Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

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.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Latest NZ Banding Office Newsletter

The NZ Banding Office has just produced its latest newsletter, it is well worth a read. Hopefully if you follow the link below you will get to it.

If that doesn't work go to the Birds NZ site BirdsNZ.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Queenstown - A quick visit

Arrived back in Christchurch last night after a quick visit to our son's property near Queenstown. The trip down was delayed due to weather concerns, so instead of a week or so only had about 4 days. Also found when we arrived that the pump supplying water had packed a sad, so we were without water until a plumber could replace the pump. Even then the replacement didn't work properly.

The result of all this and the usual chores like lawn mowing etc. I didn't have as much time for banding as I would have liked. Never the less I managed to squeeze a bit in.

Hen House

Caught a few birds in the neighbours Hen House, the usual suspects.
House Sparrow - 5 (3)
Chaffinch - 1 (2) one of the recaps was banded Nov 15 and is now the oldest recap for the species.
Dunnock - 1 (1)

Thurlby Domain

Went down to the Domain on Wednesday afternoon and set a couple of nets up at old fruit trees. Although I caught 21 birds was a bit disappointed and gave myself a "could do better" mark. Went back on Thursday morning and did a lot worse with very few birds about and those that were around were feeding high. All birds caught were new.
Silvereye - 17, Chaffinch - 2, Dunnock - 3 and Bellbird - 2. As I said a month ago this site has huge potential just a matter of working out how to exploit it.
One of the old apple trees

A few wind fall pears.

Friday Morning.

Set up a couple of nets between apple and pear trees near the house where I had been doing a little feeding for a couple of days and had a reasonable catch.
House Sparrow - 2 (2)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 17 (2) the two recaps had been banded together a year ago and were again caught together.
Tui - 0 (2) one was a female one of the first caught here and is now the oldest recap of the species. The other was a male and is now the oldest male Tui recaptured.
Bellbird - 2 (0)
One of the new Bellbird

Friday, 27 April 2018

Halswell Quarry - Thu 26 April

We had a good session on Thursday morning at the Halswell Quarry. Caught 26 birds of 7 species, all new except 1. There was a steady flow of birds for most of the morning which was ideal to give the trainees time with each bird. As well as the regular participants we had the company of Andrew's young son who was a keen and enthusiastic assistant.

Birds caught were -
Blackbird - 1
Xavier about to release the Blackbird

And its OFF
Chaffinch - 1 with 1 recap, a bird banded at the last session.
Greenfinch - 3
House Sparrow - 7
Silvereye - 11 we also a couple of recaps but one had just been banded and the other was reluctant to go into a bag and made a premature escape.
Grey Warbler - 1
Fantail - 1

The Fantail had a bad infestation of mite. Possibly due to having been in a 2nd or 3rd brood fledging from the same nest with a subsequent build up of the little beasties. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

Halswell Quarry Thu 12 April - A good morning

A group of trainees and a scribe joined me in a session at the Halswell Quarry on Thursday morning. We had a reasonably successful session catching 24 birds of 6 species with 21 new and 3 recaps.
Most of the team. Sandra our scribe, Eleanor, Ron and Kenny. Andrew was late due to (so he claimed) by work commitments.
House Sparrow - 12, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Grey Warbler & Song Thrush 1 each and Silvereye 5 with 3 recaptures. One of the recaps was banded on our first day at this site so is now our oldest but still just under 200 days.
Eleanor with her first Song Thrush, also received a nice deposit.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Christchurch Halswell Quarry - Thursday

On Thursday morning we had a session at the Halswell Quarry with moderate success. We caught 17 birds of 6 species, all were new and most species were represented by only 1 bird.
Greenfinch 10, (the most caught there in a session) Chaffinch 3 and 1 each of Blackbird, Dunnock, House Sparrow and Silvereye.
Eleanor banding the Silvereye under the watchful eye of our scribe.

We were also joined for a period by a group of school pupils who were given a talk on bird banding and on Ranger work by Andrew and Kenny.

