Wellington City biodiversity

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Byrd
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby Byrd » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:47 pm

On my way to work on the bus this afternoon: the flock of feral pigeons which lives by the bus stop at the east end of Courtney Place all took to the air in a tight flock in predator-alert mode, as the bus approached. I looked up (out the window) and saw a falcon swooping overhead. I don't know if it managed to catch a pigeon.
Colin Miskelly
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby Colin Miskelly » Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:16 pm

Perhaps the most surprising finding of 5 weeks of daily lockdown walks in nearby Wellington suburbs (Mt Cook, Brooklyn, Newtown, Te Aro, Mt Victoria) is how few song thrushes there are in this part of Wellington. We have recorded them in only 13 of 72 Atlas lists submitted since 22 March (17%), which is approximately once every 6 days. We have encountered 2 birds during a survey on only a single occasion (i.e. the other 12 records were of single birds), with an overall encounter rate of one thrush per 2 h 44 min of survey effort (total search effort = 38 hours & 10 mins)

It would take a bit of effort to summarise encounter rates for previous years, but we are interested to know if other Wellington birders think there are fewer thrushes around this year.

Note that none of these birds was singing. They are likely to become more conspicuous once they start up.

Regards
Colin & Kate
Davidthomas
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby Davidthomas » Sun Apr 26, 2020 6:13 pm

Don’t worry Colin its not just you! It’s been noticeable down here in Christchurch too. I’ve only seen maybe 4 different birds in the last four weeks of walking around the local area with my sister and her children. And others in ChCh have noticed their absence also. Maybe just the time of year?
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philbattley
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby philbattley » Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:23 am

I've seen other people comment about a lack of thrushes in other groups. They are few and far between in Palmerston North at the moment. I wonder if the dry summer made snails hard to come by?
Phil
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ledzep
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby ledzep » Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:11 am

This Magpie has just turned up in our street in the last few days. Never seen one in our street before, and there are only a few round Wellington (Botanic Gardens, Karori Cemetery area). There aren't many on the Skyline walkway either. This chap seems quite tame, and was even feeding on our back lawn at one stage.
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Jan
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby Jan » Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:39 am

The magpie might have been someone's pet in his youth? There have been thrushes around in Halswell, Chch all summer and at Riccarton racecourse where I used to take the dog for a run [her, not me]. But at the latter place there would be at least 6 Blackbirds to each Thrush. In Halswell there are a number of ponds and small lakes with damp patches of veg. where Thrushes are often seen. I haven't heard any singing yet but one is eating coprosma berries everyday right by the window and there's another out the front gate area. I think they are there all right, but have been a bit inconspicuous in the dry.
Byrd
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby Byrd » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:24 pm

ledzep wrote:This Magpie has just turned up in our street in the last few days. Never seen one in our street before, and there are only a few round Wellington (Botanic Gardens, Karori Cemetery area). There aren't many on the Skyline walkway either.

When I moved to Wellington from the South Island I was really surprised how there were almost no magpies up here. Currently I'm seeing them regularly because a pair has moved into my street in Berhampore, but it's weird to me how rare they are around here.

I was also surprised by the apparent low numbers of chaffinches and hedge sparrows up here. I do see them around Wellington, but it seems like only in certain parts of the city.
Peter R
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby Peter R » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:36 am

I think that ore of the reasons of low numbers of Magpies in Wellington is that the Regional Council has a very effective method of culling them. Of the 5 we banded around Melrose all except 1 was a victim.
Colin Miskelly
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby Colin Miskelly » Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:06 am

Hi Peter

I was aware of the very effective magpie control formerly undertaken within the city by Greater Wellington Regional Council, but wonder if that has ceased in recent years? We have maintained monthly lists of bird species seen or heard from our property in Mt Cook (central Wellington) since moving here from Newtown in mid-2010. The number of months that we recorded magpies per year between 2011 & 2019 was: 7, 12, 12, 9, 8, 6, 6, 11, & 12, and we have recorded them in 4 out of 4 months so far in 2020. We also see magpies regularly in the open grass areas of Prince of Wales Park, Central Park and Wellington College during our daily lockdown walks.

This looks like a pattern of magpie control being turned on and off over the last decade, with perhaps no control undertaken since 2017. I have yet to ask GWRC staff if this has been the case.

Cheers
Colin & Kate
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ledzep
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Re: Wellington City biodiversity

Postby ledzep » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:09 pm

For Colin, we did see a Song Thrush today at Seaforth entrance to Karori Cemetery. Agree with Colin, there aren't that many around in the city, way outnumbered by Blackbirds.

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