Colour Banded Tui

Colour Banded Tui
C Banded Tui © Peter Reese

Friday, 27 April 2018

Halswell Quarry - Thu 26 April

We had a good session on Thursday morning at the Halswell Quarry. Caught 26 birds of 7 species, all new except 1. There was a steady flow of birds for most of the morning which was ideal to give the trainees time with each bird. As well as the regular participants we had the company of Andrew's young son who was a keen and enthusiastic assistant.

Birds caught were -
Blackbird - 1
Xavier about to release the Blackbird

And its OFF
Chaffinch - 1 with 1 recap, a bird banded at the last session.
Greenfinch - 3
House Sparrow - 7
Silvereye - 11 we also a couple of recaps but one had just been banded and the other was reluctant to go into a bag and made a premature escape.
Grey Warbler - 1
Fantail - 1

The Fantail had a bad infestation of mite. Possibly due to having been in a 2nd or 3rd brood fledging from the same nest with a subsequent build up of the little beasties. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

Halswell Quarry Thu 12 April - A good morning

A group of trainees and a scribe joined me in a session at the Halswell Quarry on Thursday morning. We had a reasonably successful session catching 24 birds of 6 species with 21 new and 3 recaps.
Most of the team. Sandra our scribe, Eleanor, Ron and Kenny. Andrew was late due to (so he claimed) by work commitments.
House Sparrow - 12, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Grey Warbler & Song Thrush 1 each and Silvereye 5 with 3 recaptures. One of the recaps was banded on our first day at this site so is now our oldest but still just under 200 days.
Eleanor with her first Song Thrush, also received a nice deposit.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Christchurch Halswell Quarry - Thursday

On Thursday morning we had a session at the Halswell Quarry with moderate success. We caught 17 birds of 6 species, all were new and most species were represented by only 1 bird.
Greenfinch 10, (the most caught there in a session) Chaffinch 3 and 1 each of Blackbird, Dunnock, House Sparrow and Silvereye.
Eleanor banding the Silvereye under the watchful eye of our scribe.

We were also joined for a period by a group of school pupils who were given a talk on bird banding and on Ranger work by Andrew and Kenny.

Andrew talking to the school group

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Queenstown - the last banding here for a while

I have had a couple of sessions since the last post. On Wednesday afternoon I put a net up at the Thurlby Domain amongst some very large old fruit trees. This area is a privatly owned old homestead with the original house ruins and the remnants of the garden and orchard. It is about 2.5k from my usual banding sites and I hope to get some indication of bird movement - or lack of.

I caught 27 birds of only 3 species all new. 22 Silvereyes, 1 House Sparrow and 4 Bellbirds. The bellbird were all male with 3 old birds and 1 juvenile, one of the old birds was I think the bigest I have caught with a wing of 96mm and weighed in at 37g.
The wing of an old bird - note the sharp spike on P7
The wing of the young bird - note the lack of the sharp spike.

This site I thnk has huge potential for banding over the next few months.

Yesterday, Friday 30th I put a couple of nets up at the stream with very limited success. Firstly I had trouble getting one of the nets up due to a tangle losing half of an hour ( I blame the person who last used the net - me!). I ended up with 12 birds but with 7 species at least there was some variety. Chaffinch 3, Redpoll 2, Goldfinch 1, Dunnock 1, Silvereye 2, House Sparrow 1, Bellbird 1. All were new.

The Redpols, both males were the first for some time.

The majotity of birds appear to have moved about 10m upstream from where I normally set the nets so I will try a new setup next time. Back to Christchurch in the morning, so no more banding here for a while.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Queenstown Mon 26 March - Bellbirds & Tui

I had nets up yesterday targeting Bellbird and Tui that were coming to sugar water feeders that I have had in position for several days. I was reasonably successful and also caught a few other species as well. Total of 30 birds of 6 species caught with 20 new and 10 recaps.
Dunnock - 1 (2)
House Sparrow - 11 (2)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 1 (0)
Tui - 3 (1) all were juveniles. The old ones have learnt to avoid nets.
One of the young male Tui
Bellbird - 3 (5) The biggest catch of Bellbird I have had and the most recaps in a day. A number of the recaps were recently banded juveniles. It's good to know they are still about and surviving.
A young male Bellbird
I had planned to have another day's banding today but at the moment it's raining steadily so it doesn't look hopeful.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Queenstown - sporadic banding 19/20 March

During the last couple of days I have operated 2 nets when the opportunity arose, furling them between sessions. I was surprised at the number of birds caught as the nets were positioned more for convenience than potential.
Caught 33 birds of 7 species with 24 new and 9 recaptures.
Blackbird - 1 (4) the best catch for a while.
Chaffinch - 6 (0)
Dunnock 1 (3) One of the recaps was banded 14 Sept 2015, the third day of banding here. At 918 days from banding it is now the oldest bird recaptured here.
House Sparrow - 2 (1)
Tui - 0 (1) a recently banded juvenile.
Bellbird - 1 (0) another recently fledged female which was a real bonus, last bird caught.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Queenstown - Some recent banding