Andrew talking to the school group

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Queenstown - the last banding here for a while

I have had a couple of sessions since the last post. On Wednesday afternoon I put a net up at the Thurlby Domain amongst some very large old fruit trees. This area is a privatly owned old homestead with the original house ruins and the remnants of the garden and orchard. It is about 2.5k from my usual banding sites and I hope to get some indication of bird movement - or lack of.

I caught 27 birds of only 3 species all new. 22 Silvereyes, 1 House Sparrow and 4 Bellbirds. The bellbird were all male with 3 old birds and 1 juvenile, one of the old birds was I think the bigest I have caught with a wing of 96mm and weighed in at 37g.
The wing of an old bird - note the sharp spike on P7
The wing of the young bird - note the lack of the sharp spike.

This site I thnk has huge potential for banding over the next few months.

Yesterday, Friday 30th I put a couple of nets up at the stream with very limited success. Firstly I had trouble getting one of the nets up due to a tangle losing half of an hour ( I blame the person who last used the net - me!). I ended up with 12 birds but with 7 species at least there was some variety. Chaffinch 3, Redpoll 2, Goldfinch 1, Dunnock 1, Silvereye 2, House Sparrow 1, Bellbird 1. All were new.

The Redpols, both males were the first for some time.

The majotity of birds appear to have moved about 10m upstream from where I normally set the nets so I will try a new setup next time. Back to Christchurch in the morning, so no more banding here for a while.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Queenstown Mon 26 March - Bellbirds & Tui

I had nets up yesterday targeting Bellbird and Tui that were coming to sugar water feeders that I have had in position for several days. I was reasonably successful and also caught a few other species as well. Total of 30 birds of 6 species caught with 20 new and 10 recaps.
Dunnock - 1 (2)
House Sparrow - 11 (2)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 1 (0)
Tui - 3 (1) all were juveniles. The old ones have learnt to avoid nets.
One of the young male Tui
Bellbird - 3 (5) The biggest catch of Bellbird I have had and the most recaps in a day. A number of the recaps were recently banded juveniles. It's good to know they are still about and surviving.
A young male Bellbird
I had planned to have another day's banding today but at the moment it's raining steadily so it doesn't look hopeful.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Queenstown - sporadic banding 19/20 March

During the last couple of days I have operated 2 nets when the opportunity arose, furling them between sessions. I was surprised at the number of birds caught as the nets were positioned more for convenience than potential.
Caught 33 birds of 7 species with 24 new and 9 recaptures.
Blackbird - 1 (4) the best catch for a while.
Chaffinch - 6 (0)
Dunnock 1 (3) One of the recaps was banded 14 Sept 2015, the third day of banding here. At 918 days from banding it is now the oldest bird recaptured here.
House Sparrow - 2 (1)
Tui - 0 (1) a recently banded juvenile.
Bellbird - 1 (0) another recently fledged female which was a real bonus, last bird caught.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Queenstown - Some recent banding

 I have had several sessions since the last post. Had a small catch in the neighbour's hen house consisting mostly of House Sparrows. And in the last couple of days I have put nets up at a large pear tree that was attracting a variety of birds to ripe fruit. During this period I caught 54 birds of 8 species, 46 new and 8 recaptures.
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (1) There are surprisingly few Blackbirds about at the moment.
Starling - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 15 with no recaps which is surprising.
Most of the Silvereyes have now completed or nearly completed their moult
House Sparrow - 18 (2)
Dunnock - 2 (1)
Bellbird - 4 (1)
A juvenile female Bellbird
Tui - 3 (2) All the new birds were juveniles, a couple recently fledged
One of the juvenile Tui, a male the other 2 were female.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Queenstown 14 March - a bit of banding at the stream

We drove down from Christchurch yesterday and will be down here for a couple of weeks getting the place ready for a Grandson's wedding. I put a couple of nets up at the stream at the bottom of the property this afternoon. Managed to catch 21 birds of 5 species, all were new and most juveniles.
Chaffinch - 11 all except 1 were male.
One of the Chaffinch had a very distinct growth bar across its tail. This was also across its wings.
Greenfinch - 4
Silvereye - 3
Bellbird - 2 and a Fantail, the first for a while.
One of the Bellbird, a juvenile male was undergoing its first moult.

The other was an adult female 

The Fantail as usual a fiesty little fellow.