Well another scorcher of a day! Started cool in the morning as we rose a little late after the late night, and then breakfasted with the rosellas (for some of us). We left the Motel and headed southwards, basically heading towards the estuary we had visited yesterday in the hope that a better tide would produce better results with fairy tern.
On the way we made a quick stop at a pond to look for Australasian little grebes and dabchick, but only found dabchick. Although that can’t be bad – an endemic lifer for everyone. Scope views and a nice look at this super little grebe. We also had as near a Pacific black duck as you are going to see, and a small family party of scaup – although the male was not present. Onwards and straight to the estuary, where the tide was lower and boom! Before we even set foot on the edge, an adult and a juvenile fairy tern were in sight! The adult disappeared for a bit, off fishing, but we had the scope on the juvenile – one of only TWO fairy tern juveniles to fledge this season – what a disaster. With just around 30 birds, this is not great news! We scanned the area for other birds of interest, keeping the juvenile fairy tern in sight. Godwit, red knot, black swan, NZ dotterel, variable oystercatcher all in view. The adult fairy tern came back along the area feeding and then carrying a fish headed back to the juvenile and fed it! We scanned the area, and there on the mud were FOUR buff-banded rails – sweet. A sometimes tricky bird to see, and we had a ‘flock of them’. We continued to watch the adult fairy tern hover and patrol, and then it returned to the chick, fed it again, and then roosted beside it, nice one.
We enjoyed the moment and then decided it was half-past lunch time and headed back to the van and then to grab some lunch. We ate it at a nearby pond where we had both New Zealand dabchick and Australasian little grebe in view together, each with a stripey juvenile bird. Great to see them side by side, even if there was a little aggression between the two.
We then carried on further south, heading to a predator free area, where we hoped to get our first chance at some forest birds. And that was the case, but not before we had nice views at a brown teal, and another much closer buff-banded rail, very nice. We wandered along a trail and found another small group of brown teal, with an absolute stonking male with green head, lovely white flank patch and all the characteristics. Really nice to see as we often don’t get birds in this plumage. We then heard an almost prehistoric sound, and ahead of us were two Takahe! Excellent, so we watched them for some time, enjoying seeing this truly amazing birds right in front of us. In the forest everything else came together – bellbirds everywhere, tui, then a couple of pigeons in a Puriri tree, then fantail, whitehead, a brief saddleback before much better views later, and followed by kingfisher, and North Island robin. Job done! We headed back to the van, and then on to Warkworth, where we checked into our accommodation and then for an awesome dinner! Another great day…and a pelagic tomorrow!Bird of the day–
|YES! Fairy tern patrolling to find food for the chick.|
|Check out those blue chickens!|
|The blue chickens in question|
|Face to face with a previously thought to be extinct species!|
Bird of the day– still to come