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.
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1382
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:57 am

Hi folks, it sounds like a decent start was made yesterday for a number of Canty Big Yearers - I picked up 44 species around Victoria Park, Governors bay and the Kaituna Lagoon area of Lake Ellesmere. No arctics seen but an impressive assemblage of waterfowl including Black Swans from horizon to horizon! 4630 of them in fact!

Niall and Phil Crutchley did some sea watching from the eastern side of Banks Pen and picked up an interesting array of seabirds, incl 3 species of albatross, Huttons Shearwaters and Arctic Skua.

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Bev Alexander
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:06 pm

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Bev Alexander » Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:48 am

Hi, Happy New Birding Year to you all.
I was out in the Selwyn district yesterday & saw that the 3 Cattle Egrets are still on Timber yard Rd, Lakeside. Also saw 2 Barbary Doves at the Ellesmere cemetery, among other species. Looking forward to your challenge Andrew. It certainly gets us Birders out & about to places we would not normally visit. Happy & safe birding. Bev.
Davidthomas
Posts: 1131
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:05 am

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Davidthomas » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:40 pm

I was looking at the maps, and it appears that the Otira valley is within canterbury, atleast mostly anyway. So Rock Wren is certainly a decent possibility! I thought I would have to try and find them elsewhere in Arthur’s Pass or maybe Mount Cook
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1382
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:19 pm

Yep, indeed, I was trying to give away some clues about this in my second post above!

But, interestingly, not only does that little Cantabrian enclave on the "other" side of the main divide have the most accessible Rock Wren and Blue Duck in the region, it also has the only known Fernbird population in Canterbury (although they could be in the alpine zone elsewhere?). I've seen them at least 4x in 30 years in the area marked in yellow on the map below - in the dense scrub zone. Most recently 2-3 years ago. Hopefully efforts this birding BIG YEAR (and the Birds NZ mapping project to come shortly) will result in people reconfirming the presence of small populations of uncommon species like this, as well as encourage new searches in potentially good habitat elsewhere.....

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Davidthomas
Posts: 1131
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:05 am

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby Davidthomas » Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:26 pm

Ahhh is that where the fernbird were. I was thinking they’d be likely in one of the scrubby areas somewhere in the Mackenzie basin. But I’ve never tried to look for them there.

One other tip I will give, is I’ve seen Marsh crake in the swampy areas around Turkey flat on the walk up the Waimak, although they’re present in a few spots in and around Christchurch itself
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1382
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:45 pm

Travis wetland is also a good spot for marsh and spotless crake, as well as bittern. Access off the main tracks isn’t usually possible (otherwise the site would be over run) but we can potentially offer access opportunities by arrangement. In the past we’ve occasionally had birds of interest to many birders (the long visiting glossy ibis, a pectoral sandpiper, brown teal, and a couple of daylight appearing marsh crakes were well known examples). If during 2019 we have a repeat of an easy to see crake etc in a place where there is a good chance for people to see without any problems I’ll talk to the Travis rangers and see if we can arrange opportunity for people to get some quiet views.
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1382
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:52 pm

Just a "hot tip" that Cirl Buntings were seen yesterday around near the Telecom cell phone tower at Victoria Park, Cashmere, Christchurch. They were around the pines on the north side of the dog park.

If not found there, try the track that leads down slope between the planted back boundaries of houses and the stand of native shrubs within the reserve. This is a pic of the track. In recent years a pair has frequented this location. Formerly there were up to 4 pairs, that were often on the roadside along the internal Victoria Park Rd. Now only 1 pair appear to remain and they can be pretty hard to find, but its worth checking out at different months of the year until you get lucky!

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Last edited by andrewcrossland on Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1382
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:04 pm

So, some stats after the first 3 days of the Canterbury bird year - and I'm sure this will change after today's birding in perfect summer conditions:

Canterbury has bolted away to lead the provincial scoreboard:

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and there's fierce competition as the birders leave the starting gates and go collecting easy initial ticks!!
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Last edited by andrewcrossland on Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1382
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:47 pm

Just a hot tip that the 2 Barbary Doves that Bev posted about at Ellesmere Cemetery were still there tonight - hiding in pines behind the RSA plot, and the 3 Cattle Egrets on farmland along Timberyard Point Rd with cows and White-faced Herons were also present. Thanks Bev!!
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andrewcrossland
Posts: 1382
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Canterbury Big Year

Postby andrewcrossland » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:51 pm

Crikey, we're rocketing away - go fellow Cantabrian Bird yearers!

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