Olioso, le Mail, 26230 Grignan (France) georges.olioso(AT)wanadoo.fr
New Zealand Dotterel
This trip was organized by Destination Nature.
Flights : Paris Roissy –London Heathrow and London – Roissy
London – Los Angeles – Auckland and return by Air New Zealand
(also the flight Queenstown – Auckland).
We rented a Toyota minibus in North Island and a Ford Transit in South
Island. Roads are good. Diesel is cheap (for Frenchmen !), about 0,57 €/l
(1,10 in France !).
We sleep in confortable motels or lodge, but at Milford Sound, Bluff
Only 3 hours of rain, arriving at Kaikoura 21/11 !!! Strong
wind the 22/11 but very good sea the 23/11. In the Milford Sound ,
the sky was blue, blue !
Temperatures between 6° and 8°C in the morning, between
20° and 25° in the afternoon...
15/11/2005. The plane lands at 5 a.m. We take the booked
car at Europcars and drive to Orewa. In front of the car rent office,
species are European (Great Cormorant, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Starling, Song
Thrush with 5 pulli at nest, House Sparrow...)
or Asian (Common Myna, Spotted Dove) but we see also
our first NZ birds, Welcome Swallow and Silvereye (a
common species). En route, somme Australasian Harriers and Spur-winged
Near the Orewa Motor Lodge, our first Tui and 2 Australasian
Gannets very near the beach ! In the afternoon
we drive to Waipu Cove for Fairy Tern and NZ Dotterel.
We see only 1 tern (the local subspecies is very rare with only ± 30
wild birds) and some plovers. The more common bird here is Variable
Oystercatcher. Pairs are displaying. We see also our first Wrybill,
a very curious bird with the bill tip curved to the right !
16/11/2005. Today, we go to Sandspit and Tiritiri Matangi
island. This island is predator free ! Birds are numerous, with
some rare species like Takahe, Stitchbird (< 2000 birds), Saddleback (± 650
wild birds), Kokako (< 1500 wild birds), Brown Teal.
A night walk : a Morepork and many Blue Penguins.
17/11/2005. We leave Tiritiri at 7 a.m. and we take a small
boat to a day in the Hauraki Gulf. First bird is a Northern Giant-Petrel, then,
we see very numerous Fluttering Shearwaters tens of Flesh-footed
Shearwaters, Common Diving-Petrels and some Black Petrels.
But th bette is a good and long view of 2 (3 ?) New Zealand
Storm-Petrel, a recently rediscovered species !
18/11/2005. We Leave Orewa and drive to Muriwai Beach. The
landscape and the gannets colony are astonishing ! Then, we
drive to Miranda lagoon. Hundreds of Bar-tailed Godwits and Knots ...
Also some very tame Wrybills, tens of Pied Stilts,
8 Sharp-tailed and 2 Pectoral Sandpipers...
Afternoon at Rotorua ; on the lake, hundreds of Black Swans,
numerous Red-billed Gulls ans also 4 NZ Dabchicks.
19/11/2005. Today, a long drive... Stop at a small lake near
Whakamaru. Grey Teals, Grey Ducks, NZ Scaups and ...Mallards !!
Night at the Mountain Heights hotel, near the small town of National
Park. We see 1 NZ Pipit.
20/11/2005. Second long drive. Earling morning, I search
birds along the road... Fernbird is common with NZ Pipit. Then we go
to search Blue Duck along the streams. We found a pair,
just in front the Blue Duck Cottage (!!!) on the Maunganui
Ateno River. Night at Palmerstorn North.
21/11/2005. Last morning on North Island. Drive to Wellington.
We take the ferry to: South Island. On the wharf, 1 Reef Heron and
our first Spotted Shag. Very few birds during the crossing,
only an hundred of Fairy Prions and just 1 Westland Petrel.
We land at Stenton and then we drive to Kaikoura.
22/11/2005. Bad weather today... It is not possible to take
23/11/2005. Very good weather !! We take a « tourists » whale-seeing-boat...
