Sunday 30 October 2011


Well I realised why the overnight bags were so small...seems the men at least had failed to pack all their anti-snore medicine and devices!  It was like snoring in Dolby 5.1 surround sound in the guys!

Don’t know why, but seems every time I’ve woken up on Tiritiri Matangi lately it is raining...and this morning was no different.  We had a leisurely breakfast (probably because everyone was too tired from lack of sleep to move quickly) and then packed up, cleaned up and then headed out.  We wandered back down towards the wharf as the rain eased and had kokako singing in all sorts of places.  We had quick but good views of one bird singing and listened to it for quite some time before finding a pair singing, mutual preening and then gathering material to line its nest with cabbage tree fibres etc.  The nest turned out to be just a couple of metres off the trail and we had great views of its mate sitting preening and singing nearby whilst it visited the nest several times to add to it.  Magic!  Down near the wharf we had another kokako singing just after the ferry arrived and the crowds had dispersed.

Our water taxi arrived and we headed back to Gulf Harbour with just a single little penguin seen along the way.  We loaded the vehicle up and headed off towards Miranda making a quick lunch and fuel stop on the way.  Marvin threatened to put a pepper-steak pie down as bird of the day, but I knew with Miranda coming up that memory would fade when he saw a wrybill.

At Miranda the tide had already dropped considerably and the birds were well out from the hide, but before we had even left the carpark we had a flock of Pacific golden plovers, a single whimbrel and two gull-billed terns.  Headed across to the hide we quickly had a couple of wrybill in the scope and black-billed gulls, with all the migrant shorebirds being well out on the mud.  We’d only just checked off these two fantastic endemics and somebody pipes up they haven’t seen a rook yet, and “When are we going to see a rook?”!  It’s tough getting good clients these days!  Four sharp-tailed sandpipers were present as well, and every time I looked seemed another had come from somewhere, with six in the end.  We spent a good bit of time just enjoying the sun and scanning the mudflats, with the gull-billed terns doing some passes, and then as we left we found the marsh sandpiper roosting with a small flock of pied stilts.

We then had a bit of a rest (they reckon I’ve been pushing them too hard?) and headed to Kaiaua for dinner, before retiring for the night.

Bird of the day – white-faced heron x1 (??? HUH), wrybill x1, sharp-tailed sandpiper x1, kokako x4
Day total – Seen = 59; new for the trip = 9; total for the trip to date = 105

Watching the nest building kokako

Hadn't even left the carpark at Miranda...
Gull-billed terns near the shellbank

Looking for rooks!

Marsh sand in with four pied stilts

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