Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

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Michael
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Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby Michael » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:45 am

We weren't confident. It didn't seem possible. In fact, we hardly believed Russell had 58 species using only public transport! But there were no records for the North Island, so George and I struck out in an attempt to establish a North Island Public Transport Big Day Record, and walked out on 62 species!

We started at Zealandia at 8 o'clock, walking in knowing what to expect after an 'hour off' the day before. We got all the shags and all of the bush birds in the time we were there, as well as four duck species and just seven introduced bird species. The miss of the morning was bellbird which were nowhere to be found. Walking up the street to catch the #3, we added Rock Dove and Thrush, but Starling remained evasive.

We bussed on down to the center of town where we caught the ferry over to Day's Bay. We added White-Fronted Tern, Fluttering Shearwater, Spotted Shag, Variable Oystercatcher and Little Penguin. The pier gave us Welcome Swallow, and #83 got us down to Nikau Street and Eastbourne. Here we added Green and Goldfinches, Banded Dotterel (two adult males and two juvies), two bellbirds (good for the area) and Starling.

From here we headed back over to the Hutt Estuary, which was a waste of time due to tides and mass of peoples. We got Black Swan and Spur-Winged Plovers though, and whilst these may not be vital species it means we can give more time to looking out for real rarities such as White-Faced Heron and Magpie.

Continuing on #83, we jumped off at Wellington Station and headed on to New World, where I collected a Potato-Top Pie and a bag of chips. Getting back to the focus of the day we jumped on the train (don't worry, no real jumping, more of a leisurely walk) and headed on for Plimmerton. We picked up White-Faced Heron on the way, but other than that all very quiet.

We got to Plimmerton on 45, but harsh weather and mistimed tides resulted in very few birds. A quick scan of the gulls (the Laughing has taught us to never be too casual) brought up nothing interesting, surprisingly.

We re-boarded the train, now 30 minutes ahead of schedule and got Magpie, Pukeko and Harrier on our way to Waikanae. A mini heart-attack got us at Waikanae after we walked out of the gas station to collect supplies and saw a bus parked by the stop! We rushed over only to find that the driver was just early and waiting till it was time to go.

We arrived at the ponds near Waikanae and immediately the birds began to roll in. We had two geese species and shoveler immediately after disembarking the bus, and it just kept going! We added Grey Teal, Skylark, Caspian Tern, Pied Stilt, and Albatross sp. from the spit and surrounds, and a real highlight was a Black-Billed Gull which is uncommon in the area. There were also two voc chicks, but dogs ran through them and freaked out the parents :evil: . Fortunately the dogs followed the adult birds who were in flight over the the water which was a little chilly for their liking!

We walked along the boardwalk in an effort to break Russell's record of 58, and we were on 57! Pheasant brought us level, and the Fernbird blew us over! What a way to crack a record - at least 6 Fernbird and some giving good views. It was great to see, but we weren't done yet, so we carried on!

Coot and Dabchick on the Takahe Street ponds got us up to 61 at 6:15, and as we'd missed the bus, tried for crake at Manly Street. We had no luck, but managed to catch this one! We were happy to see Sharon at Paraparaumu Station and she gave us directions to a Yellowhammer spot. However, with the next train quite a fair way after our 7 minute away one we decided that it was best not to risk it!

On the way home we got Spoonbill feeding at Pautahanui and ended on 62! As we'd broken the record, we decided to end it there and request a lift home, rather than a 26 minute wait for the bus. We did, however, marvel at the Starlings going to roost in the CBD before our driver arrived and were reminded of documentaries of similar spectacles in Rome. However, no Falcons showed up :( .

Cheers,
Michael
Latest Lifer: Rowi @ Okarito

Happy birding to all who dare to take the challenge
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CMKMStephens
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Re: Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby CMKMStephens » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:54 am

Neat; as someone limited to public transport this is interesting.

I was at Waikanae last weekend. Where in the area would you expect to find Fernbird and more interestingly, Crake (never seen one)?

Looks like you missed out on Wrybill, a pair were on the spit last weekend: http://imgur.com/a/asdB7 Maybe all the dogs chasing them drove them off.
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George Hobson
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Re: Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby George Hobson » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:31 am

CMKMStephens wrote:Neat; as someone limited to public transport this is interesting.

I was at Waikanae last weekend. Where in the area would you expect to find Fernbird and more interestingly, Crake (never seen one)?

Looks like you missed out on Wrybill, a pair were on the spit last weekend: http://imgur.com/a/asdB7 Maybe all the dogs chasing them drove them off.

Hello,

Thanks :)
Fernbirds are on the Otaihanga board walk (starting here https://goo.gl/LcgMOi), I believe crakes have been seen all around the area as have bittern.
Latest lifer: Shore Plover [152] at Miranda!
Jim_j
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Re: Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby Jim_j » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:10 pm

Hey Michael - pretty impressive - I'd be interested to see your full list - to see what else is likely.
(You would need much help from the bird gods to get any crakes or a bittern at Waikanae)

cheers
jim
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Michael
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Re: Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby Michael » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:46 am

https://docs.google.com/document/d/15im ... sp=sharing

Here is our list Jim. We missed Yellowhammer, Pipit and Gannet, so it'll be easy to overtake us!!

Good luck for all who dare to,
Michael
Latest Lifer: Rowi @ Okarito

Happy birding to all who dare to take the challenge
Jim_j
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Re: Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby Jim_j » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:03 pm

Thanks Michael.
Yeah surprised you didn't get the gannet - with the train ride up the coast as well

If you did it again....
Whip up the hills at Days Bay for rifleman & tomtit
Stop at Porirua (scenic reserve) maybe y/c parakeet
Jump off at Pukerua Bay for Reef Heron & Pipit
And a bit more time at the Waikanae Estuary might have got you more than a couple of the migrant waders and maybe even one of the less common tern species

cheers
jim
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RussCannings
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Re: Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby RussCannings » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:22 pm

Was out of the country when this happened so finally reading the report now--well done boys! Another jump in the record and a challenge for some future transiters!

Russ C
Cambridge, NZ
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Liam Ballard
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Re: Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby Liam Ballard » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:51 pm

Is someone keeping track of all these records? Just for future big days.
Liam Ballard

Latest lifer: Curlew Sandpiper

http://dippinginparadise.blogspot.co.nz/
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RussCannings
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Re: Public Transport Big Day Record - 62 species!

Postby RussCannings » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:19 pm

I sort of am. Might make a website/blog at some point.

Russ

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