Monday 18 November 2019

Day seven - damp

Up and out not too early.  There had been a bit of rain over night, but the morning wasn’t looking too bad, although a little low rain cloud around.  We headed back to the shorebird site and the tide was still quite a way out, but we started scanning the mudflats.  A magic scene of thousands of bar-tailed godwits and red knot out over the mud that remained as the tide crept in.  Very spectacular to see.  A few wrybill out there again, still not close, but a good chance to see them again.  Two whimbrel this time in view.  Then another small shorebird was spotted, roosting beside a wrybill…hmm sleeping, so no chance to see the bill…waiting waiting.  Finally, it showed and bingo, a curlew sandpiper.  Everyone got a look and then a bit more scanning, hmmmm…another small shorebird…even smaller… BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER!  The little beauty that had been around for a few weeks was there and showing well, and at times was with the curlew sandpiper and a wrybill or two giving nice views and comparisons.
We switched to a slightly different spot, grey teal, at least one brown teal, but nothing else of interest, so we decided to head off.  On the way we had two more scampering buff-banded rails, wow.  This species has been very evident on this trip, not always that way!
We got back to the accommodation, packed the van and then headed south.  A bit of a drive ahead of us, but no worry, it was raining and hopefully would clear by the time we got to our destination.  We made a short stop at a lake on the way, nice NZ scaup, Caspian tern about as far from the coast as you will ever see it in NZ, and our first (!) great cormorant of the trip.  Onwards and a bit later we arrived at out forest destination.  It was raining, a little more than drizzle, so a damp lunch break.  Good kaka flying, and in the trees, and glimpses of flying yellow-crowned parakeets, whilst a male tomtit perched well for us and posed.  We then headed on to do a forest walk.  Beautiful podocarp forest with huge old growth trees in this pocket of forest saved by activist’s who understood the value of it to future generations (of birds and humans!).  We got views of North Island robin, heard yellow-crowned parakeets, as well as whitehead, kaka, and fantail.  We wandered the trail, which just seemed to be longer than last time…. Seems the guide took a slight left and ended up on a different route to usual.  Ah well, still beautiful forest, and a chance to see fuchsia, mosses, ferns and a lot of lovely botany.
We got back to the van and then headed to another spot, overlooking an area, we spent a few moments.  Dunnock was added to the list, as well as a distant perching pipit, and lots of flying kaka.  Then after parking at another spot a long-tailed cuckoo was heard, and then a beaut flyover with excellent views of the falcon-like profile and long tail.  Nice one.  Another short walk in the forest, more nice view of the trees, a few kaka.  And then it was time to head for Turangi.  We took the scenic route, with lots of nice forest, and a yearling red deer standing in the middle of the road!  Not something you see every day!
We checked in, had another great dinner and then to bed, by which time we had almost dried out!

Day total – Seen = 60 inc 1 heard, (grey gerygone); new for the trip = 7; total for the trip to date = 110
Hen and chicken fern in the rain

Tree ferns

Damp and happy people!

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