You hardly ever hear about Hauraki Gulf pelagics any more (They're still happening though!) so here is a brief summary of one I was lucky enough to take part in. This was a relatively low key venture as we were out in Dave Howes' superb private vessel (as opposed to one of the larger charters) along with my father and brother-in-law visiting from Canada. Conditions were pretty flat, calm, and hot though some northerlies picked up in the afternoon as we headed back into Mangawhai.
While we were interested in a bit of everything, a guiding catalyst for our strategy was to see if we could chance upon the Black Noddy around some of the Trevally, so we spent a lot of our time "hunting" Red-billed Gull flocks between the Hen & Chicks and Mokohinau Islands.
We left Mangawhai Heads around 730am and steamed out to Sail Rock and the Hen. From there we steam to the Mokes and Maori Rocks (23 Grey Ternlet present), out about 10km from the Mokes for a quick stormie chum up (3 NZ Storms came in--much to the delight of the visiting Canadians), then back to the Hen and Chicks.
In general, bird numbers were never huge, however there always seemed to be a few things around so it was great to see regular numbers of Cook's Petrel, Black Petrel, Buller's Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater (Over 100 near Coppermine Island), Fluttering Shearwater, Fairy Prion, and White-faced Storm Petrel. We did run into some nice fish work ups around the Mokes as well as on the east and south side of Coppermine Island. No sign of the noddy but the fish and bird spectacle was fantastic. Also mixed in with the usuals mentioned above were a handful of Grey-faced Petrels, a Short-tailed Shearwater east of Coppermine, a Sooty Shearwater south of Coppermine, and a probable Little Shearwater out beyond the Mokes.
We spent most of the afternoon closely checking over Hen, Coppermine, and Sail Rock, picking up a few Kaka, good numbers of Red-crowned Parakeet, Bellbird, Tui, Kereru, and Saddleback. Myna were detected on both Hen and Coppermine, and pipit was spotted on the Hen and Sail Rock.
A pod of Common Dolphins and a single Fur seal rounded out the animal list.
Great day on the water.
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Glad to hear your dad finally caught up with New Zealand Storm petrels Russ! Sounds like a good day out in the boat, although disappointing to not catch up with the Noddy. But that’s how it goes!