Sunday, 26 June 2016

New Zealand North Island 11-20Jun16

From KH

My wife and I spent 10 full days exploring North Island. Although not a birding trip per se, we did spent quite a bit of time in various forests, one day on the island paradise for endemic NZ birds (Tiritiri Matangi) and two days in the Hauraki Gulf looking for dolphins and seabirds.

Day 1

We spent 4.5 hours on the Auckland Whale And Dolphin Safari cruise looking for whales but could only see Common Dolphins. Fortunately, I was able to entertain myself with the seabirds, such as the Australasian Gannets and Fluttering Shearwaters (both abundant), and a few rarer ones like 4 Common Diving Petrels and 1 Grey-faced Petrel.


Common Dolphins - common in Hauraki Gulf


Australasian Gannets - abundant in Hauraki Gulf


Fluttering Shearwaters - also abundant here


Only 4 Common Diving Petrels found


The only Grey-faced Petrel on this trip!

Day 2

The only birding today was at Miranda Shorebird Centre and the surrounding coast. The best time to bird at the Main Hide is +/- 2 hours of high tide. Wader-wise, there were lots of Red Knots and Wrybills, and some Bar-tailed Godwits, Black-winged Stilts and oystercatchers (Variable and South Island Pied). Also present along the coast were 3 species of gulls (Black-billed, Red-billed and Kelp), Grey-faced Herons, Great Egret and Pied Cormorants. In the grassy areas, there were Swamp Harrier, Masked Lapwings, Sacred Kingfishers and Eurasian Skylarks.


Red Knots, Wrybills (endemic) and Black-billed Gulls (endemic)


South Island Pied Oystercatchers and Black-billed Gull


Bar-tailed Godwit. Black-winged Stilt


The larger Kelp Gull and the smaller Red-billed Gull


Caspian Tern. White-fronted Tern (endemic)


Pied Cormorants. White-faced Heron


Variable Oystercatchers and South Island Pied Oystercatcher - both endemics


Grey Teals and Black-winged Stilts


Introduced Eurasian Skylark

Day 3

Today we drove around Lake Rotorua, starting with the forest between Blue Lake and Green Lake. We found the endemic Tomtit, Grey Warbler and NZ Fantail, the native Silvereyes, and the introduced Chaffinches.


Endemic Tomtit (male). Introduced Chaffinch (male)

In the smaller lakes around Lake Rotorua, we found the endemic NZ Grebes, the native Great and Little Pied Cormorants, and the introduced Black Swans, Canada Geese and Mallards.


Great Cormorants (adult and juvenile). Immature Little Pied Cormorants

We added the endemics, NZ Pigeon and NZ Bellbird, of all place, by a roadside!

At Hamurana Springs, there were lots of endemic NZ Scaups, and introduced Greylag Geese and Mallards in the pond, and introduced Common Blackbirds and Song Thrushes in the woods.


Endemic New Zealand Scaups - female left, males right


Song Thrush and Common Blackbird (male) - both common introduced species

Finally, at Kuirau Park, a pair of introduced Eastern Rosellas were spotted.


Introduced Eastern Rosellas

Day 4

Today, we travelled from Rotorua to Turangi. First stop at Rainbow Mountain gave us more Tomtit, NZ Bellbird, NZ Fantails and Silvereyes.


Silvereye

Along the way we stop by a number of places, but only got two new birds - Yellowhammer from Kerosene Creek and Aratiatia Dam, and Little Black Cormorant at Aratiatia Dam.


Introduced Yellowhammer. Native Little Black Cormorant

At the final stop of the day, Opepe Walk, was added the endemic Tui and more NZ Pigeons, NZ Bellbirds, NZ Fantails and Silvereyes.

Day 5

The first target today was the endemic Blue Duck at Tongariro River and sure enough there was exactly one bird found. Other ducks found here were the endemic Paradise Shelducks and the native Pacific Black Ducks. There were also endemic Whiteheads and NZ Fantails, native Grey Warblers and Swamp Harrier, introduced California Quails and Common Redpolls.


Endemic Blue Duck


Pacific Black Ducks


Endemic Grey Warbler in the reeds


Swamp Harrier - the most common raptor around

Day 6

We started the day at Pureora Forest, which got us the endemic NZ Kaka and North Island Robin, and more Tuis and Whiteheads.


Endemic NZ Kaka


Endemic North Island Robin


Endemic Whitehead

On the way to Mapara South Road, we got a small group of Paradise Shelducks in the field.


Paradise Shelducks - female left, male right

Day 7

We spent Day 7 travelling up to Whangaparaoa, making stops at Ruakuri Bushwalk and Hakarimata Rail Trail.

Day 8

Day 8 was more exciting as we spent the day on Tiritiri Matangi Island - a safe haven for endemic birds, many of which have been translocated here.


NZ Fantail and Pigeon are not shy at all!


The endemic NZ Bellbird and Tui are abundant here.


The endemic Stitchbird - left female, right male - is common here.


The endemic Saddleback is not so common here.


The star bird of the island trip - a rare North Island Kokako


South Island Takahe vs Purple Swamphen


Actual size comparison


Not an endemic, but still a good bird - Morepork on a day roost!

After returning to the mainland, we spent some time in Shakespear Regional Park. People were feeding the introduced California Quails and House Sparrows. There were also many other introduced birds, such as Indian Peafowls, Common Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and lots of Common Mynas.


California Quails and House Sparrows - both introduced

Day 9

Today was spent travelling to Trounson Kauri Park, hoping to see the Northern Brown Kiwi. Unfortunately, we dip at it, only seeing one Common Brushtail Possum, two NZ Longfin Eels, three Wetas and six European Rabbits.


