Wednesday 5 February 2020

Day two - targets met

Waking up a little later after a late-ish night and nice memories of excellent views of kiwi and morepork the night before is always nice!  It was relatively cool as we readied for the day, but the forecast suggested another warm one.  We packed the van and headed south, heading down towards a coastal site where we hoped to find fairy tern.  We had a lovely walk, and the temperature was still rather pleasant actually.  But no sign of any fairy tern.  There was a small flock of white-fronted tern, a few variable oystercatchers, and very nice to pick up our first New Zealand pipit.  We wandered back to the van, finding another very confiding pipit, and then a couple of not so confiding brown quail.
We headed on south, driving through some beautiful scenic countryside, with expansive views of the coast.  We made it to a local reserve area just after lunch and did a couple of short walks looking for target birds.  The temperature had risen a little, but was still not as oppressive as it had been yesterday.  The breeze certainly helped!
Things in the reserve were dry, real dry.  The understorey of the forest was wilting and clearly could do with a good drink!  And it was quiet in places.  We wandered and found brown teal, NZ dotterel, and a few other bits and bobs.  But soon we found the hotspot and within a few moments had a bunch of the target forest birds – tui, bellbird, whitehead, grey gerygone, fantail, NZ pigeon (showing super nice iridescence), North Island robin, and then saddleback!  Awesome – all nice and close, great views.  We carried on and then found a couple of big blue chickens!  Bonus – nice views of a pair of Takahe, feeding and doing their thing, and looking completely unfazed about us.
We wandered back slowly towards the van, seeing more of the same on the way.  I wager there were a few photos taken this afternoon, so all will be working hard to whittle down to the good ones tonight.  We headed in towards the accommodation, looking for kookaburra along the way, but no luck.  We checked in to the accommodation, and then a little rest before dinner and an early night!  Another great day!
Day total – Seen = 52; new for the trip = 11; total for the trip to date = 66
Birds on the beach

A pigeon in the bush

Crazy times with takahe

What a stunning place

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