Sunday, 30 October 2016

Napier to Wellington

Mount Doom (from Lord of the Rings)
 is on the right!
The edge of the reserve.

Forest amid farmland.
Some huge trees are present.

It is Halloween, 31st October! We drove from Turangi to Boundary Meadows, an area of forest which has been cleared of introduced predators & has native birds once again thriving in this environment.

North Island Robin

We had a nice walk through the forest but our wanted species were not on show.

Plumed Whistling Duck
Two birds were present.

 So we pressed on to Napier where we birded the local park where 2 Plumed Whistling Ducks were in residence. This is a major vagrant here & these birds have been present for a couple of years.

The coast near Napier.
Pied Stilt
Banded Dotterel
A great little bird!

Next we birded the coast, where a few wetlands had a few species,  including both Banded & Black-fronted Dotterel. We retired to our hotel early, as we were going to Sav's house for dinner!

Bar tailed Godwits & Red Knot.
Immature Kelp Gull

A flock of Wrybills!

OK! This is the real deal!
Look at the bill!

1st November saw us driving to the Manawatu Estuary looking for Wrybill. It was a very pleasant area but we couldn't find the Wrybills! Eventually, a single bird was found on the shoreline.

New Zealand Little Grebe
A very confiding individual.

In the afternoon we birded a few ponds around the small town of Foxton seeing a few water birds including excellent views of New Zealand Little Grebe.

Little Black Cormorant & Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant
One of the inter island ferries.
Little Pied Cormorant
White capped Albatross

My first view of South Island, New Zealand.
Spotted Shag

Dawn on 2nd November revealed grey skies & heavy rain. We pressed on through the rain & stopped at a small wetland area with a few waterbirds present. Wellington, the capital city was surprisingly small & compact. Due to the weather we visited the state museum, which was good & interesting. After lunch we boarded the ferry for Picton on the South Island. The crossing was uneventful & quiet until the middle of the straits when both White capped & a couple of Salvin's Albatross were seen. Once into the protected sound on south island lots of Fluttering Shearwaters were seen & a few Spotted Shags. One fairly distant Rock Shag was also seen.

Blue Duck: Photo Essay

Blue Duck
The fast flowing clear river at Tirangi. 
Habitat for this species.

Notice the bizarre fleshy flaps of skin
 hanging from the tip of the bill.

The Blue Duck is a fast declining New Zealand endemic, confined to clear, unpolluted fast flowing rivers & streams. It is threatened by hydro-electricity schemes which dam its habitat; pollution of its crystal clear waters; predation by introduced predators & competition for its food by introduced trout & associated pressure from fishing. 

It is found on both North & South Islands, but is much more restricted in distribution on North Island. An initiative was started in 2011 to boost the numbers of Blue Duck & to try & control pest species which prey on this vulnerable species.