Sunday, November 20, 2016

After Miranda we left the coast, and headed to our next destination, the Pureora Forest.

Tomtit, an endemic tiny bird
We've spent 2 nights in the Miranda Shorebird Center. This place on the coast of the Firth of Thames is famous of the huge number of wintering Shorebirds (Bar-tailed Godwit, Red Knot, Wrybill). We had an afternoon and a morning high tide, with the stunning views of the Shorebird roost.

Miranda Shorebird Center

Shorebird flock at dawn

Bar-tailed Godwits and South Island Pied Oystercatchers

Bar-tailed Godwits, Red Knots and a Wrybill

Wrybills, the best endemic shorebird

Black x Pied Stilt hybrid

Royal Spoonbills

Monarch Butterfly

Saturday, November 19, 2016

We've spent the next 2 days on Tiritiri Matangi Island, close to Auckland. This island is pest-free, the original vegetation was restored, and several endemic bird species in critical status have been relocated here. This is the best place to see these birds.

Leaving Auckland

Arriving to the island.

Variable Oystercatchers.

 New Zealand Dotterel on nest. Sadly the eggs were washed away by the high-tide next day.

Stitchbirds and Bellbirds on the feeder. 

Male Stitchbird



Tuis on the feeder.

Brown Teal female with duckling.

The other very interesting endemic we first saw in Tawhanarui was North Island Saddleback. It went almost extinct by the begining of the 20th century, remaining only on one island. Since then it was relocated to several pest-free reserves, and the numbers are growing. The South Island subspecies is treated as a separate species now, we saw it on our first day on the South Island, on Blumine Island.

North Island Saddleback, adult plumage.

Adult and juvenile NI Saddleback.

South Island Saddleback, adult plumage. Almost identical with the NI one.

Juvenile SI Saddleback, a completely different looking bird.
On the third day there was a boat trip planned in the Hauraki Gulf, but was cancelled due to the bad weather arriving in the afternoon. So we headed to the nearby Tawhanarui Regional Park. It's a fenced off area where all the pests were eradicated. Rats, Mice, Ferrets, Stoats, Possums cause the biggest problem for birds in New Zealand. Such sanctuaries are the hope to save them.
The flightless Takahe was thought to be extinct for many years, but was rediscovered on the South Island in 1948. Several birds were relocated to such pest-free places. There are only 300 left of them.


We were up till 2 am for the Kiwi-watch, but still got up quite early for our first daytime birding. We stayed around Kerikeri with Carol. She showed us some tough to find birds.

Sandy beach on the eastern coast near Kerikeri.

New Zealand Dotterel, a rare endemic with a global population of cca. 2000 -2500 birds.

New Zealand Pipit and Dotterel.

Pacific Reef Heron.

New Zealand Piegon, another endemic.

The rare skulking endemic Fernbird gave us good views.

Juvenile North Island Robin.
I spent 3 weeks in New Zealand this October. A friend of mine sponsors my work by inviting me on such study trips, that I can get a lot of inspirations from. I took more than 10000 photos, will show a selection of them with my sketches in the next days .
 We've arrived to Auckland after a 36 hours journey. We immdeately picked up our car and drove to north, to Kerikeri. We've met Carol and Detlef Davies in their guesthouse. Carol took us out looking for Kiwis. I was not aware of how difficult it is to see this bird. Despite our chances were not so good because of the strong moonlight, we saw 5 individuals and heard many more. These were the only kiwis on our trip (we heard Great Spotted Kiwis in the south).

We had full-moon that night, which should have reduced our chances (kiwis like pitch-dark), luckily that was not the case.

Northern Brown Kiwi. We saw 4-5 birds during the night.

I could photograph the bird in the torchlight, couldn't use flash.

Morepork, the only native Owl in New Zealand.

The next day we found another Morebork roosting.