Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

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zarkov
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Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby zarkov » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:59 pm

Walking the short track at Dillon Bell in Pelorus Sound today I heard what I thought was a Shining Cuckoo, then saw what I'm pretty sure were several Yellow Heads.

I understand there was a release of Yellowhead in the Sounds .

From what I can see online is it likely it was a long tail Cuckoo I heard?

Is this sighting significant to anyone?
Jim_j
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby Jim_j » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:15 pm

I'd say it was pretty significant!
As far as I know there are only 3 places that have or had Yellowhead in the Sounds (in the last 50 years or so) - Bluemine & one of the Chetwode islands and an original population on Mt Stokes that was wiped out by rats some time ago.
Not sure where that track is in relation to any of those sites - Yellowhead aren't supposed to be great at dispersing across water - but I suspect they will if circumstances dictate.
There is also the possibility that it is a local relict population.
Definitely should go in ebird and probably an email to the local Doc office.
Cheers Jim
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RussCannings
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby RussCannings » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:39 am

What exactly did you hear? Shining and LT cuckoo calls are much different to my ear. Or was its association with the possible yellowheads that gave you that suspicion?

As for the yellowheads, that would indeed be a significant record. Can you describe in more detail what you saw and heard? How many birds? Behaviour? Calls? Habitat?
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zarkov
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby zarkov » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:00 pm

RussCannings wrote:What exactly did you hear? Shining and LT cuckoo calls are much different to my ear. Or was its association with the possible yellowheads that gave you that suspicion?

As for the yellowheads, that would indeed be a significant record. Can you describe in more detail what you saw and heard? How many birds? Behaviour? Calls? Habitat?



The call I thought was perhaps a Cuckoo wasn't like Shining Cuckoo calls I've heard in Turangi, being one note with a rising inflection, I thought initially it was a Starling since there's a few in the area, but the short walk is heavily wooded and it seemed out of place. I never saw the bird, but when I saw what I'm sure were Mohua [a group of 5], I just made the connection with the earlier call, I don't really know if my id is correct, and anyway it seemed late in the year to hear one down here.

The Mohua/Yellowheads I saw in flight seemed a bit bigger than Yellowhammers, less Sparrowlike if you know what I mean, were in a group as opposed to a larger flock and were in a remnant of unmodified native forest on a heavily trapped peninsular not far from a earlier release site in Pelorus Sound. I'd say that my id of them is correct. Birdsonline is emphatic about the habitat difference.

http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/yellowhead

https://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap/nz4 ... ell-Point/

https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national ... ugh-sounds
Roblyn
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby Roblyn » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:58 pm

Is it possible your ‘cuckoo’ was a greenfinch? They have a harsh one-note call that could be mistaken for a Long-tailed cuckoo. And is it possible a greenfinch was mistaken for a yellowhead?
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zarkov
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby zarkov » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:28 pm

No.
Jim_j
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby Jim_j » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:44 am

I can't speak for Zarkov but he is a regular contributor to this site so I have little doubt as to his observation.

To me the only bird that you would could confuse with a Yellowhead is a Brown Creeper as they have similar movements and calls.
I have never seen a Yellowhammer in the bush but they move and behave quite differently to Yellowhead.

As a matter of interest some years ago there was an article in the AirNZ flight magazine of all places telling the story of a property purchased in the Sounds where the owner has discovered a population of Yellowhead. I assumed Yellowhammer - but it was in bush so I flicked an email to Peter Gaze at Nelson DoC (who published a detailed report in Notornis on Yellowhead distribution in the 80's) - who had actually seen the report and was hoping to get someone to follow up.
The property in question was on the mainland opposite to the Chetwode Islands - where the population of Yellowhead introduced from the Dart Valley did not appeared to have succeeded as few birds could be found after a survey.......
The distance from the Chetwodes to the mainland is outside the known distance for Yellowhead dispersal but draw your own conclusion...!

