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Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:27 am
by Tim Barnard
Cheers Erik,
Just a word of encouragement for those heading out or thinking about it this weekend. This really is a remote spot. Driving cross-country along the ridges and down gravel roads, with occasional rain showers, it did feel a hopeless trip. But the end of Nolan Road is almost a little micro-climate on its own. It's a sheltered valley, protected from the westerlies. It contains quite diverse habitat: garden, rough grass, shrubs, pond, including pockets of natives and exotics (eucs) etc. I can understand why its lingering in the area. There is a lot of bird life around including three or four Shining cuckoos calling yesterday.

I did meet the finder and had a chat. He does believe still days are key, yesterday he said, was the best for some time.

It certainly isn't into sitting up and still. He confirmed it moves from cover to cover quite fast ... that seems to be the pattern. There and gone.

Not easy.

Good luck!


Just for the record, I entered via Glen Garry and Matakitaki Road ... I saw more flocks of Turkeys than I've seen for a long time, a Peacock was displaying to seven peahens by the road, and I came across a flock of 8 Guinea Fowl in the middle of absolutely nowhere. A surreal day in more ways than one.

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:47 am
by RussCannings
Thanks for the update Tim, sounds like there'll be a few people out there today (myself included). 021994156

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:13 am
by phil hammond
Great that you saw it Tim, and encouraging for those of us that have dipped so far
including those of us that were there in the afternoon.

Glad to hear that more birders are going, although I cant go again this weekend. Who knows you might be in the right place at the right time and looking in the right direction!!

The place where Tim saw it, was the same place that the local birder saw it a week or so earlier. Other earlier sightings by locals have been elsewhere in the last half km or so of Nolan rd

So far several people have tried playing it's call without success

Good luck to those going this weekend

Where is it when not being seen??

Phil Hammond
Wrybill Birding Tours NZ
"great Birds Real Birders"

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:17 am
by phil hammond
p.s.---there is no phone coverage around most of the site

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:25 am
by phil hammond
pps much less exciting, but if anyone is interested in Sulphur crested Cockatoos, I've seen them there on 3 visits

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:17 pm
by Neil Fitzgerald
Good job Tim! Well done everyone else who has tried unsuccessfully as well. Keep trying.
Thanks to those who eventually got the sighting out here, but I have to ask the question I'm sure a lot of people are thinking; why the communication breakdown and delay making it public? BirdsNZ publishes sightings posted here (and from elsewhere), and that's great, but we shouldn't have to wait for the next magazine to read about a mega like this. If there is something we can do to foster better exchange of info I am genuinely interested to hear ideas.

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:47 pm
by Michael Szabo
This question is best directed to Sav, who first reported the sighting to this group and is a member of the Birds New Zealand Records Appraisal Committee, and the Birds New Zealand South Auckland branch.

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:35 pm
by Colin Miskelly
Hi all

I am not familiar with the full story of who was aware of this bird, and when, but I can explain a bit about how the Records Appraisal Committee operates, and how you all as members of the birding community can potentially benefit from information submitted to the RAC (and your Birds New Zealand membership).

When a record is received by the RAC secretary, it is assessed as to whether it is a reportable species at that location. If it is, it is assigned a unique UBR record, and a summary of information about the UBR is posted on a public website, where you can all see it:

The information posted includes the UBR number, the date first seen, the general location, and the species reported.

A copy of the UBR is provided to the relevant Birds New Zealand Regional Representative within days of receipt (the RAC secretary is not able to be online 24/7), and every 2 months a batch of UBRs is sent to RAC members for assessment. Please note that the summary information on each UBR will have been posted on the above website for up to 2 months before RAC members receive the actual submission that the summary record is based on.

In this case, the submission was made as a different species (a woodswallow), but by the time the submission was sent to RAC members in early September, a photograph of the bird had already been shown at a South Auckland Birds New Zealand meeting, where the bird was identified as a possible black-faced cuckoo-shrike.

The actual information submitted to the RAC is confidential, although in many cases the submitter is happy to share the information. Examples of this are many of the contributors to this forum, who often post images and information on sightings of reportable species on this forum before a UBR is submitted. A non-birder may also be happy for their images to be posted here on their behalf, provided this is done independently of the RAC process.

If you wish to know more about a UBR that has been posted on the UBR website, the best person to contact is your local RR. Depending on the contact information within the UBR, they may be in a position to contact the submitter (and potentially the landowner, who may be the same person) to find out if birders are able to visit the site. Please note that RRs should not offer an opinion on the identity of a bird from information contained in a UBR submission - that is the role of the RAC. But if a photograph of a vagrant bird is shown to an RR or any birder via a different channel (e.g. this forum, or at a public meeting), anyone can offer an opinion on its identity.

Nga mihi
Colin Miskelly
RAC convener

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:40 pm
by Tim Barnard
I am immensely grateful to Sav for posting this. Ordinarily its not the role of the RAC to alert birders to rarities - this is an exception.

I know people prefer different platforms to share birding info but I do ask that when it comes to rarities, birders continue to use this site. Neil you have created a great resource and it has served us all well for a long time now so lets continue to share data as openly as we can.

Over the years I have found a lot of birds and have taken a lot of satisfaction in helping people find them. I try to get news out as fast as possible as many of you know. For one reason or another, the finding of this bird got lost for many and quite genuine reasons.

All I ask, is that in future, even the most speculative of calls are posted here ... then it is the decision of each of us whether or not to pursue them ...

Re: MEGA - Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Waikato.

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:03 pm
by RussCannings
Update from today (Saturday):

5 of us were on site for most of the day. I left around 2pm after no sightings and I'm assuming the others stayed on for a while (presumably without success as I haven't heard from them). Still a very pleasant day to be out there in the back country. Nice to get my first Shining Cuckoo of the season and 3 cockatoos just as I was leaving. Around 30 species just for the road end area so a lovely spot for country birding. The local landowners are all very friendly and gracious which is always a bonus.