Greenfinch - 6 (1)
Silvereye - 21 (6) a record total for both new birds and recaps.
Bellbird - 2 (0) includes our first female and the first time we have caught more than one in a session.
The female Bellbird getting its bling from Phil.

The Male Bellbird

The Male was aged as an adult by the feather spike (arrowed)

Friday, 18 May 2018

Halswell Quarry Fri 18 May - some Blackbirds

We had a session at the Quarry this morning, setting nets up at an arbutus tree that has ripening fruit. The aim was to catch some of the feeding Blackbirds in order to give some of the trainees experience with larger birds. We were reasonably successful catching 13 birds with 7 being Blackbirds. As well we caught 4 Chaffinch and a House Sparrow with a bonus of a Bellbird, only the second we have caught at the Quarry. All birds were new. Had hoped to get a recap or two as one of our regular net sites is only about 200m away.
One of the advantages of this site was the use of a picnic table as a banding station, (and coffee table.)

Phil banding one of the Blackbirds - a complaining male.

Eleanor extracting her first Bellbird and got a bloody finger for her trouble. (Badge of Honour)

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Halswell Quarry Thu 10 May - a successful session.

We had a very successful session at the Halswell Quarry this morning catching a total of 33 birds. This is the highest number caught in one session at this site and consisted of 31 new and 2 recaps although, with only 5 species, there was not a lot of variety.
Birds caught were -
House Sparrow - 4 (1) all except 1 were male
Greenfinch - 8 (0) again all except 1 were male
Phil taking the wing measurement of a Greenfinch
Silvereye - 17 (1) the highest catch and with numbers appearing to be building up in the area I expect higher numbers in the next few months.
Eleanor extracting a Silvereye from a mist net.
Blackbird & Dunnock 1 of each.