Not vey good... Only 1 Sperm Whale and some Dolphins. In
the afternoon, we take a small boat to search albatrosses... Very
good ! Numerous Salvin’s Albatross, 1 Antipodean,
1 Gibson, some Southern Royal, 1 White-head and 1 Black-browed Albatross !!! Cape
Pigeons and Westland Petrels are abundant. We see also Buller’s, Short-tailed
Shearwaters and 1 White-shinned Petrel. Northern Giant
Petrels are numerous.
A very nice day !
24/11/2005. To day, drive to the Mount Cook area. En route,
on the bank of lake Pukaki, but far, we see 2 Black Stilts,
one of the world rarest birds (<40 wild birds !), with some Pied
Stilts. Short stop near the Heritage Hotel, a NZ Falcon catch
a prey and disappears... The, we drive to Omarama ; from the
Akurini bridge we see a splendid Black Stilt ! Night
in the Omarama To 10.
25/11/2005. We leave the island center to Otago peninsula.
En route, first watch of an adult Royale Spoonbill. From the
tourist center of Taiaroa Head we see 4 Northern Royal Albatross incubating
and 2 flying. Astonishing !...Good watch also of Yellow-eyed
Penguins in a Penguin Reserve. Night in Portobello.
26/11/2005. Last step in South Island. No new birds, but
numerous NZ Fur Seals and 1 Sea Lion at Nugget Point. Night in a
very old hotel in Bluff.
27/11/2005. Early morning, crossing to Stewart Island, then
to Ulva Island, a small one but with very beautiful forests and numerous
birds. On the beach, our first Weka, 2 adults + 1 chick. We
seen another in the forest. Good watches of very tame NZ Robin.
Another good birds are NZ Pigeon, Kaka, Yellow-crowned and Red-crowned Parakeets,
Long-tailed Cuckoo, Brown Creeper and Saddleback. At
night we go to search Southern Brown Kiwi...
28/11/2005. We found the Kiwi at 1 a.m. !! In
the afternoon, far watche of a Fiordland Penguin.
29/11/2005. Back to South Island. On a gravel islet of the
Aporimo River, we see a Black-fronted Dotterel with 3 Banded
Then stop in a forest in the Fiordland N.P. before the Homer Tunnel,
on the road to Milford Sound. No Yellowhead, but some Rifflemans,
a common endemic. Near the tunnel, just after the car park, a pair
of Rock Wren (or South Island Wren). The nest is not
far and the birds carry food...On a car, 2 Keas ! Night
at the Milford Sound Lodge.
30/11/2005. In the morning, short cruise in the Milford Sound.
We see some Fiordland Penguins. Night at Te Anau.
01/12/2005 . Drive to Queenstown then to Glenorchy and lake Sylvan. Here we see
2 Yellowheads, just 200 m after the footbridge. Back to
Queenstown. A pair of NZ Falcon is very aggressive !
Short walk on the shore of the lake, in Queenstown,
just a pair of Great Crested Grebe (a rare species
here) with 1 young. Night in Queenstown.
02/12/2005. Near the lake, some birds... Black-billed
Gull, Paradise Shelduck, Grey Duck, NZ Scaup, Coot,
Mallard, Little Pied Cormorant, Kelp Gull...
Late morning and afternoon at the Haast Pass, near
Makarora. Another Yellowheads and a pair of NZ Falcon.
Night in Queenstown.
03/11/2005. Last day in New Zealand... We
start to Auckland at 10 a. m., then to Los Angeles at 11 p.m.
Books and internet sites used
Two books only
New Zealand Robin
New Zealand Bellbird
Names and order are in « the ‘official’ New
Zealand Birders checklist » from B. Stephenson & S.
Saville for Wrybill tours.
Endemics are underlined.
- Apteryx australis Southern Brown
Kiwi. Only on Stewart Island, 28/11. One male and one female.
- Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe.
Uncommon. Only 24/11 lake Benmore, near Onamara (1 ind.) and
30/11 and 01/12 Queenstown (pair with 1 chick)
- Poliocephalus rufopectus New
Zealand Grebe. 19/11, 4 Rotorua, near the Golf court. 20/11,
6 lake Kario.
- Diomedea (exulans) antipodensis Antipodean
(Wandering) Albatross. One, 23/11 off Kaikoura.
