Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A quick look at 2013

Just back from a week in Dunedin so no banding and very little birding but did get a quick look at the Tomahawk Lagoon on the Otago Peninsula. Not a lot of birds but there were 4 White Heron in a group which is unusual, especially at this time of year when they all should be at Okarito breeding. Some of the birds appeared to be adults with plumes on their back.
The 4 White Herons, the most I have ever got in a frame at once.

There will be no banding here for the rest of the year as I am off to Auckland for the next week so I thought I would have a quick look at some of the stats for 2013.The overall totals will be tallied at the end of March when the banding year officially ends but I keep calender year tallies for several of our main sites.

Wellington Zoo

We caught 549 new birds and made 164 recaptures, this is about an average number for this site which includes birds caught over the fence at the small stream. Both Greenfinch & House Sparrows were up on the average with both Starlings and Blackbirds well down.

Hornsey R

Including birds caught at Bridie's 543 new birds caught and 732 recaps. Greenfinch numbers were well up with the highest ever tally of 134 new & 85 recaps. Most of the recaps were birds either banded this year or over the last couple with very few older birds caught. Silvereye numbers were also well above average with most caught during July when there appeared to be a big increase in numbers and we caught our longest distance control with a bird from Kaikoura.

Island Bay

A another site which had about an average number of birds with 683 new and 104 recaptures. House Sparrows numbers were well up on average with both Starlings and Silvereyes well down. Silvereye numbers were lower than other sites possibly due to not having a session in July when numbers peaked.

Houghton Bay

Numbers were down from previous years with 584 new and 109 recaps. This site was badly affected by the southerly gales in early winter (this also affected the site at the Houghton Valley School where no banding was possible due to fallen trees). Silvereye and House Sparrow numbers were down but with 48 new and 14 recaptures Grey Warbler were twice as many as any previous year.

Not likely to do a lot of birding in Auckland but do hope to catch a Tui or two (or similar) 
This type of Tui is best processed with sausages near a barbie.
I hope you all have a great festive season and we will commence banding in the new year.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Hornsey Rd Round Up

I have had several banding sessions both here and down the road at Bridie's in the last few weeks, mostly with traps but also a bit of mist netting. The combined total of all sessions at both sites was 114 birds with 49 new and 65 recaptures.
Blackbird - 6 (28) a number of birds were recaptured several times. one bird recaptured twice was originally banded at Island Bay, although this is not a huge distance it is the fartherest we have had one disperse. The old Blackbird we called White Eye that was banded in Aug 04 and had been seen almost daily has not been seen for nearly a month so possibly has died.
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 4 (0)
Greenfinch - 5 (10) most of the recaps were banded at other sites mostly at the Zoo or Houghton Bay
House Sparrow - 21 (12) Juvs are starting to show up in increasing numbers. Oldest recap was banded Feb 09.
The oldest Sparrow caught recently

Silvereye - 0 (3)
Starling - 12 (12) 2 of the recaps were banded in Sept 06 and at 2638 & 2655 days from banding are starting to get near old age.
The oldest Starling now aged as 9+ but looking good.
I had hoped to have a session at one of our stream sites but with almost daily rain it hasn't been possible. Now I am off to Dunedin for most of the next week and then up to Auckland for Christmas so there will not be much done for a while.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Zoo Stream Tuesday 3 Nov

Anneke and I spent a couple of hours at the little stream over the fence from the Zoo on Tuesday afternoon. Anneke is now back in Wellington after a period on the West Coast at Hokitika and then some travel including assisting with cannon netting and banding Red Knots in the States (no I am not jealous, the green shade is a reflection off the trees)
Our catch was not a big one with 15 birds but with 8 species we did have variety. I also spent a couple of hours at the stream a couple of weeks ago, mainly to check on the net lines after a large tree had fallen across them. I managed to reorganise things and got some nets up for a while and even caught a few birds.
While some of the nets had to be moved this one was able to go over the smaller end of the tree trunk. 

The combined tallies for the 2 days were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 6 (0)
Anneke about to release her first Chaffinch

Goldfinch - 4 (0)
A couple of the Goldfinch showed a bib difference in head colour

Greenfinch - 2 (0)
Silvereye - 0 (3) 1 was banded Jan 08 so a reasonably old bird.
Song Thrush - 2 (0) this brings the number for the Zoo area to 3 for the year
Anneke checking the band on one of the Song Thrush.

