Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Queenstown - another trip over

We are now back in Christchurch having driven back yesterday. Despite a days rain I managed to get a little banding in since the last post.
On a couple of mornings I put a net up next to some Red Hot Pokers that are in flower next to the drive. I had previously seen half a dozen or so Silvereyes feeding there just after dawn. Managed to catch 20, all except 1were new. The only other bird was a solitary new Song Thrush.
On Monday I had a couple of nets up and caught 13 birds, 6 new and 3 recap House Sparrows, 1 new Tui, 1 new and a recap Bellbird and 1 recap Chaffinch. One of the recap Sparrows and the recap Bellbird were the oldest recaps for their species.
The Tui was a recently fledged male.

The old Bellbird.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Queenstown - Sparrows Galor

We drove down from Christchurch on Tuesday, it was raining when we left and continued for the whole trip and all day Wednesday. Yesterday we woke up to clear skies and Snow on the mountains, this is not supposed to happen in Feb.
To the north Coronet Peak with fresh February snow

And to the south the Remarkables also with fresh snow
I have had a couple of banding sessions of sorts since arriving, On Thursday I caught a few of the birds in the neighbours hen house. Not a lot, a few House Sparrows both new and recaps and 4 Chaffinch recaps. Today (Friday 23 Feb) I had a couple of nets up and banded 34 new birds and made 8 recaptures. By far the majority were juvenile House Sparrows with 28 new and 4 recaps. I probably released as many as I banded as I had to fit in lawn mowing and other chores. Sparrows are still fledging young and there appears to be 100,s about. I doubt if most of these late birds will survive this next winter.
Other birds caught were 4 new and 1 recap Chaffinch, 1 new Greenfinch, 1 recap Bellbird and Dunnock. And 1 new and a recap Tui, the recap was banded as a juvenile a couple of months ago and I was surprised to find it in moult, I catch very few moulting Tui and was not sure if juveniles moulted.
All the new Chaffinch were juveniles

The new Tui was also a juvenile

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Halswell Quarry - 15 Feb

We had another session at the Halswell Quarry in Christchurch this morning. Although it was fairly busy mid morning, overall it was a steady session. We caught 18 birds of only 4 species; all were new. The highlight was catching 2 Fantails. Normally these birds are experts at avoiding nets but these 2 must have miscalculated. Other birds caught were 3 Chaffinch, 6 House Sparrows and 7 Greenfinch.
Eleanor & Andrew banding Greenfinch under the watchful eye of our scribe Sandra

Kenny banding one of the Fantail.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Halswell Quarry 1 Feb - a reasonable morning

At the Quarry this morning we had a reasonable catch despite the threatening weather. With the Ex tropical Cyclone Fihi bearing down we started off with rain which surprisingly cleared enabling us to make a start, even if a bit late. By midmorning the wind was getting up and despite having the nets in a sheltered area they were starting to be affected so we packed up a bit earlier than planned.

We ended up with 25 birds caught of 7 species, 1 each of Blackbird, Song Thrush and Greenfinch. Silvereye 4, Yellowhammer 2, our first for the site, and 13 new and 1 recap House Sparrow.
Most of the team during a quieter spell

The first Yellowhammer

Eleanor with her first Yellowhammer
A feature of the day was the number of interested visitors we had, including one that was found just about to "release" a bird from a net with the aid of a pocket knife.
Some of our visitors watching proceedings, the boys were very interested and all got to release a bird.