Female Bellbird

Female Bellbird
Female Bellbird

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Queenstown - the year just past

I have just finished the returns for the Banding Office and have crunched the numbers for the Queenstown banding. Actually it is not really Queenstown the banding site is in Dalefield which is a rural area between Queenstown and Arrowtown. The total includes birds caught at the main site at my son's property on Littles Rd and at two sites nearby, Moorhill Rd and Thurlby Domain which are about 2km to the east and west respectively.

We caught 943 new birds and made 300 recaptures of 16 species. This is slightly down on the last couple of years. The lower total is probably due to a number of reasons mostly weather related but also due to fewer banding days.

Species caught for the year 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 were ranked from highest to lowest. (recaps in brackets)

# 1 Silvereye - 409 (158)  was also No 1 last year. New birds higher due to birds caught at Thurlby Domain but recaps down.

# 2 House Sparrows - 245 (67) also No 2 last year. Both new birds and recaps slightly down.

# 3 Yellowhammer - 81 (4) the big mover for the year up from No 11 due to a large number of birds caught at the Moorhill Rd site.

# 4 Chaffinch - 74 (12) pushed down from 3 by Yellowhammers. A big drop in numbers of both new and especially recaps from last year.

# 5 Dunnock - 34 (18) was 6th last year but numbers slightly down.

# 6 Bellbird - 19 (18) numbers down from last year. There were 16 males caught but only 3 females.

# 7 Tui - 19 (13) same ranking as last year but numbers down.

# 8 Goldfinch - 17 (0) very similar to last year.

# 9 Blackbird - 11 (5) a big drop in numbers from last year when there were 33 (28) caught.
 Blackbirds seem to be fewer on the property, possibly due to there being fewer sheep and a lot of rain meaning the grass was longer and usually wet. No proof, just a theory.

#10 Redpoll - 8 (1) a huge drop from the last few years mainly due to birds not coming to the stream with ample water available elsewhere.

#11 Californian Quail - 8 (0) all caught in a net at the same time. Most have been seen at least a month after banding.

# 12 Greenfinch - 7 (0) the lowest yearly total mainly due to smaller catches at the stream.

# 13 Song Thrush - 6 (2) a low total probably due to the same reasons as Blackbird.

# 14 Brown Creeper - 2 (1) the first caught.

# 15 Starling - 2 (0) a lot about but with wet ground most feeding on nearby paddocks.

# 16 Grey Warbler - 1 (0)

# 17 Kingfisher - 0 (1) there have been a few calling but the one caught was about the only one seen.

There were no Fantail caught for the first time in 3 years.



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