Tui - 3 (1)

Recovery

I received a report of a House Sparrow recovered by a Keeper at the Zoo, it was banded in Feb 07 and is our second oldest Sparrow so far. It was one of a cohort we colour banded and is the first record of one for several years. The fact that it only had 1 colour band left might be a factor in this.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

NZ Birds on Line

I have been privileged to be one of the NZ Birds online photographers featured in the Te Papa blog. A series of photos I did of NI Fantail at their nest from the website have been highlighted.

http://blog.tepapa.govt.nz/2013/11/25/meet-the-photographers-of-nz-birds-online-2/

The female of the pair was banded but I did not manage to get the male banded. All the 11 young that they fledged were banded but I only managed to catch 1 after they fledged. It was caught 28 days after banding about 1 km away.
The female was banded  but the male wasn't.
If you wish to find out any information on a NZ bird or want to get an identification confirmed NZ Birds online http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/is a fantastic source of information.

With the current weather of strong southerly wind with rain, and the forecast for this to continue for the next few days, it is unlikely there will be much banding for a while. Although I hope I might be able to set a trap or two near the end of the week.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Island Bay 24 Nov - Mostly Sparrows

Roisin, Ros and I had a successful session at Island Bay this morning catching a total of 80 birds with 63 new and 17 recaptures. But with only 4 species there wasn't much variety andHouse Sparrows dominated the catch.  For the first time this spring/summer there were a significant number of juveniles.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 10 (4) the oldest recap was banded in June 2010
Roisin banding her first Blackbird, one of several Juv's banded.

Song Thrush - 1 (0) only our second S Thrush at this site, the other was back in 2007 a short time after we started banding there.
The Song Thrush, a recently fledged Juv.
The "thorn" pattern on the coverts which indicate a 1st year bird

Starling - 2 (0)
The 2 Starlings, adult male on left with dark eye and juvenile female on right with pale ring around eye.

House Sparrow - 52 (13) the oldest also banded in June 2010, another was banded in Blythe St, Berhampore.
Several of the Sparrows were newly fledged.

As usual we were treated to great hospitality by Marion and Ken including a great morning tea.

Kereru

We missed one of the highlights of the day as after we had packed up and left Ken watched a Kereru (NZ Pigeon) drink from the sugar water bowl on the bird table. This is the first time he has seen this happen and the first time I have heard of it happening.  We will wait and see if it becomes a regular visitor or if it was a one off.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Prince of Wales Park 20 Nov - a trial run

I spent a couple of hours at the stream in the Prince of Wales Park this afternoon mostly to see if it was still a suitable site after tree felling and the effects of the winter storms. The answer to that is, despite major changes and with just one net up, I managed to catch 30 birds in the 2 hours. I also had a great many bounce or get out of the net, possibly because they were approaching the net at a steep angle.

Species caught -
Chaffinch - 6 (1)
Greenfinch - 3 (0)
Goldfinch - 6 (0)
These 2 Goldfinch were caught together and are possibly a pair

House Sparrow - 5 (0)
Starling - 4 (0)
Silvereye -2 (1)
Tui - 2 (0)
Both the recaps were banded last summer but I was particularly pleased to catch them as the site has only been in use for a year.

A Recovery

I picked up a body on the road outside the Zoo after a car accident this afternoon. The body was a Blackbird banded at the Zoo in May 2009.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Houghton Bay 14 Nov - A mixed bag


We had a banding session at the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon. I was assisted by Sarah and Chye-Mei from the Zoo who were attempting to get some more experience. Unfortunately due to my giving not very clear directions they were a bit late in arriving, but still managed to handle some birds.

We caught 34 birds of 7 species with 23 new and 11 recaptures. Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Chaffinch - 2 (1)
House Sparrow - 6 (0)

Chye-Mei taking the wing cord of one of the Sparrows

Silvereye - 10 (9) the oldest bird was banded Nov 2010
Sarah looking rather pleased with "her" Silvereye

Starling - 1 (0)
Grey Warbler - 1 (0) Heard a Shining Cuckoo (They parasitise GW nests) calling near the banding site. First one seen or heard over the 5+ years and 100's of hours spent at that site.
Fantail - 1 (0)
Tui - 2 (1) one of the new birds was  newly fledged our first for the year, the recap was banded last March as a Juv, now a well developed Male.
The recap left me with a bad case of "Tui finger"
  
Both the older Tui and many of the Silvereye are obviously feeding on the abundant Flax flowers

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A couple of Shining Cuckoos and some recaps

I received a message this morning from the 'Nest' (Hospital) at the Zoo that they had a couple of Shining Cuckoos in rehab which were nearly ready for release and that they would like them banded. Ten minutes later I was there with bands and pliers ready to do the deed. These are the first Cuckoos as far as I know that have been banded by the Group here in Wellington and the first that I have banded for about 30 years. Back in the 1980's the Group used to run banding sessions and workshops at Ward in Marlborough and Shining Cuckoos were occasionally caught. The site is now used regularly by Mike Bell and his team from Blenheim.

