Thursday 21 November 2019

Day nine - fleeting falcon

Up early and off in the search of more waterfowl and a bittern if possible.  We arrived at a wetland area and started our search for creeping skulky things, by being creeping (not creepy) and skulky!  But after a damn good search of the area, there was nothing visible.  A nice assortment of ducks, with grey teal, shoveler, etc, and good views of a few other common things.  Royal spoonbill was also added to the list.
We then headed to a gravel area, and within a few minutes had a nice female banded dotterel in the scope, and then two black-fronted dotterel.  A rather surprising find was some common dolphins going past the beach!  Off we went, heading to a lovely lookout spot, and along the way finding excellent up-close pipit.  We had had distant perched and flight views, but this was beyond comparison.  And a friendly skylark also came in and sat beside for comparison, so that was nice.
A quick laundry collection stop netted clean laundry and a pair of barbary doves.  And we were then off again, with black crows on the mind.  And sure enough a pair were spotted by the keen experienced rook spotting eyes of Jules.  We whipped the van around and had flight views of two as they flew across the road.  A lunch spot was rather windy, but a surprise fly-over falcon caught us off-guard and showed briefly to most of the group.  No second chance was given during lunch.
We then carried on towards our target location, a large estuary on the west coast.  We arrived, and wandered down to an area where the shorebirds usually congregate as the tide comes in.  Tides were perfect, but unfortunately there was not a lot of variety around.  We had nice views of the bar-tailed godwits accumulating, along with some red knot, and South Island pied oystercatchers.  The sunshine was welcomed, and it was nice to enjoy some banter and watch the tide come in.
With no influx of birds, we decided to head to the accommodation before dinner and check in.  Dinner was at a nice little restaurant, and an earlyish night, our last on the North Island.

Day total – Seen = 55 inc 3 heard, (pheasant, Eastern rosella, dunnock); new for the trip = 3; total for the trip to date = 122
Waiting for the tide

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