Warkworth area birding highlights

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Warkworth area birding highlights

Postby RussCannings » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:00 pm

Hi all,

Just recently returned from 5 great days up in the Leigh area (east coast from Warkworth). This was primarily a family vacation but naturally we got out to experience some of the fabulous birding and outdoors opportunities in this area. Surprisingly we didn't luck into any Kookaburras however we never dedicated any time during the morning or evening to specifically target them. Below are some highlighted locations and birding summaries.

Tawharanui Regional Park--Always a fabulous place to visit. This mainland predator free sanctuary is heaving with birds, even during the busy summer beach-goer season. While we missed Takahe, Saddleback and Bellbird were in abundance and very vocal with lots of juveniles around. One Brown Teal seen poking around on Anchor Beach itself (Not far from the numerous beach punters), and another loner was way up the Ecological Trail" where a footbridge crosses the narrow creek. Most surprising bird was an immature SPOTTED SHAG that flew past (eastward) off Anchor Beach.

Matheson Bay--Home to some wonderful hidden nature trails and freshwater pools (as well as the beach). Good mix of ocean, garden, and bush birds.

Omaha Harbour--Lots of great small reserves in the Point Wells/Omaha area from which to observe estuary birds. Highlights included a BROWN TEAL feeding with mallards north of the Omaha causeway at low tide, and a visit to Omaha Spit at high tide--the tip of the spit has a predator proof fence and is heaving with breeding Variable Oystercatchers and NZ Dots which was really heartening to see. All in all, there were over 90 NZ Dots on the spit when we visited and the godwit flock was over 500 (along with 55 Bandies). A single spoonbill was present in the harbour as well.

Goat Island--Nothing too remarkable from a birding standpoint, but if you've never been out for a snorkel at this small marine reserve near Leigh--make it happen! Fabulous fish and ray life and some neat aquatic vegetation as well. Was surprised at the lack of invertebrates (At least compared to tidal areas in coastal Canada) but the fish easily made up for it.

-Just a brief trip here (en route to/from a pelagic) but the harbour here is always worth a look. Highlight for us was watching fishing FAIRY TERN.

Warkworth Kauri Park--Nice spot to hide away on a hot afternoon or explore in the early morning. It's a lot closer to Auckland than Trounson/Waipoua so definitely make a stop for some epic Kauri action some day (right off SH1!)

Happy summer birding all!

Russ Cannings
Morrinsville, NZ
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Re: Warkworth area birding highlights

Postby Davidthomas » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:56 pm

I imagine Matt Rayner or Tim Lovegrove from Auckland museum and Auckland city council respectively would love to hear of your spotted shag sighing. Seems a long way from home!
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Re: Warkworth area birding highlights

Postby jdowding » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:14 pm

Quite a few spotted shags breed in the Hauraki Gulf, so potentially not too far from home
John Dowding

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