Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Queenstown - The last session for the year

No banding today but I had nets up yesterday morning and managed to catch 28 birds of 6 species. Fourteen were new and fourteen recaps. Amongst those caught were several starting to moult their primary wing feathers which was a bit of a surprise.

Birds caught were -
Blackbird - 0 (1) this bird was banded on the third day banding here and was the oldest bird recaptured for about an hour.
Song Thrush - 1 (0) a bird starting to moult.
The Thrush was moulting the right wing out of the usual order, although the left was in the ususl sequence.
Chaffinch - 3 (1)
Redpoll - 0 (1) a female banded as an unsexed juvenile back at the begining of March, now starting to moult, but still surprisingly has a prominant brood patch.
The Redpolls moulting right wing.
House Sparrow - 9 (11) a number of juveniles starting to moult but no older birds. One of the recaps was banded on the first day of banding here and is now the oldest bird recaptured here.
One of the moulting H Sparrows
Tui - 0 (1)
Califoronian Quail - 1 (0) the third banded here and the first male.

The male Cal Quail - a real handsome dude.

I wish you all the best for the new year. For me 2016 has been an interesting and enjoyable year and I look forward to 2017.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Queenstown - Sparrows by the dozen

I have had several banding attempts over the last few days with some success, mostly with Sparrows. On Monday I had nets up for the morning and caught 62 birds which is the highest total for a day. As expected at this net site the majority were Juv House Sparrows. On Tuesday it was a bit windy for nets but I did catch some birds in the neighbours hen house, again mostly Sparrows but also a couple of Blackbird recaps. Both were interesting. One had held the record for the oldest bird caught here, it still holds it but now by a few more days. The other was one of the pulus I banded a couple of months ago. Great to know it has survived at least for this period. Yesterday I had nets up for an hour or so until the wind got too strong, but still manged 16 birds.

The combined totals for the 3 days was -
Blackbird - 1 (6)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 49 (20)Mostly juveniles but there were a number of older birds.
This juvenile Sparrow was in the process of renewing some of its tail feathers


A number of Sparrows have very prominent fault/growth bars on their tails.

A few of the juvenile male Sparrows are starting to show their "true colours"
Goldfinch - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 3 (3)
Starling - 1 (0)
The Starling, the first caught for a while was sexed as a female by its white eye ring.
Bellbird - 1 (0)
I think the Bellbird was a year old bird due to eye colour but not 100% sure.
Tui - 1 (1)
I was hoping to have caught some fledgling Bellbird or/and Tui by now but all those caught were older birds, mostly old boys.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Queenstown - a few more birds

I put up a couple of nets this morning in a differant site than usual, mainly to get away from Sparrows for a change and to try for a few differant birds. Only caught 9 birds but some were interesing.

Birds caught were - a new Dunnock and a recently banded one, two new Chaffinch and a Song Thrush. Three Blackbird recaps, one was banded a few months ago, but DP-6306 was banded as an adult male on the third day banding here and at 656 days from banding is not only the oldest Blackbird but the oldest of any species recaptured. Caught at the same time was DP-6309, a female which had been banded the following day and is now the oldest female BB and the second oldest of any species.

The final bird caught was a bit of a surprise, a banded Redpoll which had been banded back in February as an unsexed juvenile. It is now clearly identifiable as a male although differently coloured than normal. This bird is now the oldest Redpoll recaptured beating the old record by a couple of hundred days.


The recap Redpoll with an orange breast instead of the usual red.
I will not be doing any banding untill at least next week and possibly not untill next year so I hope you all have a great and safe festive season.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Queenstown - more Sparrows & a few others

I had nets up yesterday (Tuesday) morning and again this morning. Yesterday 30 birds of 6 species were caught, and today 47 birds of 8 species. As has been the pattern over the last few sessions the catch was dominated by juvenile House Sparrows. Neighbours on both sides of the property keep hens with one of them owning a bakery and feeding the hens and conseqently the local Sparrows on left over produce.