 I have had several sessions since the last post. Had a small catch in the neighbour's hen house consisting mostly of House Sparrows. And in the last couple of days I have put nets up at a large pear tree that was attracting a variety of birds to ripe fruit. During this period I caught 54 birds of 8 species, 46 new and 8 recaptures.
Species caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird - 1 (1) There are surprisingly few Blackbirds about at the moment.
Starling - 2 (0)
Chaffinch - 1 (0)
Silvereye - 15 with no recaps which is surprising.
Most of the Silvereyes have now completed or nearly completed their moult
House Sparrow - 18 (2)
Dunnock - 2 (1)
Bellbird - 4 (1)
A juvenile female Bellbird
Tui - 3 (2) All the new birds were juveniles, a couple recently fledged
One of the juvenile Tui, a male the other 2 were female.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Queenstown 14 March - a bit of banding at the stream

We drove down from Christchurch yesterday and will be down here for a couple of weeks getting the place ready for a Grandson's wedding. I put a couple of nets up at the stream at the bottom of the property this afternoon. Managed to catch 21 birds of 5 species, all were new and most juveniles.
Chaffinch - 11 all except 1 were male.
One of the Chaffinch had a very distinct growth bar across its tail. This was also across its wings.
Greenfinch - 4
Silvereye - 3
Bellbird - 2 and a Fantail, the first for a while.
One of the Bellbird, a juvenile male was undergoing its first moult.

The other was an adult female 

The Fantail as usual a fiesty little fellow.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Christchurch - Halswell Quarry - Thur 8 March

On Thursday morning we had a session at the Halswell Quarry and had a very poor catch. Only 5 birds caught, 4 Chaffinch and 1 Silvereye, all new. There were very few birds about in spite of there appearing to be reasonable numbers earlier in the week. Two of the Chaffinch were actually caught twice giving a 50% recapture rate?
Andrew banding one of the Chaffinch

And measuring its wing

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Queenstown - another trip over

We are now back in Christchurch having driven back yesterday. Despite a days rain I managed to get a little banding in since the last post.
On a couple of mornings I put a net up next to some Red Hot Pokers that are in flower next to the drive. I had previously seen half a dozen or so Silvereyes feeding there just after dawn. Managed to catch 20, all except 1were new. The only other bird was a solitary new Song Thrush.
On Monday I had a couple of nets up and caught 13 birds, 6 new and 3 recap House Sparrows, 1 new Tui, 1 new and a recap Bellbird and 1 recap Chaffinch. One of the recap Sparrows and the recap Bellbird were the oldest recaps for their species.
The Tui was a recently fledged male.

The old Bellbird.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Queenstown - Sparrows Galor

We drove down from Christchurch on Tuesday, it was raining when we left and continued for the whole trip and all day Wednesday. Yesterday we woke up to clear skies and Snow on the mountains, this is not supposed to happen in Feb.
To the north Coronet Peak with fresh February snow

And to the south the Remarkables also with fresh snow
I have had a couple of banding sessions of sorts since arriving, On Thursday I caught a few of the birds in the neighbours hen house. Not a lot, a few House Sparrows both new and recaps and 4 Chaffinch recaps. Today (Friday 23 Feb) I had a couple of nets up and banded 34 new birds and made 8 recaptures. By far the majority were juvenile House Sparrows with 28 new and 4 recaps. I probably released as many as I banded as I had to fit in lawn mowing and other chores. Sparrows are still fledging young and there appears to be 100,s about. I doubt if most of these late birds will survive this next winter.
Other birds caught were 4 new and 1 recap Chaffinch, 1 new Greenfinch, 1 recap Bellbird and Dunnock. And 1 new and a recap Tui, the recap was banded as a juvenile a couple of months ago and I was surprised to find it in moult, I catch very few moulting Tui and was not sure if juveniles moulted.
All the new Chaffinch were juveniles


The new Tui was also a juvenile


Thursday, 15 February 2018

Halswell Quarry - 15 Feb

We had another session at the Halswell Quarry in Christchurch this morning. Although it was fairly busy mid morning, overall it was a steady session. We caught 18 birds of only 4 species; all were new. The highlight was catching 2 Fantails. Normally these birds are experts at avoiding nets but these 2 must have miscalculated. Other birds caught were 3 Chaffinch, 6 House Sparrows and 7 Greenfinch.
Eleanor & Andrew banding Greenfinch under the watchful eye of our scribe Sandra

Kenny banding one of the Fantail.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Halswell Quarry 1 Feb - a reasonable morning

At the Quarry this morning we had a reasonable catch despite the threatening weather. With the Ex tropical Cyclone Fihi bearing down we started off with rain which surprisingly cleared enabling us to make a start, even if a bit late. By midmorning the wind was getting up and despite having the nets in a sheltered area they were starting to be affected so we packed up a bit earlier than planned.

