Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Halswell Quarry, Thu 15 Nov - very quiet.

We had a very quiet session at the Quarry this morning. Fewer people than usual but still far from busy. Caught a mere 10 birds of 5 species with 7 new and 3 recaps. House Sparrow 5 new and 1 recap, Song Thrush 1 new, Blackbird 1 new and recaps of Greenfinch and Welcome Swallow.

The Welcome Swallow was probably the most interesting, it was caught by putting a short net across the entrance  to the toilet where there is a nest. It was originally caught using the same method at the same place just over a year ago. So we now know it has returned for at least 2 springs.
The Greenfinch recap about to get its freedom.

The Blackbird was aged as a 2nd year bird by its retained juvenile primaries. 
I suspect it might have been a banker in another life as its left a good deposit on Elenore's top

Monday, 12 November 2018

Queenstown - A few days and a few birds.

Arrived back in Christchurch last night after a few days down south. Went down primarily to mow lawns and generally tidy up the place and of course hoped to catch a few birds. We had arranged for a contractor to have mown the lawns a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately due to wet weather he had not been able to and it was like a paddock of hay. On the first night it started to rain and it rained and it rained. When it finally cleared a bit I was able to get a net up for a while but caught very little. One Chaffinch and a 9 new House Sparrows and 6 recaps. One of the recaps was banded Dec 2015 and is now the oldest H Sparrow recaptured.

In the afternoon a went down to the Moorhill Rd site for a couple of hours, caught 40 birds but with only 3 species there was not much variety. Amazingly caught 31 new Yellowhammers and 1 recap, this is the most I have ever caught in a session. There is a huge number there at the moment, they must be eating more chook food than the chooks. Other birds were 2 new Blackbirds and 4 new H Sparrows and 3 recaps. All 3 recaps came from the Littles Rd site ( about 2km) one recently but the other 2 were older, 1 Dec 15 and the other Jan 16.

Yesterday morning I managed to get a couple of nets up for a while before we left, not a big catch but at least a bit of variety. Dunnock 1 new, House Sparrow 7 new and 3 recaps, Blackbird 1 new, 1 recap.  The recap was banded in Nov 2015 just over 3 years ago and is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured down there. Also recaptured 1 Bellbird and 1 Tui.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Botanical Gardens - a couple of Bellbirds

I received a message from Luke who is the Curator of the New Zealand section of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. They had a couple of fledgling Bellbirds that were feeding in a Tree Fuchsia that they would like banded. Bellbirds have only colonized the gardens in the last few years and it was decided it would be a good idea to get some banded and find out a bit about what they are up too.

The tree they were feeding in was pretty big and high but we managed to get a net in a reasonable position. Managed to catch 2 fledglings and an adult male, (probably Dad). There was also at least another young bird and probably an adult female, (presumably Mum). The only bycatch was a Chaffinch.
The first juvenile getting banded.

The last one banded, notice the blue pollen on its chin. Fuchsia is I think the only tree that has blue pollen.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Motukarara - A new Site

Phil, one of the City Council Park Rangers who has been training with us at the Quarry qualified as a Level 2 bander a month or so ago. This permits him to band on his own with limited supervision. He has for the last few weeks been banding at his property at Motukarara in his extensive garden and small farm. So far he has banded 103 birds of 8 species, this includes a number of Starling nestlings from the numerous nest boxes he has on the property.

He has banded -
Welcome Swallow - 3 in my decades of mist netting I have only ever caught 1 in a normally set net and Phil manages to catch 3 in his first week!
Dunnock - 4
Silvereye - 5
Chaffinch - 3
Greenfinch -
House Sparrow - 56 - he must be feeding them well?
Blackbird - 2
Starling - 29 this includes 15 nestlings and 1 newly fledged.
One of the young Starlings about to get its bling.