Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Island Bay Sunday 29 April

The session yesterday morning was cancelled because of rain so Annette and I tried again this morning. We managed to catch 61 birds of 5 species with 53 new and 8 recaptures. The catch was all introduced species and was dominated by House Sparrows with 48 new and 6 recaps. All the recaps were recently banded with several banded as unsexed Juvs which we have now been able to sex. There were 2 new Chaffinch with 2 recaps both of which are now into their second year i.e. now aged as 2.

Chaffinch 2 M

 Other species were 1 each of Dunnock, Blackbird and Starling. The Starling must have been a late fledgling as it was still completing both body and wing moult.

Moulting Starling J F


The strong wind affected the numbers caught but even so not a bad catch.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Houghton Bay Wed 25 April

Went to the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon in another attempt to catch Fantails, but only managed to catch 3 which was disappointing. Caught a few other species though; 4 Silvereye, 1 Grey Warbler, 1 Tui and a Chaffinch. It was a change to have a catch dominated by native species. There is a huge drop in numbers from this time last year, in 5 sessions between the end of March and the beginning of May we averaged 87 birds per session, mostly Silvereyes, which are almost absent from stream sites this year.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Zoo Stream Fantails

I have had two attempts to catch Fantails at the Zoo Stream (at the moment more of a trickle) with some success. They come in to bathe in the evening just before dark and seem easier to catch than during the day, but even then they frequently hover in front of or bounce out of the net.
The Zoo Stream site, a net is on the left with another behind the foliage on the right.
 Last Monday 16 April I caught 5 with the bye-catch of a Chaffinch. This evening, 23 April I also caught 5 and 3 Blackbirds and a Chaffinch recap as well.
Pied Fantail
Packing the nets up when it is getting dark is interesting with the Lions roaring.  They sound very close just as though they are on the other side of the bushes!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Zoo Saturday 21 April

We had a very successful day’s banding at the Zoo on Saturday. Conditions were near perfect for banding most of the day, a little too much sun for brief periods but then some cloud would role over. In all we caught 114 birds of 9 species with 92 new birds and 22 recaptures. There was a good turn out of people with a couple of keen youngsters, even so, we were very busy for the first couple of hours and perhaps could have done with another experienced bander. After the initial rush there was still a steady flow of birds and as we were taking nets down every net contained birds.
Hine with Silvereye
 Species caught were – (Recaps in brackets)

Blackbird – 1 (0) a surprisingly low tally.
Dunnock – 1 (0)
Chaffinch – 4 (0)
Greenfinch – 6 (7) One of the recaps was banded in April 08, one in June 09 another was banded at the Zoo in April 11 recaptured at Houghton Bay in Aug 11 and is now back at the Zoo.

House Sparrow – 38 (2) one of the recaps was originally banded at Bridie’s on
Hornsey Rd.

One of the Sparrows had an unusual moult pattern on it's right wing with two very bent feathers

Starling – 1 (0)
Silvereye – 39 (12) 3 of the recaps were banded at the Mt Albert fennel patch last month.
Grey Warbler – 2 (0)
The first Grey Warbler rated on eye colour as a 1
Tui – 0 (1) a colour banded bird caught in the same net in Sept 09. It has been sight recorded a couple of time around the Zoo area and has now lost one of it’s bands.

The Tui, a female and now at least 5 years old

As well as the banding the opportunity was taken to collect blood samples from some birds for avian malaria screening as part of a study being undertaken by DOC.




Blood being collected from a House Sparrow




Sunday, 15 April 2012

Mt Albert Sunday 15 April

Annette, Anneke and I had another attempt to catch Silvereyes at the Fennel patch this morning with limited success. Numbers were way down on a couple of weeks ago but we did manage to catch 7 new and 4 recaptures with a bycatch of the usual Dunnock and a Goldfinch. Three of the recaps were recently banded birds with the other banded at Houghton Bay (about 2km away) back in December 11.

Dunnock
Looking back at the records for the last 10 years a sudden drop in Silvereye numbers at this site is usual about mid April, as well we had a Falcon do a swoop over the nets. This bird has apparently been in the area for a while and no doubt makes smaller birds keep their heads down. Also, someone probably City Council water works, people have cut a considerable area of the Fennel.
The Fennel patch showing the cut section

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Groups banding results for 2011/12

I have just finished sorting out the banding returns for the Banding Office for the year ending 31 March. Although down considerably from last year’s record numbers it was still a reasonable year.

Year Banding Totals

05/06
06/07
07/08
08/09
09/10
10/11
11/12
6yr T
6yr Av
Silvereye
1190
853
1759
1403
1156
1
1934
1
1341
1
9636
1606
House Sparrow
353
295
517
495
474
2
698
3
620
2
3452
575
Greenfinch
163
280
518
266
261
3
710
2
211
3
2409
402
Chaffinch
99
99
163
109
110
5
161
5
195
4
936
156
Blackbird
108
119
124
185
133
4
123
6
174
5
966
161
Starling
64
80
166
56
91
6
76
8
73
6
606
101
Tui
10
54
86
73
71
7
67
9
57
7
418
70
Grey Warbler
13
17
12
20
21
12
41
13
49
8
173
29
Goldfinch
16
26
62
36
61
8
39
12
43
9
283
47
Dunnock
27
44
41
46
44
11
56
10
37
10
295
49
Fantail
42
57
58
31
46
10
78
7
30
11
342
57
Yellowhammer
23
7
13
14
56
9
162
4
20
12
295
49
Kingfisher
4
3
3
3
0
16
1
15
2
13
16
3
Redpoll
1
5
4
0
15
13
42
11
1
14
68
11
Song Thrush
7
3
6
2
7
14
7
14
1
15
33
6
Eastern Rosella




1
15
0
16
1
16
2
0



























2120
1943
3532
2741
2547

4195

2855

19933
3322


The biggest change from last year is a big drop in both Silvereye and Greenfinch numbers partly offset by an increase in House Sparrows.