The combined total was 77 birds of 9 species with 48 new and 29 recaptures.
Species totals were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 0 (3)
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
Yellowhammer - 0 (1) this bird was banded Nov 2015 and is now the oldest YH recap.
The "Old" Yellow Fella
Chaffinch - 4 (4)
Dunnock - 1 (1)
Starling - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 40 (17) both new birds and recaps were mostly juveniles but 3 of the recaps were banded Nov 2015.
Juvenile Sparrows range from several weeks old to just fledged like this one.
Tui - 0 (3) the oldest was also banded Nov 2015.
  Tui are still feeding on Flax or somthing simular.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Queenstown - some more Sparrows

I had nets up again this morning untill the wind got  a bit strong and they came down. A sima
lar but smaller catch than yesterday with a total of 25 birds of 5 species, 20 new and 5 recaps.

Blackbird - 1 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Dunnock - 1 (1) the recap was banded a couple of days after banding started here, so it is now the oldest recap of any species.
House Sparrow - 16 (4) All but 2 of the new birds were juveniles and all but 1 of the recaps were recently banded juvs.
Tui - 1 (0)
The Tui had pollen on its head most likely from Flax. As there is no flax on the property it must have been visiting one of the neighbours

With Christmas fast approaching and chores still to be done there probably won't be any more banding for a few days.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Queenstown - A Sparrow-full morning

I got nets up again this morning at a differant site than Tuesday. This site has been fed for a few days so consequently there was a change in species caught. Although the session was interaupted by rain I still managed to catch 41 birds of 8 species with 39 new and 8 recaps. This total was dominated by House Sparrows, especially recently fledged juveniles paying the price for accepting a free feed.

Birds caught were -
Silvereye - 0 (2)
Chaffinch - 6 (0)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Blackbird - 1 (2) one of the recaps is now the oldest Blackbird recaptured overtaking the one from Tuesday by 3 days.
The "Old Girl" about to be released.
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 30 (2)
Tui - 1 (0)
Bellbird - 0 (1) the second Bellbird caught down here and now the oldest for the species.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Queenstown - a reasonable start to the trip

Arrived down here on Sunday evening and have been able to make headway into the chores (lawns etc). So this morning I put up a couple of nets where I could keep an eye on them while still looking like I was working.

There was a good steady flow of birds which kept me occupied so still have chores to complete. Caught 31 birds of 8 species with 21 new and 10 recaps. Most of the new birds were juveniles and most of the recaps were banded in the first week of banding here. The first day of banding was 12 Sept 2015.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (1) The recap was banded 19 Sept 15 and is the oldest Blackbird recaptured.
Song Thrush - 1 (1) Recap banded 18 Sept 15, is oldest Song Thrush.
The new Thrush was a newly fledged bird with well marked coverts.
Greenfinch - 2 (0)
Goldfinch - 1 (0) had hoped for more as there were several family groups with newly fledged young about.
The Goldfinch had a very messy bill, probably due to feeding on thistle seeds.
Chaffinch - 3 (1)
Dunnock - 6 (3) all new birds were Juveniles and all the recaps banded in the first week of banding.
One of the juvenile Dunnocks
Silvereye - 3 (0)
House Sparrow - 4 (4) the oldest recap was banded on the first day of banding and is now the oldest recap of any species.

Sorry about the quality of the photos, must have had a smudge on the lens.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Wellington Colour Banded Tui Sightings

I have recently received three reports from Mary & Ralph of colour banded Tui at their property in Roseneath, Wellington. We colour banded Tui in Wellington from Aug 2001 to July 2010 so all birds must now be at least 6 years of age.


Band No   L Leg   R Leg   Date          Site     Species  Age  Sex   Last Sighting  Days
Y-14708   Y/W    Br/M   4 Feb 09  Roseneath   Tui     A     M     6 Dec 16        2862
Y-14729   Gr/M   G/W   24 Oct 09      "              Tui    A     M     3 Dec 16        2597
Y-4972     K/M    W/G   23 Dec 07      "             Tui     A     M     6 Dec 16        3271

This last bird Black/Metal-White Green had not been seen for 2 years so hopefully there are others out there to be seen. So Wellingtonians, please keep a look out. Our oldest record is 3595 days from banding, hopefully we can exceed that.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Queenstown - A Quail or 2 at last

We are now back in Christchurch after our short visit to Queenstown where I managed to get a bit more banding in. On Tuesday had nets up for the morning and had a reasonable catch but had to let the majority go! I found that the new string of BP bands that I had in my gear was non existent and I had no bands to band Sparrows with so had to let about 20 go. Amongst the new birds banded was the first Californian Quail banded at this site. I actually managed to flush a pair into a net but by the time I had clambered over a fence the male had made its escape.

