Female Bellbird

Female Bellbird
Female Bellbird

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Halswell Quarry Thu 31 Jan - pretty quiet

We had a session at the Quarry this morning with limited success of a total of 19 birds, all new. The bulk of the catch was House Sparrows with 11 the next was Fantail with 4, all juveniles. Andrew claims the credit for 3 of these with calling them into a net the other went in on its own. This is the highest daily total of Fantail. Two juvenile Yellowhammers and 1 each of Silvereye and Chaffinch made up the rest.
The tally was probably affected by the warm temperatures as after a steady start numbers dropped off rapidly as it warmed up.

One of the Yellowhammers getting its bling.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Halswell Quarry 10 Jan - a good morning

We had a session at the Halswell Quarry this morning and it was a successful time. We caught 41 birds of 8 species with 37 new and 4 recaps. I think 8 species in a day is a record for the Quarry. There was a good turnout of banders and now that they are getting more experienced I can sit back and take it a bit easier. We were also joined by Andre's family including his two children. I love having enthusiastic younger folk about.
The Team all busy.
Andre showing off his prowess to an adoring audience. 

Birds caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 2 (0)
Starling - 1 (0) a newly fledged juvenile.
Dunnock - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 24 (2) our biggest catch of Sparrows at this site.
Mieke about to release a Sparrow.

Dax showing his mother the finer points of a Sparrow.
Greenfinch - 3 (0)
Yellowhammer - 3 (1) we don't catch a lot here and this is our biggest catch and our first recap which was the first one caught at the Quarry, just under a year ago. One bird was a young juvenile and with a bit of imagination could have been a Cirl Bunting of which there is a population about the Quarry.
An adult Yellowhammer left with the juvenile on the right.
Silvereye - 0 (1) a far cry from the 30+ we catch during the winter but still a good one being the oldest Silvereye recap we have caught.
Fantail - 3 (0) also the most we have caught in a day and included a Black phase bird.
Phil was the proud bander of the Black Fantail.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Canada Goose Banding

Several of our banding group were involved in banding Canada Geese on a small lake here in Christchurch this week. The study is to try and follow their movement about the city especially in the vicinity of the airport where they pose a potential hazard.

At this time of the year Geese and most other waterfowl go through a complete wing moult and have limited flying ability. The birds were gently herded into catching pens from where they were caught for processing.

A total of 66 were banded. All had numbered metal leg bands placed with 38 having additional colour bands in unique combinations added. Several also had coloured neck collars placed on and 4 had GPS trackers as well. The trackers are already providing great information.

In theory these birds could travel anywhere in the South Island so keep an eye out for them and please report any sightings to the Banding Office.
Some of the Geese in a holding pen - Photo Kenny Rose
A bird getting its bling

One getting its necklace. Photo Kenny Rose

A hive of activity - Photo R Chambers

And off they go for a swim. - Photo Kenny Rose

Friday, 4 January 2019

Queenstown - the last few days

We are now back in Christchurch after a week or so in Queenstown. I managed to get a couple of sessions in before we left.

I spent a couple of hours at the Stream at the bottom of the property one afternoon. The main purpose was to organize a new net line and clear the old ones. There has been a lot change in the last few months with snow bringing down a tree and a lot of branches etc. Managed to catch 4 bandable birds, a Greenfinch, a Goldfinch, a Chaffinch and a House Sparrow. The big surprise was to get a Grey Teal in a net, a first for me in 40+ years. Unfortunately unable to band it as my permit does not include Waterfowl.
The Goldfinch, judged to be a 2 M

The surprise bird a Grey Teal.

The other session was up near the house and was reasonably successful with 41 birds of 5 species with 32 new and 9 recaps.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 3 (0) All juveniles, probably from the same brood.
Chaffinch - 0 (2) included was the oldest Chaffinch recaptured at this site.
House Sparrow - 27 (7) as well I let a lot of newly fledged birds go unbanded, especially when I got busy or had a call of "Coffee" from the house.
I was surprised to find a number of Juvenile Sparrows had already started primary moult.