West Waikato Seawatch - July 11

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West Waikato Seawatch - July 11

Postby RussCannings » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:59 pm

In light of the recent Tutukaka stonkers and several days of westerly-ish gales, I figured today might be good for a seawatch from my favoured spot at Ruapuke Rock (Papanui Pt, SW of Raglan). While this isn't the greatest coast to seawatch from, sustained westerlies can bring in the odd bird of note--particularly in winter.

Today started off quite poorly just after arriving at Ruapuke Beach pre-dawn. As I confidently strode across a stream in my gumboots, I soon discovered that this stream was far too deep... 'jandals for the rest of the day it is then... Perhaps this was a sign, as the only bird I saw over the ocean from the main Ruapuke Beach access was 1 Black-backed Gull! I also learned a valuable lesson: You can't patrol a beach for wrecks when there is no beach (high tide/rough swell.... duh). Things perked up when I popped into the Swann Rd Access at the north end of the beach. There was still no beach but in quick succession I scoped a White-capped Albatross, Buller's Albatross, and a gannet. Off to Ruapuke Rock!

I spent about an hour and half above Ruapuke Rock (sure to be a ways away from rogue wave range). Visibility was generally quite good with only a few spits. Unfortunately there were no bait balls (fish work-ups attracting flocks of birds) like my last visit so while there were plenty of Fluttering Shearwaters around, they were quite dispersed and far out. A few gannets fished close to shore but most were at least 3 km offshore. Surprisingly, I only saw a handful of White-capped Albatrosses in my hour+ stint with the only other (non-Flut) tubenose identified being a juvenile Northern Giant Petrel. White-fronted Terns were around as well but quite far out. As an aside, multiple NZ Pipits were at all three carparks I visited here.

Ah well--once again--not a complete shut out so I'll take it! Would love to hear from others on their favourite local seawatching spots.

Russ C
Morrinsville, NZ

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