Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Friday, 26 January 2018

Christchurch 25 Jan - a very quiet morning at the Quarry

A small group consisting of Eleanor, Kenny, Jan and I with Sandra as scribe had a very quiet morning yesterday at the Halswell Quarry. In the first hour or so we caught 2 birds and watched as numerous others bounced out or flew over or walked under the nets. Later a few started to "stick" and we ended up with 14 birds, all new. House Sparrows 7, Greenfinch 5 and 1 each of Silvereye and Chaffinch.
Kenny & Eleanor with the first 2 Greenfinch caught while Sandra is busy scribing.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Queenstown - the last few days down here

We are driving back to Christchurch tomorrow so this trip draws to a close. I have done some banding most days since the last post with mixed results. On Fri 13th I had nets up near the house but on the other side of the property from last week, again hoping to catch unbanded Tui. In this I was partly successful catching 4, also another new female Bellbird and heaps of House Sparrows, mostly juveniles.

The new female Bellbird, by the pollen on its head there must be still some flax in flower in the area

On 14 in the morning & 15th in the afternoon I tried my luck at the stream. The numbers caught were a bit below expectation. On the 14th 15 birds all new except 1 recap House Sparrow. The next day even fewer with 12 all new, except a Dunnock and a Sparrow recap. The 2 Sparrow recaps were both banded as unsexed juveniles, 1 in Dec '15 and the other Dec '16. So it is good to now be able to record both as definitely male.
What was originally a scruffy juvenile is now a handsome dude.
Two juvenile Dunnock caught at the stream, 1 on each day had the same deformed looking tarsus on the right leg.

Today, 16 Jan I caught birds in the neighbour's hen house, catching a lot of juvenile Sparrows and recaptured a few. Also recaptured 4 Chaffinch including 1 banded on 12 Sept 2015, the first day of banding here. It is now the oldest recap of any species.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Queenstown - Stream 11 Jan

After a couple of poorer afternoon sessions at the stream recently I decided to have a quick look this morning expecting a quiet time. However not for the first time I was wrong and caught a reasonable number of birds in a short time. A total of 23 birds caught, 19 new and 4 recaps, with 9 species there was also a good variety.

Birds caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Dunnock - 3 (1)
Greenfinch - 4
House Sparrow - 1
Yellowhammer - 0 (1)
Goldfinch - 3 (1) included was the first juvenile for the year and the recap was the oldest recaptured here.
Redpoll - 5 also included the first juvenile.
Chaffinch - 2
Silvereye - 1
Tui - 0 (1)

One of the highlights of the morning was a family of Brown Creeper feeding in the area but unfortunately they stayed too high to get caught.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Queenstown - A couple of quiet sessions

I have had a couple of sessions since the last post. Yesterday afternoon I went down to the stream and this morning I put the same nets up as a few days ago.

Stream 8 Jan PM

With a warm dry day I had expected a reasonable catch however, esp. for the first couple of hours, it was very quiet. Ended up with 17 birds, all new except 1. With 8 species at least there was a bit of variety.
One each of Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch and Yellowhammer, 5 Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 1 new and 1 recap Silvereye. This was the smallest catch of Redpoll at this site for the last few summers. This time last year it was usually between 25 & 30.
The Blackbird aged as a 2 was well into its first full moult.

One of the Greenfinch was the first Juvenile caught this Spring/Summer

The Yellowhammer had moulted all the feathers on the top of its head and was regrowing them all at once.

9 Jan AM

It was probably a mistake to use the same net sites as the other day as I usually find that this reduces the catch and in this case, except for juvenile House Sparrows this proved correct.
Caught 20 birds but only 3 species. Tui 1 new and 1 recap, Bellbird 2 new including the first adult female for some time. And 13 new and 2 recap House Sparrows, all were Juveniles. The session was also shorter than usual due to getting a lunch invitation.
The first adult female Bellbird for a while.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Queenstown - first session for the year 2018

Had the first banding session for 2018 here yesterday, on 5 Jan. Rachel came over from Lake Hawea to join me. The plan was to catch Tui near the house in the morning as there appeared to be an influx of new birds and then in the afternoon catch Redpolls at the stream. The first half of the plan exceeded expectations but the second had to be cancelled due to rain setting in about midday. A good rain would be great but this was only enough to stop the banding and then it stopped.

We caught 23 birds with 11 new and 12 recaps but only 4 species.
Dunnock - 2 recaps one of which was banded as a nestling 2 years ago, so good to know it made it to adulthood.
House Sparrow - 5 new and 3 recaps. Not targeting Sparrows at the moment so these were really bycatch.
Bellbird - 1 new and 3 recaps.
The Bellbird, an adult male getting its bling.
Tui - 5 new and 4 recaptures. This makes 8 new Tui caught in the last week or so, just when I thought I had most of the locals banded. Included in the catch was a newly fledged bird, the first down here.
Rachel with one of "her" Tui

The smaller throat tuft of a second year male

The larger tuft of an older male.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Queenstown - 2017 banding year

I have crunched the numbers for the 2017 calender year down here at our Queenstown site. A total of 1058 birds of 15 species were banded and 537 recaptures of 12 species was made. This is slightly down on the 2016 numbers when 1290 birds were banded and 465 recaptures made.

Species ranked from highest were - (recaps in brackets)
  1. Silvereye -288 (215) up from 3 last year. Numbers boosted by good catches in neighbours orchard.
  2. House Sparrow - 236 (113) down from top spot last year.
  3. Redpoll - 214 (0) down from 2 last year when 17 recaptures were also made.
  4. Chaffinch - 96 (100) up from 5. Numbers especially of recaps boosted by birds caught in neighbours hen house.
  5. Dunnock - 40 (27) up from 6
  6. Blackbird - 38 (30) up from 7
  7. Greenfinch - 36 (2) up from 9.
  8. Bellbird - 22 (19) same position.
  9. Goldfinch - 20 (1) up from 12
  10. Yellowhammer - 18 (5) same place.
  11. Tui - 17 (17) same place.
  12. Song Thrush - 16 (3) down from 11.
  13. Starling - 13 (5) same place.
  14. Fantail - 3 (0) up from 17
  15. Grey Warbler - 1 (0) down from 14
No Kingfisher or Californian Quail were caught.

So far 2018 has got of to a slow start with people staying and sheep getting over to the neighbours and having to be brought back, but if there is reasonable weather over the next few days I hope to rectify this. On the other hand a good rain would be extremly welcome as things are tinder dry.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Queenstown - the last banding for the year

I have had a couple of sessions down here since the last post. An afternoon session at the stream and a morning session near the house.

Stream 29 Dec

Caught a similar number of birds as the previous session a bit different species list. A total of 26 birds of 6 species all except 2 new.
Redpoll 12, but still no recaps.
Greenfinch 7, the larges number caught here in a session.
Dunnock 3 and 1 recap.
Yellowhammer and Goldfinch 1 each and 1 House Sparrow recap.

House 31 Dec

Banded or recaptured 29 birds of 5 species with 19 new and 9 recaps.
Blackbird 1 new and a recap
Song Thrush 1 new juv.
Silvereye 1 new.
I got a surprise to find the Silvereye already starting to moult
House Sparrow 10 new and 9 recaps. Also caught and released unbanded about 20 - trying to ration my bands.
Tui 3 new, 2 old males and 1 younger female.
One of the big males
Bellbird 2 newly fledged juveniles. At the time of banding I was not sure of the sex but looking at the photos it looks clear.
Juvenile male Bellbird?

Juvenile female Bellbird?
I wish you all the best for 2018 and we will see what and who we can catch up with.