Thursday 14 April 2011

A fairy tern day

We had a (little) lie in this morning and then left Trounson and headed south.  Our first stop was a to a small farm pond to look for a long-staying pair of Australasian little grebes.  However, a pair of dabchick were present, but the grebes were not.  Seems these birds may actually move on for the winter months – they were there a month ago!  Oh well, with news that there may be a fairy tern down at Waipu we headed down there, grabbing lunch along the way.

We stopped at the Waipu Estuary and started scanning, with Bill picking up the tiny spot of a fairy tern roosting on a patch of sand a ways down the estuary.  There were a lot of other birds present with variable oystercatcher, ruddy turnstone, and New Zealand dotterel being added to the list, and bar-tailed godwit, SI oystercatcher, pied stilt, and banded dotterel, amongst others, also being present.  We ended up walking down and getting a lot closer to the fairy tern, which sometimes woke up and preened, not realising it was the star of the show.  With around 30 birds left in New Zealand, this is one of our most endangered species, and one which really is not afforded the protection or management it deserves.  We may be lucky to still be able to see it in 10 years...very sad!

Having spent a good bit of time studying it and the other birds on the estuary, we decided to continue our travels, and headed for Tawharanui Regional Park.  On the way we managed to spot a kookaburra perched on a telephone pole, and then inside the Park spent some time checking out the environs.  Within seconds we had excellent views of at least two buff-banded rails right out in the open, scope views and nice photos ensued.  We also found a pair of brown teal, lots of pukeko, and then went for a walk through Ecology Bush.  A beautiful spot with some excellent birds, there was a lot of bird song, and we had nice views of tui, bellbird, whitehead, grey warbler, etc.  We searched for kaka, but to no avail...never mind a very nice walk anyway.

We then decided to head on to Auckland to the Hotel, where we met up with the others.  Dinner was a chance to meet and then early to bed in preparation for Tiritiri Matangi Island tomorrow!

Bird of the day – still to come...
Day total – Seen = 51 + 3H(morepork, red-crowned parakeet, North Island robin); new for the trip = 8; total for the trip to date = 81

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