Monday 18 November 2019

Day six - WRYBILL

Up nice and early, the sun was up, but the island was still stirring.  There had been a lot of stirring during the night also, with a lot of nocturnal noises in the bunkroom!  We headed out to see the beautiful light and to look for our last endemic needed, Takahe.  We got a bit of a leg stretch, seeing a number of our species from yesterday, and then started our vigil.  Nothing, nope still nothing, damn still nothing.  The suddenly there they were!  Walking rather quickly down a path, everyone got there only to see them disappear into the undergrowth!  Oh no!  But they were intent on something, and we knew what that was.  So, we got into position and there they were again.  We were able to watch them feed, nice and close and for an unhurried 20 minutes, just enjoying these awesome birds.  The cameras were snapping.
We decided to head back to the bunkhouse, where we packed our gear, got sorted and then headed out again to wander down for our water taxi ride.  We spotted a few things on the way – another fernbird, another rifleman, and lots more saddleback, Stitchbird, etc.
We boarded our water taxi and headed back to Gulf Harbour, loaded the van, and in quick smart time headed south.  Pies and sandwiches along the way, and we were making good speed.  We headed to Miranda to do a spot of shorebird watching, and the tide was already starting to drop, but we had wrybill in the scope pretty quickly.  Not close, but there will be more.  A big flock of bar-tailed godwit and red knot out on the shellbanks, as well as black-billed gulls and pied oystercatchers.  None of the smaller vagrant shorebirds were visible, but we did manage to find a whimbrel (well done Angela).  We went to another spot, more godwit and knot, but couldn’t locate anything smaller there, but some grey teal – surprisingly our first for the trip, and a couple of brown teal.  Kind of backwards when we have had brown teal on four days so far during a trip, and no grey teal, but that is a great sign of the success of brown teal recovery.
We spent some time scanning the birds and enjoying the song of the skylark, before piling back into the van and head to another location.  Loads more godwits, a few know and more pied oystercatchers and pied stilts.  On the way a flock of 5 cattle egret in breeding plumage was a nice sight, and more importantly a small group of Royal spoonbill was new for the trip.  Again no smaller shorebirds, and so off to the accommodation for a rest and then dinner at a local pub.  But not before seeing some black-billed and red-billed gulls at closer range.  Another great day.

Day total – Seen = 55 inc 1 heard, (spotted dove); new for the trip = 6; total for the trip to date = 103
The sunrises on another beautiful day

Happily snapping

iPhone takahe

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