These two birds looked to be in good condition and are feeding well. They are the first the staff at the Nest have successfully rehabilitated and will probably be released in the next day or so.

PS - 10 Nov. Both birds have been released and flew off strongly.

Bridie's Friday 9 Nov.

After work on Friday evening  I set the trap at Bridie's for a while and managed to catch 10 birds. There were 2 new Blackbirds and all of the rest were recaps. 2 Blackbird, 2 Starling, 2 House Sparrow and 1 each of Silvereye and Greenfinch.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Hornsey Rd 6 Nov - a few birds

I set the funnel trap here this morning after getting back from Canterbury yesterday afternoon. Only caught 16 birds but with 5 species there was some variety and a considerable change from last week.

Blackbird - 1 (3) the oldest banded in Nov 11
Starling - 2 (4) the oldest recap was banded Nov 10
House Sparrow - 0 (1)
Greenfinch - 1 (1) the recap was banded at the Zoo in Aug 11
Silvereye - 1 (2)



Friday, 1 November 2013

Not Much Banding This Week

With work commitments and bad weather there has been only a little banding this week.

Hornsey Rd

On Tuesday I set funnel traps here for a couple of hours. Caught mostly the same birds as last week except there was a little variety. From a total of 38 birds caught only 2 were unbanded, 1 Silvereye and a Dunnock. Of the 31 Silvereye recaps most had been caught last week with a few exceptions, some not for several months and for 3 it was the first capture this year. Also recaptured were 2 sparrows, 2 Greenfinch including 1 from the Zoo, and 1 Dunnock.

Houghton Bay.

On Wednesday morning I went to the Houghton Bay stream with very poor results, caught only 4 birds in an hour so packed up and came home. Caught were 1 Sparrow, 1 Silvereye, 1 Grey Warbler and a recap. The recap was banded Jan 2012 as an adult so is now a reasonably old bird for this small, short lived species.

The Grey Warbler recap showing the red eye of an older bird

I am off to Christchurch for the next few days for a family reunion and then working so there is not likely to be much banding done next week either.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Island Bay Sat 26 Oct - Sparrows

We had a reasonable session at Island Bay this morning with ideal conditions for the first couple of hours and then the northerly picked up to near gale force. I had a good group of banders to help me with Angelina & Sarah from the Zoo, Kate with her parents Mary & Ross, a new member Katriona. We managed to catch 66 birds of 5 species with 48 new and 18 recaptures.
Kate getting some assistance from Ross with an unruly Sparrow

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 2 (2) the oldest recap was banded Aug 2009.
Dunnock - 1 (2)
Chaffinch - 4 (0) all males.
Comparing the moult limits on 3 of the Chaffinch's wings.

Silvereye - 5 (1)
House Sparrow - 36 (13) all the recaps were banded in the last couple of years with the only stranger of the day one that was banded at the Houghton Bay Stream.
Angelina observing (or laughing at?)Sarah removing a Sparrow from the net
We also had a Falcon hit the net and bounce while it was trying to take one of "our" Sparrows.

As is usual we had great hospitality from our hosts, Marion and Ken including a tasty spread and hot drinks.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Houghton Bay 23 Oct. _ A couple of old birds

I spent a bit of time at the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon but I didn't expect to catch much as I had a look a few days ago and there appeared to be very few birds about. However I was wrong and I had a steady stream of birds into the nets. Caught 48 of 8 species with 38 new and 10 recaptures.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 2 (2) the oldest recap was banded Jan 2011 as an unsexed juvenile, now a handsome male.
Greenfinch - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 14 (0) a high number for this site.
Silvereye - 18 (7) 1 of the recaps was banded on 21 Jan 2008. Our first banding session at this site was 19 Jan 2008 and this bird is now at 2102 days our oldest Silvereye recapture there, (2 days short of the maximum). It was also the oldest bird of any species there for about 30 minutes, and then along came a Starling.
Starling - 0 (1) This bird was banded on 20 Jan 2008, the day before the Silvereye so at 2103 days not only our oldest Starling at this site but the oldest bird of any species recaptured there.
Grey Warbler - 1 (0)



