Birding in Te Anau

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.
cshearer
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Birding in Te Anau

Postby cshearer » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:58 pm

Hello everyone,

I have been studying on exchange in Palmerston North the past several months--unfortunately only just finding this forum. I am currently preparing to visit Te Anau in over next few days (30/06-2/07) and would greatly appreciate any advice on spotting birds in the area. As I do not have a car, my travel range would be dependent on walking, buses, and possibly tours. In particular, I have been hoping to see a rifleman and would love to know of any areas I should look or tips for spotting them (I have read that they are most common in beech forests in Fiordland, though I am unable to get there for longer stops than the 10-15 min breaks Milford Sound tours allow).

Thank you so much in advance for your advice.

Caroline
Jim_j
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby Jim_j » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:18 pm

Hi Caroline

If you are staying in Te Anau you could walk round the lake and connect up with the Kepler track towards Luxmore Hut - you might see Rifleman higher up closer to the Hut.
Lake Gunn nature walk on the Milford Road is a great spot for birds - Robin, Rifleman, Y/C parakeet and maybe even Yellowhead if you're lucky - not sure if the tour buses stop there but there will be local buses (Trips & Tramps comes to mind) that would drop you off and pick you up (at a price!)
Be VERY cold round there in winter and birds tend to be harder to find that time of year

good luck

cheers
jim
cshearer
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby cshearer » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:29 pm

Hi Jim,

Thank you so much. I will be staying in Te Anau and will definitely walk along the beginning of the Kelper Track as you suggested. I will also look into options around Lake Gunn, spotting any of those birds would be amazing.

Thank you again

Caroline
Davidthomas
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby Davidthomas » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:48 pm

Lake Gunn is fantastic good chance to hear kaka and kea above the valley. Kiosk creek area is also really good for Mohua as this is where they release them into the Eglinton valley.

The lake Tekapo foreshore is also good for all the usual waterfowl including crested grebe. The start of the Kepler is stunning, I’ve seen falcon and rifleman there previously so worth a try. And if you do go up the Milford road, Monkey creek is a fantastic spot for Whio and kea.
cshearer
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby cshearer » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:52 pm

Thank you so much for these suggestions. I’ll absolutely look into them as well!
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CMKMStephens
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby CMKMStephens » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:23 pm

At Te Anau itself, there are a few Great Crested Grebes around the lake front, and quite a few birds in cages or pens at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. There are also redpolls just everywhere: https://imgur.com/a/8QYHZ
cshearer
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby cshearer » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:29 pm

Wow that is amazing. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for redpolls and great crested grebes then!
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David Riddell
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby David Riddell » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:04 am

If you go up to Milford Sound you should be able to find riflemen on the little walks just around the village. There's also things like weka and South Island robin - see this checklist:
https://ebird.org/newzealand/hotspot/L5915447
Ian Southey
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby Ian Southey » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:44 am

Caroline

While you are there it will be cold, especially in the bush, and the days short but if you are persistent you may do fine. If it suits one very good option might be to stay a night or two at Knob's Flat http://www.knobsflat.co.nz/ where you will have the best of the forest birds right at your door. I know the area well enough but not this place. I also don't know what closes for the winter but there may be some good pick and drop of shuttles and buses. These people are one of them https://tripsandtramps.com/ and you should be able to get picked up and put down at suitable places. Milford Sound also has accomodation.

If you plan to head up that way there are a few stops that can be recommended but have lots of clothes.

Ian
cshearer
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Re: Birding in Te Anau

Postby cshearer » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:41 pm

Ian and David,

Thank you both so much for your suggestions. I will be in the Milford area tomorrow and may have the chance to spot a few more birds.

Elated to say, thanks to everyone’s advice, that I was lucky enough to spot a rifleman today. I heard it calling about 10 min from the control gates along the start of the Kepler Track and found it within the next few min (unfortunately there aren’t any pictures to share as I only photograph things with a phone). It was absolutely amazing to be able to watch it moving along the tree trunks. There were even more of them calling and flitting around further along the start of the track. Thank you again for the advice about looking along the track!

I also was able to see quite a few great crested grebes earlier in the morning, a white faced heron, and a male tomtit (right at the start of the Kepler Track) in addition to the regulars.

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