Female Bellbird

Female Bellbird
Female Bellbird © Peter Reese

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Queenstown - some Blackbirds

I have had nets up for a few hours on the last couple of mornings. On both days banding was cutailed due to a strong southerly wind getting up so the catch was a bit low. The combined total was -
Blackbird - 6 (5) included was the first juvenile for the year.
The first juvenile of any species caught this year
Song Thrush - 1 (1)
Chaffinch - 1 (1) the recap was banded on the first day of banding here and is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured. On the first day 8 Chaffinch were banded and 3 of these have been recaptured in the last few days, over 2 years later.
The current oldest bird.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Wellington Zoo 14th October

What could be better than to spend a sunny Wellington morning banding behind the exhibits at the Zoo?  Catching sufficient birds for everyone to play with of course.
A bird in the hand
A total count of 48 meant that the 7 Level 1s had good session and even the 3 trainers could get hands on occasionally.

Species caught were (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird 1
Chaffinch  3 (1)
Dunnock  2
Greenfinch  18 (7)
House Sparrow  19 (6)
Silvereye  (1)

 For the first time in a while the fat we put out pre-feeding is being taken.
Kate and George comparing Greenfinch wings and nail art

Happy banders

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Queenstown - Chooks & Chaffinchs

We arrived back to Littles Road yesterday (Sat 14th) for a week or so. While checking the property I noticed a number of birds in the neighbours henhouse. So instead of doing chores I used a hand net to have a round up, almost all birds caught were Chaffinch. There were House Sparrows also but they all managed to make their escape. Twelve Chaffinch, 4 new and 8 recaps and a solitary recap Dunnock were caught. Most of the recaps had been banded recently with  a number originaly caught in the henhouse, but one, a female Chaffinch was banded 12 Sept 2015 the first day banding here. It was at 763 days the oldest bird recaptured at this site.

Today with very simular results I had 2 catching sessions. Today's total was 4 new and 11 recap Chaffinch and 2 recap Dunnock, 1 this morning and 1 this afternoon. Again most of the recaps were recently banded, including several from yesterday. However one male Chaffinch was banded on the first day banding here so at 764 days is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured here. This bird was the second Chaffinch banded here and this is its first recapture.
By far the majority of thr Chaffinch were adult males.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Christchurch - a slow start

On Thursday morning a small group of banders gathered at The Halswell Quarry Reserve to start our Christchurch banding group. This is primarily to train people keen to improve their banding skills and get their Level 2 & hopefully Level 3 permits.

It was a relatively quiet start with only 7 birds banded, this was partly due to a slow start with erecting the nets. Not only was the area unfamiliar but also the gear which had not been used for several years. The catch included 3 Blackbird, 2 Silvereye and 1 each of Greenfinch and Grey Warbler.
Our scribe enjoyed a considerable amount of quiet time.

Kenny looking very pleased with his first Grey Warbler

Sunday, 1 October 2017

A couple of recoveries - Wellington & Queenstown

I have recently received notification of a couple of recoveries from the Banding Office.
Wellington - Greenfinch

A greenfinch recovered when it was regurgitated by a cat along with other prey/food items in Island Bay. It was banded at the Wellington Zoo on 9 Jan 2015. It was recovered  985 days from banding at a distance of about 3k.

Queenstown - Yellowhammer

A Yellowhammer recovered freshly dead on a hay bale at Littles Rd about 1.5k from where it was banded on 6 Jan 2017. It had a fresh wound on one side of its head and appeared to have been attacked, I suspect by a Magpie.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Queenstown - the last banding for a while

We are now back in Christchurch after a successful week down South. I managed to get a net up on Thursday morning and caught 40 birds, 22 new and 18 recaps. With only 4 species there was very little variety. The catch rate was slow with mostly Silvereye recaptures until I went to start taking the net down and then there appeared to be a new flock of mostly unbanded birds arrive. Four new Chaffinch and 10 new Silvereye in the last net clearance. The most new birds at the one time for the trip.

The totals for the day were -
Chaffinch - 5 (1)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 2 (3)
Silvereye - 15 (13)

A group from Christchurch City Council and Birds NZ are looking at starting up a banding group here in Christchurch. Initially this will consist of a small number of people training for their L2 & L3 permits. I will report on progress on this Blog.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Cromwell & Queenstown Tuesday & Wednesday

I have had a couple of banding sessions in the last couple of days. One was very much experimental the other more of the normal kind.

Ripponvale Rd, Cromwell. Tuesday 19 Sept.

On Tuesday morning I went to the orchard just out of Cromwell where a banded Silvereye was caught by a cat a few weeks ago. The idea was to check if there were more banded birds there. If one had made it it is likely that others have as well as Silvereyes usualy travel in flocks over the winter months. Excess apples have been left on the trees mainly to feed birds and there were 100's of Silvereye, probably nearer to 1000's. Unfortunatly I wasn't very successfull in catching them.

The tally for the morning was a pitifull 13 birds, 8 Silvereyes, a couple of Blackbird and 1 each of Dunnock, Greenfinch and House Sparrow. The low catch was probably due to bright sun on the nets and  the fact that the orchard is surounded cheery orchards with varing amounts of nets still in place. Cosequently the birds appeared to be very net savvy doing abrupt turns instead of going into the mist nets.

Littles Rd, Queenstown. Wednesday 20 Sept.

This morning I put a couple of nets up here and while not spectacular catching was steady with a total of 38 birds caught. With 9 species there was a good variety. There were 18 new and 20 recaps. The recaps included a couple of older birds.

Species caught were -

Chaffinch - 2 (3) One of the recaps was banded on 12 Sept 2015, the first day of banding here so is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured and the first over 2 years.
Dunnock - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 8 (4)
All except one of the Sparrows were male.
Yellowhammer - 2 (2)

The two Yellowhammer recaps.
Blackbird - 2 (1)
Song Thrush - 0 (1) a bird banded 18 Sept 2015 so the oldest for the species and the second over 2 years.
The old Thrush
Silvereye 3 (6)
Tui - 1 (1)
Bellbird - 0 (1)

On a different note congratulations to Ross up in Wellington for achieving his Level 3 Banding Permit. Well done Ross.