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hornsey Rd 22 Oct - Silvereyes are Back

I have noticed that Silvereyes numbers have been increasing this last week after an almost complete absence since late July. This morning I set the funnel trap and caught 39 with 8 being new birds and 31 recaptures. Of the recaps 8 had been banded this year, 8 in 2012, 8 in 2011, 2 in 2010, 2 in 2009, 1 in 2008 and 2 in 2007 so a good range of ages. One of the 07 birds was 1 of the cohort of 100 we colour banded that year and appears to be the sole survivor, being the only one we have caught in the last couple of years, but I keep hoping more will turn up.
Possibly the last survivor of the colourful 100

Friday, 18 October 2013

An old Tui tracked down

I received a message yesterday about a colour banded Tui that had been seen and photographed in a Karori garden. Unfortunately one of the colour bands was missing with the bands being B/R-?/M.
 

This narrowed the possibilities down to the bird being one of six banded Tui. As two had been reported dead we were down to four possibilities. Michael, who had reported the bird, was able to identify some of the digits on the metal band including the prefix which was D, so this narrowed the search down to two possibilities. He was then able to identify a sequence of 3 digits being 811 so the band had to be D-181101 not D-185201.
This was a male banded at the Karori Plunket Rooms, Karori Rd on 25 May 2003 and is now at 3797 days from banding our oldest reported Tui. A special thanks to Michael who did some great detective work to identify this bird. Some more of his great photos can be seen on -  

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Back from my travels - reporting some recoveries

We have returned back to windy Wellington after our trip around Australia. I gather while we were away the city lived up to its reputation. Hopefully now I am home we will have some calmer weather suitable for mist netting.

Although I had promised that it was not going to be a birding trip I still managed to see some interesting birds, but was disappointed with the number of sea birds seen during our 17 days at sea. The most interesting ones being numerous flocks of white "sea" birds with black wings and tails flying rapidly just above the water. After scouring all the seabird pages of my reference book to no avail I came to the conclusion that they were actually pigeons making the journey from offshore islands to the mainland.
Torres Strait Pigeons skimming the waves


The nearest I came to any banding was to see an Australian Wood Duck sporting a band.
Banded Australian Wood Duck

While I was away we received recovery reports of 4 banded birds that had met their demise.
A silvereye recently banded at the Zoo was killed by a cat in a nearby street.
A starling banded at Bridie's on Hornsey Rd in Nov 2012 was recovered in the Lion enclosure at the Zoo.
A Dunnock banded at the Zoo, also in Nov 2012, was found dead in the Giraffe enclosure.
A colour banded Tui was found dead in Northland (a Wellington suburb), it had been banded at the Karori Cemetery in April 2008.

With favourable weather I hope to get some banding done in the next week or so.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Island Bay Saturday 21 Sept - Sparrows & Rain

I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof, then it stopped so headed off for our planned banding session at Island Bay. Unfortunately the rain started again as I arrived so spent an hour in the car before it cleared enough to put nets up at about 9. I had a reasonably busy time until reinforcements arrived in response to my texts and then, according to sods law, the flow of birds dried up.This was probably due to them having fed  to their hearts' content while I sat in the car. The rain recommenced after a couple of hours so we packed up early and headed home. We did manage to catch 33 birds of 4 species with 24 new and 9 recaps.
The "Team" Annette, Kate, Mary (our scribe), Ross, Kat, & Bronwyn

Birds caught were - Recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (3)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 21 (6)
Kate banding one of the Sparrows.

Starling - 1 (0)

We have had a couple of Blackbird recoveries reported from the Zoo. One was of a bird eaten by the Meerkats; not an old bird but interesting in a bizarre way. A European bird eaten by an African mammal on the other side of the world in New Zealand. The other bird was perhaps more significant as it was banded 3 August 2003 and at 3696 days is our second oldest Blackbird recovery at any site. Our oldest Blackbird recovery at 4024 days was also reported by Zoo staff which reinforces the fact that we are very fortunate to have them taking an interest in our banding and reporting the recoveries.

I am off to Australia for the next few weeks so there is unlikely to be any new posts for a while.