- Diomedea (exulans) gibsoni Gibson’s
(Wandering) Albatross. Some, 23/11 off Kaikoura. Recent
- Diomedea (epomophora) sanfordi Northern
Royal Albatross. Taiaroa Head, 25/11, 4 incubating and
- Diomedea epomophora Southern
Royal Albatross. Some, 23/11 off Kaikoura.
- Thalassarche melanophris Black-browed
Albatross. One, 23/11 off Kaikoura.
- Thalassarche (cauta) steadi White-capped
Albatross. One, 23/11 off Kaikoura,
- Thalassarche (cauta) salvini Salvin’s
Albatross. The commonest albatross. Tens, 23/11 off Kaikoura.
Two, 27 and 29/11 during the crossing Bluff and Oban.
- Puffinus carneipes Flesh-footed Shearwater.
Common, 17/11, Hauraki Gulf. Only 3, 23/11 off Kaikoura.
- Puffinus bulleri Buller’s
Shearwater. Only 4, 23/11 off Kaikoura.
- Puffinus griseus Sooty Shearwater. Taiaroa
Head, 25/11 ; Nugget Point, 26/11 and between Bluff and
Oban 26 and 27/11.
- Puffinus tenuirostris Short-tailed Shearwater.
One, 23/11 off Kaikoura.
- Puffinus gavia Fluttering Shearwater.
16/11, 4 Hauraki Gulf. At least 2000 the next day.
- Puffinus huttoni Hutton’s
Shearwater. At least 2000 fishing, 22/11 just in front
the Kaikoura beach. Abundant at sea the next day.
- Puffinus assimilis Little Shearwater.
A dozen, 17/11 Hauraki Gulf.
- Pelecanoides urinatrix Common diving-petrel.
A ten, 17/11 Hauraki Gulf. Numerous 27 and 29/11 between Bluff
- Procellaria parkinsoni Black
Petrel. A dozen, 17/11 Hauraki Gulf.
- Procellaria westlandica Westland
Petrel. One, 21/11, Cook Strait. Numerous 23/11
- Procellaria aequinoctialis White-chinned
Petrel. One, 23/11 off Kaikoura.
- Daption capense australe Cape Petrel (Cape
Pigeon). Abundant, 23/11 off Kaikoura. Seen in small number,
25/11 Taiaroa Head, 26/11 Nugget Point and 29/11 between Oban
- Macronectes halli Northern Giant-Petrel.
One, 17/11 Hauraki Gulf. At least 10, 23/11 off Kaikoura. Two,
29/11 between Oban and Bluff. Also, 22/11 from Kaikoura beach
and South Bay and 27/11 near Oban.
- Pachyptila turtur Fairy Prion. Two, 17/11
Hauraki Gulf and > 100, 21/11 between Wellington and Stenton.
- Pterodroma cooki Cook’s
Petrel. Fifty or so, 17/11 Hauraki Gulf.
- Oceanites maorianus New Zealand
Storm Petrel. At least 2 (perhaps 3 or 4), 17/11 Hauraki
- Pelagodroma marina White-faced Storm-Petrel.
At least 10, 17/11 Hauraki Gulf.
- Megadyptes antipodes Yellow-eyed
Penguin. A dozen in a reserve near Taiaroa Head 25/11.
One incubating, 26/11, near Nugget Point.
- Eudyptula minor Little (Blue) Penguin.
Common Tiritiri Matangi. Birds incubating near Taiaroa Head.
At sea in Hauraki Gulf, off Oban and between Oban and Bluff.
- Eudyptes pachyrhynchus Fiordland
crested Penguin. Two, 28/11 off Oban. A ten, 30/11,
Milford Sound at sea and on the shore.
- Morus serrator Australasian Gannet. Orewa
and Waipu Cove, 15/11. Numerous, 17/11 Hauraki Gulf (colony).
Another spectacular colony, 18/11 Muriwai Beach.
- Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae Great
Cormorant. In small number everywhere on the coast.
- Phalacrocorax varius Pied Cormorant. Widespread
on the coast. Also at the Rotorua lake.