Cheers Jim
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RussCannings
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby RussCannings » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:52 pm

zarkov wrote:
RussCannings wrote:What exactly did you hear? Shining and LT cuckoo calls are much different to my ear. Or was its association with the possible yellowheads that gave you that suspicion?

As for the yellowheads, that would indeed be a significant record. Can you describe in more detail what you saw and heard? How many birds? Behaviour? Calls? Habitat?


Thanks Zarkov. Did the birds vocalise at all? How did they move through the trees? Mohua are very much like Whitehead and Creeper in that they are quite vocal when moving in groups, giving constant burry chatters and whistles as they slowly work through the canopy, gleaning as they go. Is this what the birds were doing? There are always exceptions to the rule but any more notes appreciated, even on the look of the birds too (not just the size)--in other words did their tail appear too short for yellowhammer? Any more detail about definite fieldmarks observed is all helpful.

We get the odd random report of yellowhead on eBird in the upper south island but it's often hard to fully substantiate them.

Cheers,

Russ
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zarkov
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby zarkov » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:04 pm

RussCannings wrote:
zarkov wrote:
RussCannings wrote:What exactly did you hear? Shining and LT cuckoo calls are much different to my ear. Or was its association with the possible yellowheads that gave you that suspicion?

As for the yellowheads, that would indeed be a significant record. Can you describe in more detail what you saw and heard? How many birds? Behaviour? Calls? Habitat?


Thanks Zarkov. Did the birds vocalise at all? How did they move through the trees? Mohua are very much like Whitehead and Creeper in that they are quite vocal when moving in groups, giving constant burry chatters and whistles as they slowly work through the canopy, gleaning as they go. Is this what the birds were doing? There are always exceptions to the rule but any more notes appreciated, even on the look of the birds too (not just the size)--in other words did their tail appear too short for yellowhammer? Any more detail about definite fieldmarks observed is all helpful.

We get the odd random report of yellowhead on eBird in the upper south island but it's often hard to fully substantiate them.

Cheers,

Russ


Hi Russ,

I'd like to leave the Cuckoo call out of it, since I didn't hear a repeat, I was being followed by other passengers from the Pelorus Mailboat excursion, so had to move on.

I only saw what I'm sure now [having looked at alternatives online] were Yellowheads after they took flight [as usual], and it was fleeting glance, but I'm 95% sure they were Yellowheads. [I've seen Whiteheads at Waikaremoana], and was struck by these birds strong overall yellow colouring. Definitely not Brown Creeper or Yellowhammer and given the location, and a release at:
Nukuwaiata Island in the Marlborough Sounds fits with the sighting, I'd say that's indeed what they were.

I'll flick a notification to the local DOC branch and let you know what comes back.

Regards,

Oliver.
Bill F Cash
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Re: Yellowheads and Cuckoos in the Marlborough Sounds.

Postby Bill F Cash » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:55 am

Dillon Bell is a very popular deep water mooring, there is a good level benched track around to Jacobs Bay where there is a jetty and campsite. Although the shoreline is well visited but, the country behind is rugged, Mt Stanley at 971m is not far away.
Mt.Stokes is some distance away and on the other side of the Pelorus Sound. At 1203m it is quite a bit higher than Mt.Stanley and the surrounding area. If stoats and rats eradicated mohua from Mt.Stokes it is highly unlikely that they survived at a lower altitude around Mt.Stanley.
The Chetwode Is population of mohua were transferred over 20yrs ago and although still present the population is still very low and there future uncertain.
Blumine Is mohua transferred in 2013 and the transfer has been successful, although I doubt if the population is close to its maximum. Blumine Is is even further away in Queen Charlotte Sound.
When mohua were transferred from the Dart to Chetwodes the majority just disappeared,where to who knows. In the Sounds beech forest in places extends down to the shoreline, this is one place. Mohua prefer beech forest and they do move down from the tops in winter so maybe just maybe.
But first we need to confirm either way, hopefully I can get dropped off there sometime in the near future..

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