 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Houghton Bay Stream 18 Sept

We had a session at the Houghton Bay Stream today with Ros assisting this morning in an effort to check for Silvereye moult. This afternoon David, who is a school science teacher currently doing a fellowship at the Wellington Zoo came along to get some hands on experience with birds.It was a reasonably successful day with a  total of 68 birds of 7 species caught, 58 new and 10 recaptures.
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 5 (1)
Chaffinch - 2 (1) the recap was banded at the Zoo stream in Jan 2012 as an unsexed Juv. It is now a very handsome male.
Greenfinch - 2 (1) the recap was banded here at Hornsey Rd a month ago.
Dunnock - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 9 (1)
David banding his first Sparrow

Silvereye - 38 (6) the oldest recap was banded Nov 2010, another was banded at the Zoo July 2013 and 3 were banded at Hornsey Rd. Of the 44 Silvereyes caught 11 (25%) were found to be in moult.
Ros doing a moult card for one of the Silvereyes

Tui - 1 (0)


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Bridie's Saturday 14 Sept. - An old bird

I set the funnel trap down the road at Bridie's this morning. Didn't catch a lot of birds, only 10 of 3 species.
Blackbird - 2 (2)
Greenfinch - 2 (1)
Starling - 2 (1)
All the recaps were recently banded birds except the Blackbird we know as "White Eye". He was caught for I think the 20th time since he was banded in August 2004 and continues at 3324 days from banding to be the oldest living Blackbird we have recaptured at any site. Our oldest recovery is over 4000 days so he still has a bit to go. He weighed in at near his fighting (actually his breeding) weight at 89.9g. His Spring/Summer weight is usually closer to 80g, with his Winter weight up just under 100g. He usually disappears in the Autumn so have not managed to weigh him then or to get a moult score.

Old White Eye - the pattern of white feathers does not appear to change  
I had to go over to Karori this afternoon and took the opportunity for a quick look around the cemetery banding site. Managed to see R/W-B/M also known as "White Tail" due to having a white feather in his tail. This feather makes identifying the bird much easier, especially as he is almost always in the same area. Banded in June 09 not one of our oldest birds but starting to get closer.
The white tail feather makes identification much easier especially with a red band and feeding in a red flowered gum.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Some more banding Here & There

In the last few days I have done a bit banding at Houghton Bay and Hornsey Rd

Hornsey Rd

Did some trapping down the road at Bridie's on Friday afternoon and here this morning (while watching the America's Cup, which is going to be a great time waster for the next week or so). Didn't catch a big number of birds. The combined tally was -
Blackbird - 4 (2) the oldest recap was banded May 2010
House Sparrow - 1 (5) the oldest recap was banded Feb 2009
The band on the oldest Sparrow is staring to show signs of wear

Greenfinch - 3 (2) see below for details of one of the recaps
Starling - 2 (0)

Houghton Bay Stream

Spent a couple of hours at the stream this afternoon catching a total of 21 birds of 6 species.
Blackbird - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 3 (0) all males
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Greenfinch - 2 (1) the recap was banded here at Hornsey Rd a month ago and was recaptured here this morning. Not a huge movement but perhaps indicates that birds move some distance to the stream for their refreshment.
Silvereye - 9 (1) 2 of the new birds were in primary wing molt.
Two of the Silvereyes were molting outer primaries.

Tui - 3 (0) all males.

For the first time at this site I heard Parakeets, they were probably Red-crowned from either Zealandia or Matiu/Somes Is. where they have been reintroduced. Hopefully the day will come when we catch some.

Friday, 6 September 2013

N I Robin Transfer - Kapiti Is to Wainuiomata

Several of our group were involved with the recent Toutoutwai/North Island Robin transfer from Kapiti Island to the Wainuiomata Mainland Island. After being postponed 3 times it finally took place on 24 & 25 August, in perfect weather. Unfortunately having been available for the first 3 attempts I was unable to make the successful one but they did very well without me.
The journey - From Watery Island to Mainland Island
The "Team" catchers, runners and banders
Photo Dave Cornick

The birds were caught with Clap Traps and despite having only five catchers, (plus Nikki for some of the time), 63 robins were caught in one day. Three were rejected: one with a crossed bill, one with avian pox and one being underweight.  The remaining 60 birds were kept overnight and transferred by helicopter the next day.
Geoff (Wellington OSNZ R R) & Nikki (Greater Wellington Regional Council) carrying Robins in "Cat" boxes.
Photo Dave Cornick 

The Robins being farewelled.
Photo Dave Cornick

Into the helicopter they go.
Photo Dave Cornick
  
They all seemed in great condition when released and Nikki spent the next 2-3 hours in the forest observing them. He identified 22 individuals and was pleased to see them behaving fairly normally & foraging well.
He also witnessed the first recorded interaction between a Morepork and a Robin in the Rimutaka/Orongorongo ranges. In one of those ‘don’t know whether to laugh or cry’ moments, he flushed a Morepork from the track with a small feathery bundle in its claws and when he checked where it had flown from sure enough there was a pile of freshly-plucked robin feathers on the ground.  
  
