Wednesday 2 November 2011

It was all going so well

So we were up, yet another bakery stop, and then on the road with a light drizzle (the weather that is).  We headed across the Napier-Taupo highway with pie crumbs flying, and contented snores starting to erupt, when I spied what looked like a duck shaped object on a rock as we went over a bridge.  Managing to do a u-turn a few kilometres down the road, we came back to the bridge and yes there it was, a blue duck sitting on a rock just downstream of the bridge.  We parked on the side of the road, being a little distracted by a shining bronze cuckoo calling nearby and getting a quick view of it, before heading onto the bridge and getting quick views of the bird as it took to the water and headed downstream.  Nice!  In the hundreds of trips along this road this is the first time I’ve seen a blue duck here, although a small population does exist in the area.

We then headed on for Boundary Stream and did one of the walks getting good views of the usual forest birds including rifleman, tomtit, robin, whitehead, and grey warbler.  A quiet falcon call had me going as I finished a pit-stop at the bathroom, but never called again.  We headed off along the trail and first heard a falcon pair making a few noises, and then saw the male circle out and around and then over us, giving really nice views before heading off.

On the way back we kept an ear out for kokako, but not much there, but with eyes to the ground managed to find several small colonies of spider orchids in flower.  Great little things and possibly at least two different species.

Things were going oh so well!  We headed down to Napier, where the weather was dry and warm, and decided to see if we could find some bittern.  The first stop had a lot of potential, until we realised there was somebody working on the tree plantings, and there was certainly no bittern to be seen.  There were a few ducks and Royal spoonbill as a consolation prize though!  So we headed on to a couple of other local spots looking for bittern and perhaps a chance at the little egret...ha!  Luck seemed to have run out with not a sniff of a brown streaky thing or a small white thing!  Things couldn’t get any worse...until we got to the Te Aute rookery (which had been active a few weeks before) to find empty nests where there had obviously been a spot of rook ‘control’ recently.  Not a one!  The words ‘I can smell victory’ kept resonating in my head for the rest of the afternoon!  At least until we got to Anderson Park and found the three plumed whistling ducks happily lined up on the pond edge...thank goodness!

So we called past Westshore, grabbed a black-fronted dotterel on the trot and then headed for Turangi, where it started to rain...

Bird of the day – blue duck x2, plumed whistling duck x1, NZ falcon x3, black-fronted dotterel x1
Day total – Seen = 59 + 2 heard (long-tailed cuckoo, redpoll); new for  the trip = 6; total for the trip to date = 125

Napier-Taupo blue duck

Male tomtit at Boundary Stream

Male NZ falcon heading off to hunt

NZ pigeon wondering where that falcon went

Mallards, cute as ducklings, ugly as adults (at least the scruffy ones in NZ)

The saviours of the day, the plumed whistling ducks at Anderson Park

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