Well our 16-day NZ birding extravaganza winds to a relaxing close in Stewart Island. We had a great time and finished up (barring any last-minute additions) with a total of 124 species. Very happy considering we did not spend any time looking for a number of Australia-shared and introduced species.
We started North of Auckland in Tawharanui where our only miss was NI Brown Kiwi as my dad was not keen to stay out too late. Saw Kaka, Brown Teal, Takahe, NZ Dotterel on the way there and a number of the widespread NZ endemics.
Day 2 was Tiritiri where we got everything we were hoping for except Rifleman but knew we’d get those later in South Island. Great views and photos of Fernbird in the scrub by Brown Teal Pond. Our only slight disappointment was poor views of Kokako as some general public came along and disturbed it just as it was coming closer but at least we saw it.
Morning of day 3 we headed out on the early ferry to Rangitoto where we found our target with ease just to the north side of the causeway - a beautiful pair of Shore Plover with a chick. On the the drive North we stopped for a fairly distant view of Fairy Tern which was a new bird for my Dad who lives in the UK but not for me being from Australia.
Next we hit the Hauraki Gulf pelagic where we were cursed with good weather but still managed to get a decent enough list of birds including a last-gasp-stop NZ Storm Petrel.
A morning visit to Pureora gave us great views of NI Robin and some more Kaka but only heard YC Parakeet and no LT Cuckoo heard. Turangi, however, delivered my long-time bogey bird - Blue Duck. The local pair were sitting out in full view when we arrived with duckling. Small victory dance performed and new Blue Duck song composed on the spot...
We then hammered down to Wellington with a brief, unsuccessful stop at Massey Uni for Falcon. Went on the Zealandia night walk and got some nice views of a couple of LS Kiwi. Went to bed tired but happy.
Next morning we returned to Zealandia and after some confusion with the guy on the desk thinking I was asking about Falconry we saw a Falcon almost as soon as we got inside the sanctuary soaring above the trees on the LHS. Nice relaxing walk around the Lake Loop with great views of Stitchbird, Robin, Saddleback, Kaka, Brown Teal etc. before heading to the ferry.
General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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