- Phalacrocorax sulcirostris Little Black
Cormorant. Only Rotorua lake, 18 and 19/11.
- Phalacrocorax melanoleucos Little pied
Cormorant. The commonest Cormorant.
- Leucocarbo (Phalacrocorax) chalconotus Stewart
Island Shag. Common on Stewart oasts. Also near Taiaroa
- Stictocarbo (Phalacrocorax) punctatus Spotted
Shag. One, 21/11 Wellington harbour. Common along the South
Island aznd Stewart Island coasts.
- Egretta novaehollandiae White-faced Heron.
Widespread, seen everywhere.
- Egretta sacra Eastern Reef Heron. Only
one, 21/11 Wellington harbour.
- Platalea regia Royal Spoonbill. One, 25/11,
Kakanui. Small colony 26/11 Nugget Point. The 26/11, 6 Catlins
River, one, Papatoua and 2 just before Bluff.
- Tadorna variegata Paradise Shelduck.
Widespread and common, tame.
- Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos Blue
Duck. A pair, 20/11 Maunganui Ateno River.
- Anas superciliosa Pacific grey Duck. Widespread
but not common, pure birds are very uncommon. 20/11, Maunganui
Ateno River, a female with 10 chicks ; 24/11, Omarana camp
site, 2 females with 8 chicks each ; also in Queenstown.
- Anas gracilis Grey Teal. Not widespread.
About 10, 19/11 lake Whakamaru. Five 20/11, lake Kario. Only,
24/11 lake Benmore. One hundred, 25/11 Kakanui and 1, 30/11 Milford
- Anas chlorotis Brown Teal.
Only a pair 16 and 17/11 Tiritiri Matangi island. A rare bird.
- Anas rhynchotis Australasian Shoveler.
Only a few.... I have already saw this species ... in Camargue !
Three (1 male), 19/11 lake near Whakamaru. Three, 20/11, lake
Kario. Pair, 24/11 lake Pukaki. Pair, 29/11 Aporimo river.
- Aythya novaeseelandiae New Zealand
Scaup. Widespread. One hundred, 25/11 lake Benmore. Also
Rotorua, Te Anau or Queenstown.
- Circus approximans Swamp (Australasian)
Harrier. Only 2 breeding raptors in New Zealand. This species
- Falco novaeseelandiae New Zealand
Falcon. Uncommon endemic. One with a prey, 24/11 near Mount
Cook. Very aggressive pair, 01/12 between Glenorchy and lake
Sylvan. One, 02/12 above Queenstown and the same day, pair
at Haast Pass.
- Gallirallus australis Weka.
Three pairs with chicks, Ulva island, off Oban. One between Oban
and Acker’s ;
- Gallirallus philippensis Buff-banded Rail.
Only one, Orewa 18/11.
- Porzana tabuensis Spotless Crake. One16
and 17/11 Tiritiri Matangi island.
- Porphyrio (porphyrio) melanotus Pukeko.
- Porphyrio mantelli = P. hochstetteri Takahe.
A little more than 200 live wild birds ! Seen only on Tiritiri
- Fulica atra Common Coot. Uncommon. Four
(onr building nest), 19/11 near Whakamaru. Some, 20/11 lake Kario
and 1 immature 02 and 03/12 Queenstown.
- Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit. Twenty
or so, 15/11 Waipu Cove ; > 200, 18/11 à Miranda.
- Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone. Two,
15/11 Waipu Cove.
- Calidris canutus Red Knot. > 500, 18/11
- Calidris melanotos Pectoral Sandpiper.
Two, 18/11 Miranda, with the next species.
- Calidris acuminata Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.
Height, 18/11 Miranda.
- Haematopus finschi South Island
(Pied) Oystercatcher. Widespread and common in South Island.
Nest (2 eggs) Stewart Island, le 27/11. One hundred, 18/11
- Haematopus unicolor Variable
Oystercatcher. Widespread, but not very common.
- Himantopus himantopus Pied Stilt. Perhaps
a good species Himantopus leucocephalus. Widespread and
common. > 200, Miranda, 18/11.
