Thursday 22 November 2018

Day five - stitchbird and wrybill

Some were up early to make the most of the morning light, whilst others had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out.  The Takahe and chicks put in another appearance, as did the pukeko (Purple swamphen) and chicks, and the lone kaka that has been around landed briefly for a visit.
After breakfast and clean up, we headed back slowly down towards the wharf, birding and taking photos on the way.  The weather was much better today, with sunshine, although cool.  There was lots of action in the forest with plenty of whitehead, saddleback, pigeons and we track down the kokako pair again also. The female was still collecting nesting material, and we watched as she did so from the crowns of cabbage trees, before heading to the nest to line it.  We also tracked down a few Stitchbird, not that easy this time of the year, as there is so much natural food in the forest, and they are not visiting the feeders very much at all.
We slowly made our way to the wharf, and then our water taxi was in site, and unfortunately time to leave the beautiful Tiritiri Matangi.  On the way back to Gulf Harbour we saw a single fluttering shearwater, but nothing else.  Loading up the van we made a quick stop for fuel and grabbed some lunch to munch on the way.
We made a brief stop at an estuary area, seeing a lot of black swan, our first grey teal, and a lot of mallards.  We also saw a few cormorants and a New Zealand dabchick.  Pied (black-winged) stilts showed off in front of us, and there were distant godwit on the mudflats, so we decided to head on to Miranda. We checked in to our accommodations, had a quick respite, and then down to the Miranda area to see what we could find. High tide was just before sunset, so pretty well timed, although not a big tide.  However, it was big enough to make the shorebird flocks fly around, wheeling in the air, and gradually push them close to us.  We spotted our first South Island oystercatchers, great cormorants, and a few other new things – like sharp-tailed sandpiper, red-necked stint, and red knot. But we had great views of wrybill! We spent several hours just watching the flock get gradually closer, taking photos as they flew, and enjoying the atmosphere.
It was then time for a slap-up fish and chip dinner, and home to bed!  A long but productive day!

Pukeko (purple swamphen) feeding on grasses

Whitehead calling

Female Kokako gathering nesting material for her nearby nest

We had some great close encounters with NZ pigeon

North Island robin looking for grubs

Male bellbird all puffed up

Flocks flying at Miranda

Red knot and bar-tailed godwits in flight

Still feeding as the tide comes in

Grasses against the light

Lovely evening light on the gathered shorebird flock

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