This was the second of two transfers. After the first transfer last year very few of the 60 birds were re-sighted; therefore it was decided to try to train the birds, before the transfer, to associate an audio cue (clapping) with food, to try to improve their detectability in their new home.
This has worked very well, and 40 individuals have been seen in the first 10 days, most of them more than once. None of the birds are particularly hungry, indicating that they've adapted well to their new home and are having no problem finding food.

None of them have settled into territories yet and they will continue to disperse, some of them over long distances (last year one was seen near the top of the Rimutaka Incline). So if you or your friends are walking in the bush, do keep your ears and eyes open, and you may be lucky enough to see a Robin. If you want a refresher on what they sound like, check out NZbirdsonline  http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/north-island-robin#bird-sounds. Check out the tomtit too, just to be sure!
  If you see or hear a Robin in the greater Wellington region (not including in or near Zealandia), please let me know, with the date and location, and whether it is banded or not. If you are able to read the band combination great: bird’s left leg- top, bottom; right leg- top, bottom (like reading a book – left to right, top to bottom).

A photograph would be good too. There have been a few reports over the last year or so and there may be quite a few Robins around by now as there have also been several transfers by MIRO to the bush around Eastbourne, and some of the birds will have bred successfully.


Saturday, 31 August 2013

Some More Banding Here and There

I have done a little bit of banding at a couple of sites in the last week; here at Hornsey Rd and at the Houghton Bay Stream.

Hornsey Rd

Set the funnel traps here on a couple of days catching mostly Greenfinch with 12 new and 13 recaps. Most of the recaps were recently banded birds with 1 from the Zoo, another was banded at Houghton Bay last Feb. Also caught was a new Chaffinch and 1 new and 2 recap House Sparrows. One of the Sparrows was banded in Island Bay which although not a big distance is one of our longest.

Also set the trap at Bridie's one afternoon but only caught a pair of Starlings. I am in the process of rejigging the trap to see if the catch can be increased there. The 10 year old Blackbird we call "White Eye" although not caught is still there, very much alive and looking healthy.

Houghton Bay

Had two short sessions at the Houghton Bay stream. Once in the morning and the other session in the afternoon. All birds caught were new, and it was a bit disappointing not to get any recaptures. Birds caught were - Blackbird 2(both AM), Chaffinch 4 (all PM), Greenfinch 1(AM), House Sparrow 3 (all PM), Grey Warbler 2 (1 each), Silvereye 7 (6 PM, 1 AM) and 4 Tui (all PM). Although only a small sample there appears to be a difference in what time of day species are caught.

We also received a Greenfinch recovery report of a Greenfinch banded at Houghton Bay and found dead in Roseneath. At over 5 km it meets the Banding Office criteria of a significant recovery.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Zoo Saturday 24 August - Very few birds

We had a session at the Zoo today with very poor results catching only 16 birds. Had a quiet first net round with 6 birds and from then on it got quieter and quieter. Finally gave up just after midday. Conditions were not ideal with a northerly wind and bright sun but the main reason for the poor catch would appear to be very few birds about, possibly caused by the recent mild weather causing birds to think of other things. There was a good turn out of people with a number of younger folk getting involved, and it was just a pity we didn't have more birds for them to handle.

Species caught were - (Recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 0 (1) a bird banded in July 2011
Greenfinch - 6 (3) all the recaps were banded here at Hornsey Rd, 2 recently and the other in Oct last year.
House Sparrow - 3 (0)
Song Thrush - 1 (0) with the nest that was being built last month now containing 4 eggs with a bird incubating hopefully we will be able to band another 4 birds in a week or so.
The Song Thrush nest with 4 eggs
The Song Thrush incubating - the same nest site as used by a Blackbird last year.

Starling - 1 (0)
Yellowhammer - 1 (0)
Kate with her first Yellowhammer

Silvereye - 0 (0) Except for the one in the photo below none were even seen and only a couple heard, a big change from the close to 100 for the last couple of months.
The only Silvereye of the day, a model made by Stanley