Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

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