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Bird Counts in Kennedy's Bush Scenic Reserve, Port Hills, Christchurch

TitleBird Counts in Kennedy's Bush Scenic Reserve, Port Hills, Christchurch
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsFreeman, AND
Type of Articlepaper
Keywordsabundance, movements, native bush, passerines, Seasonal occurrence

Between March 1992 and February 1993, 222 five-minute stationary bird counts were conducted at 12 sites in the Kennedy's Bush Scenic Reserve on Christchurch's Port Hills. Over the period of the survey, 22 species of bird were recorded in or flying over the reserve. The seven most frequently recorded species were Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis), Grey Warbler (Gerygone igata), Bellbird (Anthornis m. melanura), Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa), Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), Blackbird (Turdus merula) and Redpoll (Acanthis flammea). Kennedy's Bush does not contain a high diversity of native bush birds compared to some other mainland sites. Native species also appear less abundant in Kennedy's Bush than in continuous, climax forest sites near Reefton. Kennedy's Bush does, however, support high numbers of some species such as Silvereye, Grey Warbler, Fantail, Bellbird and Shining Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx l. lucidus) compared to sites at Kowhai Bush, Kaikoura. The autumn peak in numbers of Silvereye recorded at Kennedy's Bush may result from flocks of migrating birds, some of which may move out of the reserve for the winter months. The numbers of Grey Warbler, Bellbird and Blackbird recorded probably reflect seasonal changes in conspicuousness rather than a change in actual numbers; adults are probably resident in the reserve year round. As in other parts of Canterbury, Fantail numbers were severely reduced by the heavy snow-falls of August 1992. Bellbird numbers were also reduced by the heavy snow-falls. Spring brought high numbers of Chaffinches to the reserve and summer brought high numbers of Redpolls, both of which were apparently absent or in very low numbers during winter. Small numbers of Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) and Greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) also appear to occur in Kennedy's Bush only during the summer months. Of particular interest were records of two rarer Port Hills birds, Tomtits (Petroica m. macrocephala) and New Zealand Pigeons (Hemiphaga n. novaeseelandiae). Tomtits were recorded on only two occasions over the survey period. By 1997, however, this species appeared to be resident in the reserve. New Zealand Pigeons were recorded in Kennedy's Bush in small numbers throughout the year and may breed there.

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