Canterbury Big Year

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.
Davidthomas
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Davidthomas » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:27 pm

Hi Keiran. According to Steve Attwood a local photographer and birder they’re a regular sight in little river and all seem to enjoy roosting togeather. Although they appear to split up and feed in different spots across lake Ellesmere and Forsyth.
rowey
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby rowey » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:34 pm

Learning every day David. Cheers for that.
Davidthomas
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Davidthomas » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:11 pm

Hi all,

Just thought it was timely to post an update given how quiet it’s been recently on the birding front! See attached screenshot of the top listers so far for canterbury. We’re about four months in and there’s still plenty of time for those who’re languishing to catch up or even pass the front runners!

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Sadly it’s getting to the time of year where land birding slows down with duck shooting season and most of the arctic migrants having left. However there’s still plenty of birds out there to be found! I’m planning on focusing on picking up any remaining endemics and introduced birds that I’m missing.

Key ones for me to focus on in the next month are: Chukar, Spotless Crake, Bittern, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Cattle Egret (which should be returning soon from Australia) and the change in season seabirds; such as Black-Browed Albatross, Bullers Albatross, Campbell albatross, Grey faced petrel etc.

Also it’s worth noting there’s a Northern Shoveler drake showing well on the Bromley Oxidation ponds, birds like this are key for a big year as they’re accessible, reliable and hard to come by usually. So I suggest getting onto it quickly, you can see him right from the car! So if you’re in the area get onboard. https://www.birdingnz.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8310

It’s been awesome seeing how everyone’s been getting out and exploring so many parts of Canterbury! Has certainly made me keen to explore more of the area and I’ve already found a few cool spots I’ll try and keep more of an eye on going forward.
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Adam C
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Adam C » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:31 pm

Nice update!

Yeah I have a few easy ones left that I haven't chased hard, Falcon, Black fronted Dott, Shining Cuckoo (heard but Im not counting ;), Tui, Rock Wren, Blue penguin etc. Then it gets harder! Hoping to get kaka, Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, Golden plover, Glossy Ibis, Morepork (seen not heard) but maybe I'll settle for heard come final scores!.... Reef Heron, spotless Crake, Bittern, Chukar + sea birds.

When I first started it I was going to be happy with anything around the 90 mark now I can see over 100 is pretty easy if you set the target. Now the mark is 110.

Thanks to Mr Crossland for kicking this off and everyone thats been sharing info. I used to think these things ruined the fun but Im seeing its actually the opposite 8-) I've been out far more often than I normally would have and I can see come November-Dec I think we'll all be getting out a lot more than might be healthy!! If thats possible ;)

Adam
“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

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andrewcrossland
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:01 pm

And looking at provincial stats, we've collectively placed Canty in a position that isn't too shabby for the year:

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Great effort guys:

and for all years combined, the total of 227 species recorded is pretty good too.

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Also, some hot tips for folks - there was a NZ Falcon reported roosting in a tree at the Botanic Gardens yesterday, near the river between the tennis courts carpark and the hospital.
at least 1 WW Bl Tern and 2 Mute Swans still at Bromley Oxidation Ponds today.
I saw the Whimbrel, Black Stilt and Sanderling at the Ashley Estuary last Tuesday
Also at least 1 Otago (Stewart Island) Shag at Timaru Harbour
cheers
rowey
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby rowey » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:52 pm

Those blimmin WWBTs. Dipped last four(!!!) visits. Certainly none at all on Saturday afternoon. Might be my Bogey Bird. ;) Will keep on trying though I guess. Think it might come down to sea birds really. Adam and my pelagic 2 weeks ago at 6:30am was OK but the 9:30am boat got three(!!) we missed on. Let alone seasonal migrations. All about timing I guess.
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Adam C
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Adam C » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:49 pm

Yeah it's weird with them. A month or so ago there were always a few terns on the west side of the road but usually out in the middle and hard to ID well. After Andrew mentioned the WWBTs were back I drove past a lot but they were always out wide in small groups of 3-5 birds. Then Jack and I got lucky one evening with all the terns feeding right by the road one night in a Southerly. 3 WWBTs and a bunch of BFTs about 20 feet away! Since then they've constantly been feeding in the North/East pond by the estuary (just visible through gaps in the trees from the road) Well, every time I've been past (2-3 times a week with work) It must be all to do with midge hatches but not sure what the cycles are. Would imagine they'd slow right down about this time of year. Been thinking of popping my nose over from the estuary at low tide. Sure Andrew.C might know more.
It's a real shame theres not a public pathway along that estuary edge even if it was well fenced off at least to view those ponds.
Its not the most pleasant experience pulling out scopes and binoculars 3 feet from rush hour traffic!
Last edited by Adam C on Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

Samuel Ullman
Jan
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Jan » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:28 am

This 'top province' thing is a bit spurious I reckon. Canterbury is streets away bigger than every other province and so it has lots more habitat types than say Auckland or Wellington although they probably have greater numbers of bird spotters than we do. You could say it's harder for us to cover all our area but we seem to know the best spots for elusive species, so I'm not sure that's true.
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GrahameNZ
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby GrahameNZ » Wed May 01, 2019 1:28 pm

Just back from a trip to the Oxidation Ponds to see what has stayed around after Mondays wind.
The Nthn Shoveler and his girlfriend were still there.
Only one Mute Swan and no Terns.

Northern-Shoveler_GNZ20190501-0054.jpg
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Jan
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Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Jan » Wed May 01, 2019 2:12 pm

Hi Grahame, I was there this morning, about 11-ish. Also saw the northern gentleman - he appeared with 3 others in tow from the back of the little island in that 1st pond nearest you on the left. It was also the first time I've seen all those Little Black Shags (8) roosting together on the little wall-thing at the edge of the pond.
The dog has a broken bone in her foot and we are immobilised for 6 wks as she can't be relied on not to destroy her cone and bandages if left alone. Still wants to hurl down the garden, splint and all, after those darn rabbits. Good job those birds can be seen from the car, or bike.

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