Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Friday, 23 February 2018

Queenstown - Sparrows Galor

We drove down from Christchurch on Tuesday, it was raining when we left and continued for the whole trip and all day Wednesday. Yesterday we woke up to clear skies and Snow on the mountains, this is not supposed to happen in Feb.
To the north Coronet Peak with fresh February snow

And to the south the Remarkables also with fresh snow
I have had a couple of banding sessions of sorts since arriving, On Thursday I caught a few of the birds in the neighbours hen house. Not a lot, a few House Sparrows both new and recaps and 4 Chaffinch recaps. Today (Friday 23 Feb) I had a couple of nets up and banded 34 new birds and made 8 recaptures. By far the majority were juvenile House Sparrows with 28 new and 4 recaps. I probably released as many as I banded as I had to fit in lawn mowing and other chores. Sparrows are still fledging young and there appears to be 100,s about. I doubt if most of these late birds will survive this next winter.
Other birds caught were 4 new and 1 recap Chaffinch, 1 new Greenfinch, 1 recap Bellbird and Dunnock. And 1 new and a recap Tui, the recap was banded as a juvenile a couple of months ago and I was surprised to find it in moult, I catch very few moulting Tui and was not sure if juveniles moulted.
All the new Chaffinch were juveniles

The new Tui was also a juvenile

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Halswell Quarry - 15 Feb

We had another session at the Halswell Quarry in Christchurch this morning. Although it was fairly busy mid morning, overall it was a steady session. We caught 18 birds of only 4 species; all were new. The highlight was catching 2 Fantails. Normally these birds are experts at avoiding nets but these 2 must have miscalculated. Other birds caught were 3 Chaffinch, 6 House Sparrows and 7 Greenfinch.
Eleanor & Andrew banding Greenfinch under the watchful eye of our scribe Sandra

Kenny banding one of the Fantail.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Halswell Quarry 1 Feb - a reasonable morning

At the Quarry this morning we had a reasonable catch despite the threatening weather. With the Ex tropical Cyclone Fihi bearing down we started off with rain which surprisingly cleared enabling us to make a start, even if a bit late. By midmorning the wind was getting up and despite having the nets in a sheltered area they were starting to be affected so we packed up a bit earlier than planned.

We ended up with 25 birds caught of 7 species, 1 each of Blackbird, Song Thrush and Greenfinch. Silvereye 4, Yellowhammer 2, our first for the site, and 13 new and 1 recap House Sparrow.
Most of the team during a quieter spell

The first Yellowhammer

Eleanor with her first Yellowhammer
A feature of the day was the number of interested visitors we had, including one that was found just about to "release" a bird from a net with the aid of a pocket knife.
Some of our visitors watching proceedings, the boys were very interested and all got to release a bird.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Christchurch 25 Jan - a very quiet morning at the Quarry

A small group consisting of Eleanor, Kenny, Jan and I with Sandra as scribe had a very quiet morning yesterday at the Halswell Quarry. In the first hour or so we caught 2 birds and watched as numerous others bounced out or flew over or walked under the nets. Later a few started to "stick" and we ended up with 14 birds, all new. House Sparrows 7, Greenfinch 5 and 1 each of Silvereye and Chaffinch.
Kenny & Eleanor with the first 2 Greenfinch caught while Sandra is busy scribing.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Queenstown - the last few days down here

We are driving back to Christchurch tomorrow so this trip draws to a close. I have done some banding most days since the last post with mixed results. On Fri 13th I had nets up near the house but on the other side of the property from last week, again hoping to catch unbanded Tui. In this I was partly successful catching 4, also another new female Bellbird and heaps of House Sparrows, mostly juveniles.

The new female Bellbird, by the pollen on its head there must be still some flax in flower in the area

On 14 in the morning & 15th in the afternoon I tried my luck at the stream. The numbers caught were a bit below expectation. On the 14th 15 birds all new except 1 recap House Sparrow. The next day even fewer with 12 all new, except a Dunnock and a Sparrow recap. The 2 Sparrow recaps were both banded as unsexed juveniles, 1 in Dec '15 and the other Dec '16. So it is good to now be able to record both as definitely male.
What was originally a scruffy juvenile is now a handsome dude.
Two juvenile Dunnock caught at the stream, 1 on each day had the same deformed looking tarsus on the right leg.

Today, 16 Jan I caught birds in the neighbour's hen house, catching a lot of juvenile Sparrows and recaptured a few. Also recaptured 4 Chaffinch including 1 banded on 12 Sept 2015, the first day of banding here. It is now the oldest recap of any species.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Queenstown - Stream 11 Jan

After a couple of poorer afternoon sessions at the stream recently I decided to have a quick look this morning expecting a quiet time. However not for the first time I was wrong and caught a reasonable number of birds in a short time. A total of 23 birds caught, 19 new and 4 recaps, with 9 species there was also a good variety.

Birds caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Dunnock - 3 (1)
Greenfinch - 4
House Sparrow - 1
Yellowhammer - 0 (1)
Goldfinch - 3 (1) included was the first juvenile for the year and the recap was the oldest recaptured here.
Redpoll - 5 also included the first juvenile.
Chaffinch - 2
Silvereye - 1
Tui - 0 (1)

One of the highlights of the morning was a family of Brown Creeper feeding in the area but unfortunately they stayed too high to get caught.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Queenstown - A couple of quiet sessions

I have had a couple of sessions since the last post. Yesterday afternoon I went down to the stream and this morning I put the same nets up as a few days ago.

Stream 8 Jan PM

With a warm dry day I had expected a reasonable catch however, esp. for the first couple of hours, it was very quiet. Ended up with 17 birds, all new except 1. With 8 species at least there was a bit of variety.
One each of Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch and Yellowhammer, 5 Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 1 new and 1 recap Silvereye. This was the smallest catch of Redpoll at this site for the last few summers. This time last year it was usually between 25 & 30.
The Blackbird aged as a 2 was well into its first full moult.

One of the Greenfinch was the first Juvenile caught this Spring/Summer

The Yellowhammer had moulted all the feathers on the top of its head and was regrowing them all at once.

9 Jan AM

It was probably a mistake to use the same net sites as the other day as I usually find that this reduces the catch and in this case, except for juvenile House Sparrows this proved correct.
Caught 20 birds but only 3 species. Tui 1 new and 1 recap, Bellbird 2 new including the first adult female for some time. And 13 new and 2 recap House Sparrows, all were Juveniles. The session was also shorter than usual due to getting a lunch invitation.
The first adult female Bellbird for a while.