Thursday 14 November 2019

Day three - scoping rails

Absolutely pelting rain as we woke… Oh boy!  We left the accommodation and headed out to a rural area to start the search for one of the stars of the trip, Indian peafowl!  Well the weather was really not great, drizzle and showers, and so we decided to kill a little time looking for a few things around the general area.  Nice views of skylark, yellowhammer, Paradise shelduck with the World’s cutest ducklings, and no peafowl! Hmmmm, seems the tip off hadn’t been a good one.  We turned around and headed out, and boom there it was strutting its stuff!
We carried on out to an estuary area and as we got out of the van the rain started to come down heavy again, so we decided to carry on and drive whilst it was raining, with the general forecast for improving conditions over the course of the day.  We carried on past a couple of little beaches and got some more nice views of NZ dotterel, Caspian tern, etc.  And some lovely rural areas with little patches of Kauri forest.  The rain showers continued intermittently, so we continued to our next destination, by which time the rain had stopped, blue skies were starting to appear, and things were looking good.
We stopped and had a spot of early lunch as we watched a pair of buff-banded rails in the scope feeding their tiny little fluffy black chicks a spot of lunch also.  Just cute as could be little fluff-balls, with beautiful scope views.  Rails, chicks, open views through a scope, not something that normally goes in the same sentence!  After everyone had had great views we watched another pair skirting the rushes and some of the group managed some photos.  It was then time to move on and do a bit of walking to see what we could find.  Jackets and fleeces were by now off, and it was a pretty lovely day.  We wandered along a few trails and had some good looks at tui, bellbird, New Zealand pigeon, fantail, fly over kaka, and some good views of brown teal. We heard and glimpsed a couple of saddleback, more to come, and whitehead, again more to come, and a short look at a North Island robin.  We wandered a few paddocks looking out for Takahe, trying to ignore the hundreds of purple swamphens, and enjoyed the spectacular panoramas.
We spent time wandering a bit more, looking at whatever came along, and then headed to another spot, where we found more grey gerygones, and Glen and Barb spotted a spotless crake.  We got everyone to the spot and ended up with really nice views of an adult feeding quietly along the edge of a small bit of water, watching it for some time, and even a little time for photo coaching which resulted in some nice images (ahem!).
We head off towards the accommodation for the night.  Scanning for kookaburra on the way, a valiant but fruitless search.   But a nice dinner and some great conversation, along with an early night!

Day total – Seen = 53; new for the trip = 7; total for the trip to date = 85

Looking for rails

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