Well hard to believe another stint at home is over. I've been back in NZ since late September...must be one of my longest periods in the country at least for a while. Spent time getting some local contract work done, trying to sort a few photos for the book, etc. doing a NZ tour for Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ and trying to keep up with building a new house! So a pretty busy period.
Managed to finish off the bird monitoring work I have been doing for the Hawkes Bay Regional Council at Napier Hill and down at Porangahau, with this being the fifth year I have completed the work. At this stage it looks like that might be the final year for a while, but hopefully with some longer term monitoring down the track.
Also worked on a contract characterising the ecological (bird) values of the Ngaruroro River catchment, with this being a collaborative effort and fieldwork extending over a six month period or so. I'll have some to complete when home in Feb/Mar and final report due middle of the year. Part of this was the 'quick' reccie down the river a couple of days ago, where I taught my quad bike to swim...a long story, but lets just say it is amazing how a quad doesn't sink to the bottom of 3m of water and can actually be man-handled back to the shallows by a single person. All in the name of research!
So it's off to the South Pacific for the next month. I'm currently sitting in Santiago Airport, awaiting a flight to Easter Island, where we board the ship tomorrow for a month up through the Pitcairn group, French Polynesia and then westwards to end in Fiji on 20 Jan. Should be a great trip, and of course for me the highlights will be landing on the Pitcairn group...as long as I get to see my target bird! Of course my nemesis bird is the Henderson Island rail...how can a birder miss this flightless rail...when just about everyone else who set foot on the island that day saw it? I even had another 45 minutes during lunch! That day haunts me (and so does Sue Flood, who very 'kindly' got a copy of 'The Life of Bird' autographed as below for me ;) This is NEXT time!