Yesterday (Wednesday), I had nets up reasonably early (well not really early but early for me) and caught a Blackbird and another Quail before rain set in and play was abandoned. I actually managed to flush 4 Quail (2 pair) into a net but by the time I made the 20 m dash only 1 was left.

Birds caught for the 2 days were -
Blackbird - 3 (0)
Chaffinch - 3 (1) the recap was banded on the first day of banding here and is now the oldest bird of any species recaptured here, beating the one caught on Monday by 1 day.
Not the old bird but a very young one.
Dunnock - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 0 (3) about 20, mostly recently fledged were released unbanded.
Silvereye - 1 (1)
Tui - 1 (0)

The Tui, a male with its hackles up

My attempt to give it the "finger"
Californian Quail - 2 (0) both females and the first for the site. In the 3 days I actually had 7 Quail fly into the nets but all but these two escaped.


I should be back there in a couple of weeks for an extended period so hopefully will get more banding in then.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Queenstown - back for few days

We are back down here for a few days, mostly to do chores like mowing lawns etc. I hope to get a couple of banding session in as well. We arrived Saturday evening and Sunday was a non banding day with a very strong wind all day so got the lawns mown. Today wasn't a lot better although the wind didn't get strong till late morning so put some nets up for a while. Managed to catch a very modest total of 14 birds of 6 species with 9 new and 5 recaps.

Blackbird - 2 (2)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Chaffinch - 0 (2) the first caught was a female the first Chaffinch banded here and it is now the oldest bird of any species. The second one was a male banded a couple of days later and it is the second oldest.
Being eyeballed by the old boy
Greenfinch - 4 (0) included was the first juvenile Greenfinch for the year.
The juvenile Greenfinch with its speckly belly
Redpoll - 1 (0) thought I might have caught more as there appears to be a number about.

The Redpoll was a well marked male
House Sparrow - 2 (0)

There are a number of Califorian Quail about after an absence of 6 months or so. (since I recieved a variance to the banding permit allowing me to band them.) They are proving hard to catch as they scuttle under the net, rocket over the net or just fly around it. Had one go in but it came straight out before I could get to it.

Also had a flyover of a Falcon, always good to see.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Queenstown - the last birds here for a while

In the last few days since the last post I have had mixed success with my banding. Two reasonable days and one not so good.  Over that period I caught 40 birds of 10 species with 29 new and 11 recaptures. The new bird number was boosted by 9 pullus (nestlings) being banded.

Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 8 (1) inluded in the total were 3 pullus and the first juveniles for the spring.

The first juvenile Blackbird for the year.
Song Thrush - 1 (0)
House Sparrow - 8 (1)
Starling - 0 (1) this recap was the bird banded a couple of days ago.
Goldfinch - 1 (0)
The new Goldfinch sexed as a male by head, wing colour and weight.
Chaffinch - 2 (1)
Dunnock - 6 (0) all pullus from 2 broods each of 3.
Yellowhammer 3 (0) I set a net this morning in an attempt to catch some of 20 or so feeding on grasseed spread about the yard, but only caught 1. Amazing how they can avoid a net.
Tui - 0 (4)
An angry looking male Tui having just been caught for the third time.
Bellbird - 0 (3) all males.

We head back to Christchurch in the morning (Saturday) so there will be no banding for a while. Hope to get back in 2 or 3 weeks.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Queenstown - a touch of yellow

After a couple of days with no banding I have managed to get nets up over the last three. Rather surprisingly the dominant species was Yellowhamer with a sprinkling of some of the other usual suspects. The combined total for the 3 days was 45 birds of 8 species with 30 new and 15 recaptures.

