Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Monday, 29 September 2014

Island Bay Monday 29 Sept - a good morning

Annette, Ros and I had a good banding morning at our Island Bay site today. We had nearly ideal conditions with almost complete cloud cover and a light southerly wind, but it was cold and we appreciated the mugs of hot, hand warming coffee with tasty treats provided by our hosts.

We caught a total of 53 birds of 6 species with 38 new birds and 15 recaptures. As is usual at this site the catch was dominated by House Sparrows but there were a few other interesting birds as well.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 3 (1) the recap was banded in Sept 2011 and all the new birds were aged 1 and Males
Chaffinch - 3 (1)
Dunnock - 0 (2)
Starling - 1 (0) this bird was missing the lower right leg and foot but seemed to be managing OK and was about an average weight.
Stumpy the Starling
House Sparrow - 31 (9) One of the Sparrows had a length of cotton thread wrapped around a leg, this was very grown in. Presumably this happened from nesting material before it fledged. We removed the thread as best we could and hopefully there is enough blood flow to keep the foot alive.
The removal of the thread was a bit of a bloody job.

One of the Sparrows had both a long bottom bill and long hind claw on one foot.

A female trying to remove a piece of Annette's finger.

Ros displaying a very handsome "Dude"
Tui - 1 (2) one bird was banded as a newly fledged youngster in Jan 2011 and the other as a older juvenile in March 2010, So great to recapture 2 known aged birds.

The other highlight of the day, although not a banding one was seeing a Kereru (NZ Pigeon) feeding on Poplar tree shoots.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Houghton Bay Sat 27 Sept - A quiet morning

I spent the morning at the Houghton Bay stream and it proved to be very quiet. With the Karo having finished flowering bird numbers have dropped significantly from a few weeks ago, especially the number of Tui. I had 3 younger folk to assist me, Rory & Felix who have been to a number of sessions over the last year and Maddie who  came for the first time. All three are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about our avifauna and are a pleasure to have around.
The three young folk, Felix with a Silvereye, Maddie with a Chaffinch and Rory in the middle. He did have a Silvereye but it didn't wait around for the photo session.
We were joined for a period by Sarah and Kyle with their little boy Finn who is growing like a mushroom.


We caught only 13 birds of 4 species, so at the moment PM appears to be better than AM. We caught 2 Chaffinch and 1 each of Blackbird, Dunnock and House Sparrow, all new and 7 new Silvereye with 1 recap which had been banded in August 2012. As was the case yesterday one of the Silvereye was still moulting outer primary feathers.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Houghton Bay 26 Sept

Anneke, Bridget, Henk and I (Henk is a South African trained banded currently working as a Keeper at the Zoo) had a session this afternoon at the Houghton Bay stream. We caught 19 birds of 7 species with 14 new and 5 recaps.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 8 (1) the recap was banded here at Hornsey Rd back in June.
Fantail - 1 (1)
Grey Warbler - 1 (2) the oldest recap was banded April 2013
Tui - 0 (1) a bird banded in Feb 2013.

Hoping to have another go tomorrow morning so will see how it compares AM v PM.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Houghton Bay Stream 17-18 Sept

I spent an hour at the Houghton Bay stream yesterday, mainly to sort out a new net lane. I put up a couple of nets and caught a few birds while I was there. 1 Silvereye, 1 Chaffinch, 1 House Sparrow and 2 Tui.

I went back this morning as the predicted rain had not arrived. Caught 21 birds of 6 species with 18 new and 3 recaptures.
Species caught were -
Blackbird - 1 (0) The bird was a female breaking a run of 12 males in a row.
Greenfinch - 0 (1) a bird banded here at Hornsey Rd last week.
House Sparrow - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 12 (2) a couple of the new birds were moulting their outer primaries.
One of the Silvereye that were moulting outer primary feathers
One of the recaps had a large unhealthy looking lump where its hind claw should be. There is no record of anything wrong when it was banded in April 2011. It still seemed in reasonable health with a weight  of 12.6 gr which is about average.
"The lump"
Grey Warbler - 2 (0)
Tui - 2 (0) So far this year we have banded 24 Tui at this site. Last year we banded 13, in 2012 we banded 13, 2011 it was 8, in 2010 it was 10 and in both 08 & 07 we banded 7. There has certainly been an increase but whether this years big number is an aberration or not we will have to wait and see.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Wellington Zoo Saturday 13 Sept - A steady day

After a dire forecast we had surprisingly good conditions for our Zoo session on Saturday. It was mostly overcast with an occasional hint of rain but at times a bit much wind. There was a good turn out of people and it was great to have a number of enthusiastic younger folk.
Annette and Nikki took the opportunity to practice putting on and taking off radio transmitters in preparation for a planned study with North Island Robins.

