New Zealand holiday Febuary 2019 - Part 1

Post any news of rare sightings from outside the area or any holiday information you may wish to pass on.
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Leonard Poxon
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New Zealand holiday Febuary 2019 - Part 1

Post by Leonard Poxon » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:40 pm

Myself, my wife and two friends (all non-birders (except me)) flew out from Manchester Airport at 11:15 on Sunday 10th. Feb. We arrived in T2 at Singapore's Changi airport at 11:15 uk time (a 12 hr flight after favourable tail winds). Then a quick transfer to T3 via the sky train (monorail) and 45 minutes after arriving we were airborne again. However whilst taxi-ing on the runway I spotted 3 Cattle Egrets, a single Lark species and 6 House Crows.
We arrived in Auckland, New Zealand at 00:55 local time on Tuesday 12th. Feb (11:55 am Monday UK time) after a further 7 hour flight and at around 2 am we checked into our hotel. I struggled to get to sleep and got up at 6:30 am, by 6:45 it was light and I spotted my first NZ birds through the hotel window, firstly a feral pigeon and then 8 or so Mallard, followed by my first NZ endemic, a Red-Billed Gull*. During breakfast at a local cafe I spotted European House Sparrows and a Blackbird. Later in the morning we went to the Skytower (the tallest building in Auckland) at the base of the tower were several Welcome Swallow.
In the afternoon we took the 'hop-on/hop-off bus' that took us on a route that passed the docks and along the shore to the east of the city to Bastion Point, before turning south to the Auckland museum. Along the shore I noted Variable Oystercatcher*, Black-Backed Gull and the ever present Red-Billed Gull. Whilst my wife and friends visited the museum I took a walk around the adjacent Domain park (including the Wintergarden).
Here I saw, a pair of Australian Magpies, Feral Pigeon, Red-Billed Gull, Mallard, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Song Thrush, Myna (aka Indian or Common Mynah), Grey Duck & Grey Duck/Mallard hybrids, Tui*, Stichbird*, probable Fantail* heard, Eastern Rosella heard. Other wildlife included Monarch, Long Tailed Blue and White Butterfly, a brief glimpse of a large dragonfly and a Common Redcoat Damselfly.
Day 1 (in NZ) - species totals were 16 birds (including 5 endemics marked *); 2 Odonata and 3 Lepidoptera.

Wednesday 13th. Feb - I again did not sleep well and got up early for a 7 am 8 mile walk along the shore road towards Bastion Point and return. I saw a group of Silvereye, several House Sparrows, several Myna, several Blackbird, numerous Red-Billed Gulls, several Black-backed Gulls, 1 Pacific Gull, 3 White-faced Heron, 4 Variable Oystercatcher, 4 Spur-winged Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Welcome Swallow and a Little Shag. Also seen were a Red Admiral Butterfly (different species from the UK one of that name), a Blue/ Silver Butterfly possibly the Southern Blue and a brown striped & spotted butterfly or day flying moth.
We checked out of our hotel at 9:45 and after walking around Auckland for a while we were picked up from our hotel at 13:30 and taken to our cruise ship, the Radiance of the Seas which was berthed at the Princes Wharf. From the ship I noted a group of 6 White-fronted Terns on an adjacent wharf and a Little Black Shag. After the ship had set sail I spotted an Australasian Gannet offshore.
Day 2 (in NZ) - species total increased to 25 birds (including 5 endemics); 2 Odonata and 6 Lepidoptera

Thursday 14th. Feb - Overnight the ship had sailed north to the Bay of Islands and entered the Bay of islands at dawn, on the way in I noted some Fluttering Shearwater resting on the sea. The ship anchored off Waitangi, consequently we were tendered ashore to the yacht club landing stage at Waitangi. As we exited the landing stage I noted a Little shag on a adjacent post, there were also 2 Sacred Kingfisher on posts near the landing stage and a group of 4 possible juvenile Pukeko. We then went on a shuttle bus to nearby Paihia, this took us over a bridge over the Haruru river estuary and along the shore. I noted a Reef Heron in the River estuary and several Variable Oystercatcher. Whilst in Paihia I explored a small parkland area through which flowed a small stream. Here I saw a Tui and a Sacred Kingfisher that had caught a dragonfly. Also seen here were Red-billed Gull, Black-backed Gull, House Sparrow, Myna, Blackbird, Welcome Swallow, White Butterfly & a Long Tailed Blue Butterfly. Whilst sat outside a cafe a White Admiral Butterfly drifted by.
We then caught the shuttle bus back to Waitangi, where we went on a tour around the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which included watching Maori dancing/music and a Hakka. In the grounds I saw Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin, Tui, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Myna, Monarch Butterfly, White Butterfly and some hybrid? ducks. I elected to carry out a walk whilst the others returned to the ship, walking first through the Treaty Grounds to the yacht club, before walking over the bridge and along the shore road partly back to Paihia. I first saw a New Zealand Pigeon* and heard a Fantail, then along the shore I saw a small flock of Variable Oystercatcher (including an almost all black variant,) a New Zealand Dotterel*, Red-billed Gull and juvenile Black-backed Gull. On some grassland on the other side of the road was a further 6 NZ Dotterel and another small flock of Variable Oystercatcher. There were several White-fronted Terns on mooring posts off the yacht club. The ship sailed off at 17:30 on its way out of the bay there were numerous Bullers Shearwater* and 2 Black Petrel*.
Day 3 (in NZ) - species total increased to 34 birds (including 9 endemics marked*); 3 Odonata and 7 Lepidoptera species

ianball
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Re: New Zealand holiday Febuary 2019 - Part 1

Post by ianball » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:07 pm

Looking forward to part 2. Sounds like a great trip was had by all. Very envious already of the seabirds you saw :-)


ianball
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:09 am
Location: Gillibrands north

Re: New Zealand holiday Febuary 2019 - Part 1

Post by ianball » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:11 am

Another great read Len. Love the pictures on Facebook as well, the shearwaters especially. Always tricky to capture and they are so sharp. Nice one :-)


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