Blackbird - 2 (4) included in the recaps was the oldest recaptured here.
House Sparrow - 9 (1)
Dunnock - 1 (2)
Yellowhamer - 15 (3) 1 of the recaps was banded back in January the others recently.
One of the new Yellowhammers
Goldfinch - 0 (1) this recap was the first  of the species banded here,
Starling - 1 (0)
Tui - 1 (2)
One of the Tui recaps, an adult male.
Bellbird - 1 (2) the new bird was a female, the first caught for a while and helps to address the sex imbalance a little.
The new female Bellbird

Friday, 28 October 2016

Queenstown - the last 3 days

I have managed to get some banding in each day since the last post. The first two were poor but yesterday (Thursday 27th) was a bit more successful. On Tuesday 6 birds were caught, Wednesday a slight improvement at 7 and yesterday 25, not huge but at least an improvement.

The total was 37 birds of 8 species with 13 new and 24 recaptures.
Blackbird - 1 (4)
Song Thrush - 1 (1) the recap was the oldest for the species.
House Sparrow - 5 (10)
Male H Sparrows are looking extremly ha.nsome
Dunnock - 2 (2) one of the recaps is now the oldest of the species caught here.
Chaffinch - 0 (1) this bird is now the oldest of any species caught here. Although it was banded 2 days after the previous record holder, caught on Monday, it was recaptured 3 days later making it older by 1 day.
The recap male Chaffinch, which is at least in its 4th year is probably at its colouful best 
Yellowhammer - 3 (0)
The first Yellowhammer caught was this colourful male
Tui - 0 (4)
Bellbird - ((1)

Monday, 24 October 2016

Queenstown - a quiet start to this trip

Arrived back down here Yesterday afternoon. I put some nets up this morning  to see what was about. The answer was that there was not a lot, at least not where I had the nets. Caught only 6 birds but included were a few interresting ones. One new Blackbird, 1 Tui recap and 4 Chaffinch, 1 new and 3 recaps. The first recap caught, Ap-18449 a male was banded a few days after I started banding here and for a short time was the oldest bird caught here. I then caught AP-18407 another male banded on the first day of banding and the second Chaffinch banded. The last bird of the day was a female Chaffinch AP-18406 the first Chaffinch banded and now the record holder.
The recap Tui, an adult male

The Tui as is usual left his mark, all the blood is mine!

The first bird caught and for a short time a record holder

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Queenstown - trip roundup

We have been back in Christchurch for a couple of days. I managed to get a bit of banding in before we left. Since the last post have caught 30 birds: 8 species with 25 new and 5 recaptures.

Birds caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (1) the recap was banded 15 Sept 15.
Dunnock - 0 (1)
House Sparrow - 1 (2)
Chaffinch - 2 (1) the recap was banded on the first day of banding down here, 12 Sept 15 and is now the oldest recapture of any species here.
Yellowhammer - 1 (1) the recap was a pleasant surprise, didn't make the year but at 313 days still the oldest of the species by quite a margin.

The oldest Yellowhammer, a female.
Silvereye - 9 (1)
Starling - 2 (0)
Bellbird - 0 (1)

As mentioned above I started banding here 12 Sept 2015 and was hoping I might catch the first bird that was over over a year from banding. With a window of about 10 days I had doubts if I would achieve this but ended up catching 7 birds that were over a year from their being banded.
Chaffinch M at 376 & 368 days, also a female just under the year at 364 days.
Blackbird M at 374 days and an F at 368 days.
Silvereye at 372 days
Dunnock at 371 days.
House Sparrow just made the year at 365 days.
Hopefully this time next year I can claim birds 2 years after banding.

Not likely to be back down there again for several weeks so probably no banding for a while.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Queenstown - A few more birds

I have had nets up a number of times since the last post. Have put them up at differant locations in the hope of getting a bit of variety, with some sucess. Caught 41 birds of 9 species with 26 new and 15 recaptures.

Birds caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 4 (0)
Song Thrush - 4 (0) the first new birds since about June.
The first new Song Thrush for a while
Dunnock - 2 (1)
House Sparrow - 6 (6)
Yellowhammer - 2 (0) the first since May

The first Yellowhammer since May. A splended male.
Redpoll - 1 (0) a bit of a surprise, thought it was a Silvereye untill I went to extract it. First since May and calling it a Red Poll a bit of a stretch of the imagination.
The "Redpoll" without a poll
Silvereye - 2 (2)
Tui - 3 (4)
A young female Tui

A bigger Male
Bellbird 2 (2) including the first new female for some time.
The new Female Bellbird