Weta

Day 10

The last day of this trip was spent on the complimentary cruise from Day 1's disappointing cruise. Alas, we still don't see any whale.


Common Dolphins


Red-billed Gulls and Fluttering Shearwaters

E - endemic, N - native, I - introduced
  1. Northern Brown Kiwi - E - both males and females heard only at Trounson Kauri Park
  2. Black Swan - I - Miranda Shorebird Centre (10), Rotorua (5), Aratiatia Dam (5), Shakespear Regional Park (5)
  3. Canada Goose - I - Rotorua (10), Gulf Harbour (30)
  4. Greylag Goose - Hamurana Springs (3)
  5. Paradise Shelduck - E - Tongariro River (2), Mapara South Road (4)
  6. NZ Scaup - E - Hobbiton Movie Set (20), Hamurana Springs (50), Aratiatia (20)
  7. Pacific Black Duck - N - Tongariro River (5)
  8. Mallard - I - common in lakes
  9. Grey Teal - N - Miranda (30)
  10. Blue Duck - E - Tongariro (1)
  11. California Quail - I - Tongariro (1), Shakespear (10)
  12. Indian Peafowl - I - Shakespear (5)
  13. Common Pheasant - I - Mapara (1)
  14. Wild Turkey - I - seen along highway
  15. NZ Grebe - E - Lake Rotoiti (2)
  16. Rock Dove - I - Auckland City, Gulf Harbour
  17. NZ Pigeon - E - Rotorua, Opepe, Kaimanawa Forest Park, Tiritiri Matangi
  18. Purple Swamphen - N - Hobitton, Rotorua, Hakarimata Rail Trail, Tiritiri, Shakespear
  19. South Island Takahe - E - Tiritiri (4)
  20. Common Coot - N - Hobbiton (5), Rotorua (5)
  21. Little Penguin - N - Tiritiri (1)
  22. Grey-faced Petrel - N - Haukari Gulf (1)
  23. Fluttering Shearwater - N - Haukari (>100)
  24. Common Diving Petrel - N - Haukari (4)
  25. Great Egret - N - Miranda (1)
  26. White-faced Heron - N - Miranda (5), Shakespear (3)
  27. Pacific Reef Egret - N - Haukari (1)
  28. Australasian Gannet - N - Haukari (>100)
  29. Little Pied Cormorant - N - Rotorua, Aratiatia (3)
  30. Great Cormorant - N - Rotorua (5), Aratiatia (5), Tongariro (5)
  31. Little Black Cormorant - N - Aratiatia (1)
  32. Pied Cormorant - N - Hauraki, Miranda, Tongariro, Gulf Harbour, Tiritiri
  33. South Island Oystercatcher - E - Hauraki (2), Miranda (15)
  34. Variable Oystercatcher - E - Miranda (4), Gulf Harbour (2), Tiritiri (2)
  35. Black-winged Stilt - N - Miranda (15), Shakespear (20)
  36. Masked Lapwing - N - Hobbiton (2), Aratiatia (5)
  37. Wrybill - E - Miranda (>100)
  38. Bar-tailed Godwit - N - Miranda (>15)
  39. Red Knot - N - Miranda (>100)
  40. Red-billed Gull - N - common at Hauraki, Miranda
  41. Black-billed Gull - E - Miranda (15)
  42. Kelp Gull - N - common at Hauraki, Miranda, Rotorua
  43. Caspian Tern - N - Miranda (10)
  44. White-fronted Tern - E - common at Hauraki, Miranda
  45. Swamp Harrier - N - common in open areas
  46. Morepork - N - Tiritiri (1)
  47. Sacred Kingfisher - N - common
  48. NZ Kaka - E - Pureora Forest Park (2)
  49. Eastern Rosella - I - Kuirau Park (2), Tiritiri (1), Shakespear (3), Bushmen's Memorial (3)
  50. Red-fronted Parakeet - E - Tiritiri (3)
  51. Rifleman - E - Pureora (heard)
  52. Tui - E - Opepe (1), Pureora (5), Ruakuri Bushwalk (1), Tiritiri (>20)
  53. NZ Bellbird - E - Rotorua (2), Rainbow Mountain (1), Opepe (1), Tongariro (2), Mapara (1), Tiritiri (>50)
  54. Grey Warbler - E - Hobbiton (1), Rotorua (1), Tongariro (1), Mapara (1), Hakarimata (2)
  55. North Island Kokako - E - Tiritiri (3)
  56. Saddleback - E - Tiritiri (8)
  57. Stitchbird - E - Tiritiri (>20)
  58. Whitehead - E - Tongariro (1), Pureora (5), Tiritiri (8)
  59. Australian Magpie - N - common
  60. NZ Fantail - E - common
  61. Tomtit - E - Rotorua (5), Rainbow Mt (1), Kaimanawa (2), etc
  62. North Island Robin - E- Pureora (2), Tiritiri (3)
  63. House Sparrow - I - common in urban areas
  64. Common Chaffinch - I - Rotorua, Waiotapu, etc
  65. Common Redpoll - I - Tongariro (3)
  66. European Goldfinch - I - Rotorua (3)
  67. Yellowhammer - I - Kerosene Creek (1), Aratiatia (1), Mapara (1), Hakarimata (2)
  68. Eurasian Skylark - I - Miranda (5), Tiritiri (1)
  69. Welcome Swallow - N - common
  70. Silvereye - N - common in woodlands
  71. Common Starling - I - common in urban areas
  72. Common Myna - I - abundant in urban areas
  73. Song Thrush - I - common in parks
  74. Common Blackbird - I - common in parks