Thursday 27 January 2011

End of the counts...and gannety goodness!

Well another fine and hot day out doing bird surveys around Napier today.  Managed to get the last of the counts done so very happy and relieved based on the fact I only really had a day up my sleeve before heading away.

Overall I think bird numbers were very good - with possibly a few more tui and bellbird compared to last year.  However, it is always hard to tell until you get the data entered and can do some preliminary stats.  So will have to wait on that, but in general bird numbers within the city environs appear very healthy.  I'll be working on the report to the Hawkes Bay Regional Council over the next few days.

Later this afternoon I headed out to Cape Kidnappers with my parents and Mum's Uncle and Aunt from the UK - Janet and Wilf.  They have heard a lot over the years about Cape Kidnappers I am sure, with me having done my PhD on the gannets out there, and no doubt seen the odd photo in the past.  However, this was their first visit, and I think the first time Mum and Dad have been out there, overland at least, for a few years.  So a few changes with the golf course and Lodge out there.

Anyway, the wind had picked up a little, but it was still hot, and we stopped in at the Black Reef colony first.  This colony has certainly expanded up onto the cliff top since my work out there in 1999-2002, but the rocks and islands have thinned out a fair bit.  So part of the increase may be from displaced birds.  However, the nice thing to see was the very good numbers of chicks present this season.  It sounds like other colonies - such as Muriwai up near Auckland - have had complete breeding failure this season.  But, here at Cape Kidnappers all looked good, with some chicks even looking like they were only a week or so off fledging.

We then headed across to the Plateau colony and same deal there - lots of chicks and although a few dead ones around, but on the whole looked pretty healthy.  Spent a bit of time having a look and taking a few photos in the strong winds and then headed off as the people walked up the hill from the beach driven tractor and trailer tours.  We zoomed back along the gravels roads towards home...I could smell dinner cooking!  Did manage to get some nice pics though!

Here I come!

Not too far to go till fledging

Feed me - feed me!

Still a wee way to go till fledging

Where is my nest again?

A little bit late with the weed for the nest honey, but better late than never right?!

The weed carrier

Coming in low over the grass

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