Annette & Nikki putting a transmitter on a Greenfinch


After a rather slow start bird numbers increased and we ended up with 50, 41 new birds and 9 recaptures. There were 11 species caught so there was a bit of variety but many species were only represented by single birds. Surprisingly no Silvereyes were caught.

Species caught were - (Recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (0) we also had a recovery reported by a Zoo Keeper of a dead Blackbird, it was banded in April 2012.
Song Thrush - 0 (1) our first recap for a couple of years and only the second in the last 5.
Dunnock - 2 (2) one of the recaps was banded June 2010 and is at 1526 days not only the oldest Dunnock we have recaptured at the Zoo but the oldest at any of our sites.
The old Dunnock
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Goldfinch - 1 (0)
Greenfinch - 26 (5)
A photo of Ross taking a photo of Kate with a Greenfinch
House Sparrow - 5 (1)
Starling - 1 (0)
Fantail - 1 (0)
Tui - 2 (0)
Magpie - 1 (0) the first one caught at the Zoo since 2004.
The first magpie caught at the Zoo for 10 years

There is equipment on site ready to commence work on Monday on an exciting new development at the Zoo. This will impact on several of our net sites so banding sessions for the next year or so are likely to follow a slightly different format.
Machinery, big and small ready to start work Monday

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Houghton Bay 10 Sept

I had another morning session at the Houghton Bay stream today. The catch was about half of last week's mostly due to a drop in Silvereye numbers. Caught 32 birds of 7 species so at least had a bit of variety, there were 29 new and 3 recaps.

Species caught were -
Blackbird - 3 (1) again all males which makes it 10 males to 0 females in the last week. The recap was banded April 2011.
Chaffinch - 2 (0)
Greenfinch - 4 (1)
Goldfinch - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 1 (0)
Grey Warbler - 0 (1) the first bird caught, it was banded April 2013
The Grey Warbler aged as a 1 with a brown eye now has the red eye of an adult
Silvereye - 15 (0) a big drop from the 52 caught last week and surprisingly no recaps.
Tui - 3 (0)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Houghton Bay 4 Sept - A better day

I spent the morning at the Houghton Bay stream and it was a much busier day than Monday was. Caught a total of 63 birds of 6 species, with all but 4 being new.
Species caught were -
Blackbird - 6 all were male.
Chaffinch - 2

The first Chaffinch caught, a female appeared to have a paler colouration than usual, or perhaps it was the light or my eyesight? 
Goldfinch - 1
Greenfinch - 3
Silvereye - 48 (4) much more like the number expected. 2 of the recaps were banded at Hornsey Rd, 1 here at my place and the other down the road at Bridie's. Several of the birds were moulting their outer primaries, the first ones we have found this spring.

A couple of the Silvereye that were moulting outer primaries.
 Grey Warbler - 2
Tui - 3

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Houghton Bay 2 Sept - Tui

I spent a couple of hours at the Houghton Bay stream this afternoon. Didn't catch a lot of birds, just 14 of 5 species with 11 new and 3 recaps. There were 2 species that were significant; only 4 Silvereye, 3 new and 1 recap an extremely low number for this site. 6 Tui were caught which is the highest number ever caught there in one session. One of the Tui was a recap banded at Island bay almost 2 years ago, Sept 2012.
With handling so many Tui I had a bad case of "Tui" finger especially after banding 3 big males in a row.
(All the blood is mine)

Other birds were 1 House Sparrow, 2 Grey Warbler and a recap Dunnock which although not very old at 2 years from banding is still the oldest recap at this site.
The Dunnock