Species caught for the year in order from highest to lowest were –

No 1 Silvereye – The usual top spot holder although a big drop from 10/11 and well below the 6 year average. With the mild autumn and early winter along with an abundance of berries Silvereyes did not come to gardens and food tables until well into the winter, then after a couple of weeks they disappeared again.  This corresponded with a large build of numbers on the western side of the Houghton Valley where they were feeding on a profusion of Karo flowers and where we caught comparatively high numbers at the Houghton Bay Stream. Also we did not have the big influx of Silvereye that we had the previous year.

No 2 House Sparrow – Reclaiming the second spot back after a couple of years in third. Although numbers dropped off markedly in the autumn there appeared to have been very good breeding in the spring/summer months with the subsequent capture of large numbers of juveniles.

No 3 Greenfinch – Dropped a spot from the last 2 years and a big decrease from last year, not sure of the reason, perhaps a poor breeding season or, did the country birds not come to town?

No 4 Chaffinch – A record year since the banding year was changed 6 years ago with a lot of birds caught at our stream sites.

No 5 Blackbird – A slightly above average number.

No 6 Starling – Below the average for the previous 6 years but close to last year’s number.

No 7 Tui – Slightly down on the average but we haven’t put the effort into catching them that we did a few years ago.

No 8 Grey Warbler – A record number and the highest ranking ever with most caught at stream sites especially at Houghton Bay.

No 9 Goldfinch – About an average year, there were large numbers feeding on Macalister Park with Redpolls last winter but we were unsuccessful in catching many.

No 10 Dunnock – A noticeable reduction in numbers that appeared to be across all sites. Not sure why?

No 11 Fantail – A big reduction in numbers probably due to mortality during last winter’s snow.

No 12 Yellowhammer – another species with a big drop from the last 2 years. There were large numbers feeding on parks last winter but they were more mobile than usual and we were unable to catch many. The one semi successful session was at Newtown Park but it was aborted when the Phoenix footballers came out to practice.

No 13 Kingfisher – very much a by-catch bird but nice when we get one.

No 14 Redpoll – Like Goldfinch large numbers over the winter on Macalister Park but unable to catch them.

No 15 Song Thrush – with only one bird caught very disappointing, not sure why we don’t get more, there are a good number about.

No 16 Eastern Rosella - Although only 1 caught I expect to get more in the future with their spread about the city.


ReCaps
2010/11
2011/12
Silvereye
1128
571
Greenfinch
172
93
House Sparrow
73
82
Blackbird
81
55
Chaffinch
25
33
Starling
15
30
Grey Warbler
4
13
Fantail
31
10
Tui
10
8
Dunnock
21
6
Goldfinch
0
4
Song Thrush
0
0
Yellowhammer
4
0
Kingfisher
0
0

1564
905




There was a big reduction in the number of birds recaptured especially with Silvereye, Greenfinch, Fantail, Dunnock and Blackbird. The first 4 corresponds with a drop in overall numbers but I am not sure about Blackbird.

Recoveries

2010/11
2011/12
House Sparrow
11
20
Blackbird
4
6
Tui
6
6
Silvereye
14
5
Greenfinch
8
5
Starling
2
2
Chaffinch
2
1
Goldfinch
2
1
Kingfisher
0
1
Dunnock
1
0

50
47

Recoveries of dead birds were mostly similar to last year with Silvereyes being noticeably down due to a number recovered during the previous year’s big influx of birds.

Oldest Birds of each Species caught by the Group

Species
Days
Est Age

Silvereye
3817
10yr 9mth

Blackbird
3299
9yr 3mth
Dead
Starling
2958
9yr 0mth

House Sparrow
2773
8yr 0mth
Dead
Tui
2350
5yr 6mth
Sighting
Tui
2271
5yr 4mth

Chaffinch
2084
7yr 0mth

Greenfinch
1792
5yr 8mth

Grey Warbler
1519
4yr 4mth

Goldfinch
1428
4yr 5mth

Dunnock
1413
4yr 0mth

Fantail Pied
1179
3yr 3mth

Yellowhammer
1114
3yr 6mth

Song Thrush
889
3yr 2mth



Numbers in Red are birds recaptured/recovered during the last year. The Days column is the number of days between banding and recapture or recovery. The Est Age column is the estimated minimum age of the bird.

During the year we had 14 birds recaptured or recovered over 5 years from banding – 16 Silvereye, 2 Tui, 2 Starling, 2 Blackbird, 1 House Sparrow and 1 Chaffinch (the first Finch of any species we have recaptured over 5 years)