Female Bellbird

Female Bellbird
Female Bellbird

Friday, 26 July 2019

Queenstown - the last two sessions.

I have had two sessions since the last post with varied results.

On Tuesday I caught 18 birds of  4 species with only 2 being new and 16 recaps. There was 1 new and 13 recap Silvereyes, 1 new House Sparrow, 2 recap Blackbirds and 1 recap Bellbird.


The older male Bellbirds are starting to get into breeding condition and developing a blue sheen on head and neck.

On Thursday although the nets were set  in the same positions the results were remakably different. With 32 birds of 6 species being caught, 23 new and 9 recaptures. No new Silvereyes and only 4 recaps, 18 new House Sparrows and 2 recaps, 1 new and 1 recap Bellbird, 2 new Goldfinch and 1 new Chaffinch.
This Goldfinch was a young female the other an older male.

The Goldfinch were caught when one of my weird plans worked. I put a 2 shelf net up next to a sheep salt block that had a few Goldfinches visiting. Got a hang of a surprise to catch a couple.

One of the House Sparrows had the tip of its upper beak missing, otherwis it appeared to be in good health.

Another Sparrow had white feathers sprinked over its head.
It is interesting to compare this years Silvereye numbers with last year. On 1 Aug 2018 27 new and 10 recaptures. On 3 Aug 65 new and 22 recaps. There is potentially several reasons for the differance, poor breeding with few juveniles to catch is one. The most likely though is the mild weather so far this winter and a plentiful supply of food.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Queenstown Sunday 21 July - good numbers but not much variety.

I had nets up again today in the same site as Friday and although I caught 51 birds there was very little variety - only 2 species. There were 28 new and 23 recaps.
House Sparrows 23 new and only3 recaps. One of the recaps was banded in Dec 2015 and is now the oldest H Sparrow recaptured.
Silvereye 5 new and 20 recaptures of the recaps 12 had been banded on Friday. With 12 of the 21 recaptured it would appear that the local birds are not moving very far and a high persentage have been banded.
I hope to put nets up on the other side of the property later in the week and see how it compares.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Queenstown Friday 19 July - first birds here for a while.

Came down on Tuesday, first trip for a while having cancelled the June trip. It took a couple of days for a few birds to start feeding so this morning was the first session. It turned out much better than I expected. Caught a total of 44 birds of 6 species including a first for the site. There were 34 new and 10 recaptures.
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
House Sparrow - 10 (2)
Chaffinch - 0 (1) this bird was banded 16 Sept 2015 4 days after starting to band here, so at 1402 days from banding is now the oldest recap of any species. As is the case in Christchurch there appear to be very few Chaffinches about.
Silvereye - 21 (5)
Bellbird - 1 (2) one of the recaps was a female which are not captured very often. It was banded about 18 months ago and is now the oldest female recaptured.
The Female Bellbird now aged as a 3+
Tui - 1 (0)
The Tui was a first year male.
Magpie - 1 (0) the first one caught down here and the first I have caught since leaving Wellington 4 years ago
The first Magpie caught here.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Back at Jan's place - Thursday 11 July

We had a session at Jan's on Thursday morning and although we only caught half the number of a fortnight ago it was still a good morning. In contrast to last session it was mild and birds were not very interested in feeding. We caught 31 birds of 5 species with all but 3 being new. New birds were - 20 Silvereye, 5 House Sparrows, 2 Greenfinch and a Bellbird. The recaps were 1 each of Silvereye, House Sparrow and Dunnock. All were banded at this site 2 weeks ago.  We hope to get some movement between Jan's and the Quarry but we might have to wait a while.
Some of the team at work, Phil, Andrew, Jan & Sandra.

Eleanor making friends.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Halswell Quarry Sunday 7 July - a good morning

We had a session today back in the Quarry near the pond. After an extremely cold start we had a good morning, catching 36 birds of 6 species. There were 32 new and 4 recaps. The majority were caught in the first hour or so while the frost was still on the ground.

Species caught were - (Recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 2 (0)
Greenfinch - 2 (1)
House Sparrow - 6 (2)
Silvereye - 20 (1)
This morning's team. Andre, Ted (a mate of mine who came down for a look), Andrew, Eleanor and our scribe Sandra.


Andrew banding the Fantail, he was recently presented with the eminent 'Falla Award' by Birds New Zealand for important contributions over numerous years. 
It was well deserved. He also has a big birthday this week so we all wish him a great day.