Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Halswell Quarry Thu 24 Oct - a frustrating morning.

We had a session at the Quarry this morning or, rather we tried to. The forecast was bad but the day dawned with reasonable conditions. I was expecting a small turn out of banders with Phil and Andrew plus Jan assisting but unfortunately Phil was involved in an accident when a guy went through a compulsory stop and "T Boned" him. Fortunately no one was hurt and Phil's vehicle was not badly damaged but he had a lot of paper work to do. He finally got to the Quarry about 10.

We put a smaller number of nets up than usual and were catching some birds. Then the wind got up and conditions became marginal. When it started to rain the decision was made to take the nets down By the time we had achieved this it was hosing down.

We ended up with a meagre total of 14 birds of 6 species with 12 new and 2 recaps. Blackbird 2 + 1 recap, Silvereye 1 + 1 recap 3 greenfinch, 4 House Sparrows and 1 each of Bellbird and Song Thrush.
The Bellbird with a firm grasp of Andrew's finger.
Andrew reading the Blackbird recap's band.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Moorhill Rd - Mostly Yellow birds

I spent a couple of hours down at Bridget's this afternoon. Not a lot of birds and almost all Yellowhammers which is pretty normal for this site. Caught 13 new and made 2 recaptures. Other birds were 3 Dunnock, 1 Chaffinch and 1 Song Thrush. One of the recaps was banded here 4 days ago only a distance of a couple of km's but good to get some movement. The other was banded 19 June 2018 the first banding day at this site.
The older Yellowhammer recap.

The Song Thrush enjoying a bit of finger.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Queenstown - a couple of more sessions.

Since the last post I have had a couple more banding sessions. Not a lot of birds caught but some interesting ones, especially some of the recaps.

On Tuesday I put nets up along a newly cut track that our son, the owner of the property, had made along the gully/stream on the western side amongst old Willow and Hawthorn trees. I had scattered grass seed on the track when we arrived down and birds were feeding on the seed. This was the first time I had banded there. I caught 24 birds of 9 species with 15 new and 9 recaps.
Species caught were -
Blackbird - 1 (1)
Song Thrush - 1 (0) The bird had a twisted leg which appeared to have been dislocated at some time.
The crooked leg.
House Sparrow - 2 (3)
Yellowhammer - 5 (0) the chief seed thieves.
Goldfinch - 4 (0)
Chaffinch - 0 (1)
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 0 (3) inclding the oldest Dunnock recap.
Tui - 1 (1) The recap was the oldest recap for a day and still is the oldest female.
The oldest Tui for a day.

This morning I had a couple of nets up at the same site as Sunday's session. Using the same site so soon usually results in a reduced catch which was the case. Caught 12 birds with 8 new and 4 recaptures.
Blackbird - 0 (2)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 3 (0)
Chaffinch - 2 (0)
Greenfinch - 3 (0)
Magpie (Aust) - 0 (1) the bird banded a couple of months ago and the first recapture. Also caught her mate but as I have run out of H bands had to let him go unbanded.
Tui - 0 (1) banded May 2016, and is now the oldest Tui recap. This was its first recapture. Has it been away or just net wary?
The "Old Bird"

Monday, 14 October 2019

Queenstown - a couple of sessions.

We arrived down here on Friday evening and since then I have managed to get a couple of banding sessions in. On Saturday I went down and checked out Bridget's hen house on Moorhill Rd. Didn't catch a lot, only 10 birds. 8 new Yellowhammers and 1 recap and a solitary House Sparrow.
The first bird caught on this trip.

Yesterday (Sunday) I had a couple of nets up here. It was a slow start due to light rain which persisted to around 9am and then started a couple of times meaning the nets had to be furled. Otherwise the weather was near ideal, calm and cloudy, meaning I could leave the nets up till late in the day. Caught a total of 53 birds of 8 species, with 40 new and 13 recaptures.

Species were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 0 (2)
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 8 (4) one of the recaps was banded 13 Sept 2015 which was the second day of banding here (started on the 12th). So it is the oldest recap of any species.
Goldfinch - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 22 (5) there was in interesting pattern to the new birds caught. The first 6 were all female, the next 11 were all male. Then it alternated.
The male Sparrows are getting reday for spring and are looking quite dandy.
Silvereye - 5 (3)
Yellowhammer 2 (0) caught together and probably a pair.

Californian Quail - 1 (0) the last bird caught for the day - and it got banded as I have a permit for down here.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Halswell Quarry Thu 10 Oct. - A varied morning.

We had a session at the Quarry this morning and although not a big total it had some variety. A total of 31 birds of 10 species caught but only 28 processed. The missing 3 birds were Californian Quail which unfortunately we do not have a permit to band here in Canterbury so they had to be let go without any bling.
Laura with the first of the Quail - a handsome male.

Of the 28 birds processed there were 22 new and 6 recaps. This included a new species for the site, a Magpie.
The first Magpie we have caught at the Quarry
Species caught and processed for the day were - (recaptures in brackets)
Song Thrush - 2 (0)
Starling - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (1)
Greenfinch - 5 (0)
House Sparrow - 7 (4)
Silvereye - 2 (1) a very small catch compared to recent months.
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Magpie - 1 (0)
After we had taken the nets down and  packed up a few of us checked out a couple of Welcome Swallow nesting sites. At the first we drew a blank but at the second we struck it lucky and caught a bird, the first Welcome Swallow for the year.
The First Welcome Swallow for the year.

Today's team. Kenny (on his knees), Phil on back left, Jan seated with our scribe Sandra and standing on the right Eleanor & Laura.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Jan's Place 3 Oct - a much quieter day.

A very small but dedicated team gathered at Jan's this morning.
Today's team consisted of our Chief Scribe Sandra, Chief Bander Phil assisted by myself and Chief Assistant Jan who besides suppling morning coffee was of great assistance generally.

Although we had a very busy first half hour or so it soon quietened down. We caught 26 birds which is a far cry from the 119 caught a month ago. There was 24 new birds and only 2 recaps. The new birds were 19 Silvereye, 2 Blackbirds, 2 House Sparrow and a single Bellbird. Jan had reported  that there were 2 male Bellbirds visiting her sugar water feeder; 1 banded and 1 unbanded. After we banded the unbanded the first Bellbird seen was unbanded so I suspect there is a considerable number visiting. The 2 recaps were a Silvereye and a Blackbird, both recently banded at this site.
Phil giving the Bellbird its new bling.

One of the new Blackbirds had an interesting necklace of white feathers.