We ended up with 25 birds caught of 7 species, 1 each of Blackbird, Song Thrush and Greenfinch. Silvereye 4, Yellowhammer 2, our first for the site, and 13 new and 1 recap House Sparrow.
Most of the team during a quieter spell

The first Yellowhammer

Eleanor with her first Yellowhammer
A feature of the day was the number of interested visitors we had, including one that was found just about to "release" a bird from a net with the aid of a pocket knife.
Some of our visitors watching proceedings, the boys were very interested and all got to release a bird.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Christchurch 25 Jan - a very quiet morning at the Quarry

A small group consisting of Eleanor, Kenny, Jan and I with Sandra as scribe had a very quiet morning yesterday at the Halswell Quarry. In the first hour or so we caught 2 birds and watched as numerous others bounced out or flew over or walked under the nets. Later a few started to "stick" and we ended up with 14 birds, all new. House Sparrows 7, Greenfinch 5 and 1 each of Silvereye and Chaffinch.
Kenny & Eleanor with the first 2 Greenfinch caught while Sandra is busy scribing.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Queenstown - the last few days down here

We are driving back to Christchurch tomorrow so this trip draws to a close. I have done some banding most days since the last post with mixed results. On Fri 13th I had nets up near the house but on the other side of the property from last week, again hoping to catch unbanded Tui. In this I was partly successful catching 4, also another new female Bellbird and heaps of House Sparrows, mostly juveniles.

The new female Bellbird, by the pollen on its head there must be still some flax in flower in the area

On 14 in the morning & 15th in the afternoon I tried my luck at the stream. The numbers caught were a bit below expectation. On the 14th 15 birds all new except 1 recap House Sparrow. The next day even fewer with 12 all new, except a Dunnock and a Sparrow recap. The 2 Sparrow recaps were both banded as unsexed juveniles, 1 in Dec '15 and the other Dec '16. So it is good to now be able to record both as definitely male.
What was originally a scruffy juvenile is now a handsome dude.
Two juvenile Dunnock caught at the stream, 1 on each day had the same deformed looking tarsus on the right leg.



Today, 16 Jan I caught birds in the neighbour's hen house, catching a lot of juvenile Sparrows and recaptured a few. Also recaptured 4 Chaffinch including 1 banded on 12 Sept 2015, the first day of banding here. It is now the oldest recap of any species.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Queenstown - Stream 11 Jan

After a couple of poorer afternoon sessions at the stream recently I decided to have a quick look this morning expecting a quiet time. However not for the first time I was wrong and caught a reasonable number of birds in a short time. A total of 23 birds caught, 19 new and 4 recaps, with 9 species there was also a good variety.

Birds caught were - (recaps in brackets)
Dunnock - 3 (1)
Greenfinch - 4
House Sparrow - 1
Yellowhammer - 0 (1)
Goldfinch - 3 (1) included was the first juvenile for the year and the recap was the oldest recaptured here.
Redpoll - 5 also included the first juvenile.
Chaffinch - 2
Silvereye - 1
Tui - 0 (1)

One of the highlights of the morning was a family of Brown Creeper feeding in the area but unfortunately they stayed too high to get caught.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Queenstown - A couple of quiet sessions

I have had a couple of sessions since the last post. Yesterday afternoon I went down to the stream and this morning I put the same nets up as a few days ago.

Stream 8 Jan PM

With a warm dry day I had expected a reasonable catch however, esp. for the first couple of hours, it was very quiet. Ended up with 17 birds, all new except 1. With 8 species at least there was a bit of variety.
One each of Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch and Yellowhammer, 5 Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 1 new and 1 recap Silvereye. This was the smallest catch of Redpoll at this site for the last few summers. This time last year it was usually between 25 & 30.
The Blackbird aged as a 2 was well into its first full moult.

One of the Greenfinch was the first Juvenile caught this Spring/Summer

The Yellowhammer had moulted all the feathers on the top of its head and was regrowing them all at once.

9 Jan AM

It was probably a mistake to use the same net sites as the other day as I usually find that this reduces the catch and in this case, except for juvenile House Sparrows this proved correct.
Caught 20 birds but only 3 species. Tui 1 new and 1 recap, Bellbird 2 new including the first adult female for some time. And 13 new and 2 recap House Sparrows, all were Juveniles. The session was also shorter than usual due to getting a lunch invitation.
The first adult female Bellbird for a while.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Queenstown - first session for the year 2018

Had the first banding session for 2018 here yesterday, on 5 Jan. Rachel came over from Lake Hawea to join me. The plan was to catch Tui near the house in the morning as there appeared to be an influx of new birds and then in the afternoon catch Redpolls at the stream. The first half of the plan exceeded expectations but the second had to be cancelled due to rain setting in about midday. A good rain would be great but this was only enough to stop the banding and then it stopped.

We caught 23 birds with 11 new and 12 recaps but only 4 species.
Dunnock - 2 recaps one of which was banded as a nestling 2 years ago, so good to know it made it to adulthood.
House Sparrow - 5 new and 3 recaps. Not targeting Sparrows at the moment so these were really bycatch.
Bellbird - 1 new and 3 recaps.
The Bellbird, an adult male getting its bling.
Tui - 5 new and 4 recaptures. This makes 8 new Tui caught in the last week or so, just when I thought I had most of the locals banded. Included in the catch was a newly fledged bird, the first down here.
Rachel with one of "her" Tui

The smaller throat tuft of a second year male

The larger tuft of an older male.