Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

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ourspot
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Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

Postby ourspot » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:30 am

Me and my son Zef went to Blumine Island last week and got great views of a pair Orange-fronted Parakeets. We had 4 hours on the island and thought we were going to miss it as we still hadn't seen any when the boat was due at 3.30 - luckily the boat got held up by half an hour and the parakeets flew in right on cue just as the boat was pulling in - nice timing.

You can either go with Eko Tours where you get about 1.5 hours on the island, or another option where you get longer on the island is the 'Cougar Lines' water taxi service which will drop you off and pick you up at set times of the day and you'll have more time to explore. They currently have 3 departures with the earliest being at 8am (which would get to the island at about 9.15) and then 3 pickups in the afternoon (we got the 3.30pm). You can end up with nearly 8 hours on the island. Cougarline were $65 each way. If you talk nicely to the skipper he'll swing past the small King Shag colony (was 12 birds when we went past) at the south end of Blumine.

And if you timed it right you could even get dropped at Blumine in morning, picked up around lunch and then dropped at Motuara Island for a short stint there.
Orange-fronted Parakeet_Blumine Island_Nov19_FB_IMG_8594.jpg
Orange-fronted Parakeet_Blumine Island_Nov19_FB_IMG_8594.jpg (497.9 KiB) Viewed 392 times
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

Postby Michael Szabo » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:04 am

Cougar Lines are the better option. I had a bad experience with Eko Tours and know of two other people that had that too. Eko Tours changed the arrangements on them once they had flown down there from Auckland via Wellington and the Cook Strait ferry. It meant they did not get out to Blumine Island despite paying a small fortune in travel and accommodation. Eko Tours tried to change the terms of the agreement on me and told me there were no other operators. Then I found out about Cougar Lines via the Picton i-Site and they offered a better deal that gave me more time on the island with along 2 visiting birding friends. We saw OFP and all the other species expected there during a one day visit on our own plus we saw King Shags at the roost site at the south end of Blumine Island on the way there and back. So, we had no need to go to Motuara Island which has a smaller selection of species anyway.
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ourspot
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Re: Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

Postby ourspot » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:21 pm

Yeah we used Cougar Line specifically cos you got so much more time. I didn't like the limit of 1.5 hours (that Eko Tours give you) to explore the island so was glad when found out about the other option.

Other great thing is they aren't dictated by numbers as they go regardless, like a bus service (except when conditions are too rough to get you off onto the island - there's no jetty). A good slick, helpful operation, apart from the second time we called Cougar and we got a newbie on the phone who said they don't go to Blumine, so I told here to check with her boss :)
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Re: Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

Postby wazzagonewild » Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:38 pm

Very great advice for the next time I go, thank you!

I went with E-Ko tours because I wasn't aware of any other options, and honestly was a bit underwhelmed. We didn't look for King Shags at all (perhaps they did after I was dropped at Blumine), didn't bother stopping for the artic skua that I pointed out, and we arrived back in Picton 30 minutes earlier than scheduled, not to mention the laminated bird ID cards that they have on the boat with incorrect photos of orange-fronted parakeet and arctic skua.

Sounds like Cougar Line is the way to go if you want to get a good visit to Blumine!
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

Postby Michael Szabo » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:09 pm

Yes, I asked their skipper if he would stop at the King Shag roost for us and he said 'Yes, no problem'.
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Re: Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

Postby boneywhitefoot » Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:36 am

what are the chances of seeing Yellow Heads on the Island, please ?
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ourspot
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Re: Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

Postby ourspot » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:49 am

I didn't see (or hear) any Yellowheads when I was there but they are on the island so you could be lucky. Other people see them there so it's the usual right place right time sort of thing that birding is :)
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Re: Orange-fronted Parakeet on Blumine Island, and options to get there

Postby boneywhitefoot » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:17 pm

Taaaaa
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