- Himantopus novaezelandiae Black
Stilt. A very rare bird ! We saw at least 2 adults,
24/11, on lake Pukaki shores. An adult, 24 and 25/11, Akurini
river, near Omarana.
- Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover.
Three, 18/11 Miranda.
- Charadrius obscurus New Zealand
Plover (Dotterel). A ten or so, 15/11 Waipu Cove ;
then 1, 18/11 Miranda.
- Charadrius bicinctus Banded
Dotterel. The 22/11, 6 on the Kaikoura beach then 2 pairs
with chicks, South Bay. Fifteen or so, 24/11, lake Pukaki and
3, 29/11 Aporimo river.
- Charadrius (=Elseyornis) melanops Black-fronted
Dotterel. Only one, 29/11, Aporimo river.
- Anarhynchus frontalis Wrybill.
One male,15/11, Waipu Cove then a ten or so, very tame, 18/11
- Vanellus miles Masked Lapwing. Widespread
and common. Nest, 22/11, Kaikoura.
- Stercorarius parasiticus Arctic Skua.
Two, 17/11 off Tiritiri Matangi and one, 21/11 Kaikoura.
- Larus dominicanus Kelp Gull. Widespread.
Common on the coast.
- Larus scopulinus (= L. novaehollandiae) Red-billed
Gull. Abundant on the coast. Not in the interior but Rotorua.
- Larus bulleri Black-billed Gull.
Common in the interior of South Island. Very tame in Queenstown.
- Sterna caspia Caspian Tern. Three, 15/11
Waipu Cove ; some,18/11, Miranda and 1, 23/11 south of Kaikoura.
- Sterna striata White-fronted Tern.
The commonest Tern in New Zealand. Seen everywhere on the coasts.
- Sterna nereis davisae Fairy Tern.
The NZ sub-species is very rare (thirty or so wild live birds).
One, 15/11 Waipu Cove.
- Sterna albostriata = Chlidonias albostriatus Black-fronted
Tern. Widespread on the large river of South Island. > 20,
24/11, lake Benmore.
- Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae New
Zealand Pigeon. Widespread but not very common.
- Nestor meridionalis New Zealand
Kaka. Some, in flight, 19/11 Pureroa. Common near Oban.
A very tame bird in Ulva island.
- Nestor notabilis Kea. Mountain
species. Only in Fiordland. Two, Homer Tunnel, 29 and 30/11 ;
one Milford Sound Lodge, 30/11 ; one the same day Cascade
Creek and Haast Pass 02/12.
- Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae Red-crowned
Parakeet. Only Tiritiri Matangi and Ulva islnds where is
- Cyanoramphus auriceps Yellow-crowned
Parakeet. One, 20/11 near Tongarino then 2, 27/11, Ulva
- Chrysococcyx lucidus Shining Bronze-Cuckoo.
One, 22/11 near Kaikoura beach.
- Eudynamys taitensis Long-tailed Cuckoo
(Koel). One, 27/11, Ulva island.
- Ninox novaeseelandiae Morepok. One seen
and one heared, Tiritiri Matangi island, 16/11 and another heared
the next day.
- Todiramphus sanctus = Halcyon sancta Sacred
- Acanthisitta chloris Rifleman.
Common in Fiordland forests.
- Xenicus gilviventris Rock Wren
= South Island Wren. Only near the entrance of Homer Tunnel,
on the Milford Sound road. Tame.
- Hirundo neoxena Welcome Swallow. Widespread
but not common. Not seen Stewart Island.
- Anthus novaeseelandiae New Zealand Pipit.
One, 19/11 and 3 next day, National Park ; 24/11, lake Pukaki
and 29/11 Homer Tunnel.
- Megalurus punctata New Zealand
Fernbird. Common near National Park.
- Mohoua albicilla Whitehead.
Only on Tiritiri Matangi where is common.
- Mohoua ochrocephala Yellowhead.
Rare. Two, 01/12 lake Sylvan forest, then 2, 02/12, Hasst Pass.
- Mohoua novaeseelandiae New Zealand
Brown Creeper. Common on Ulva island and in Fiordland forests.
Also seen near Bluff.
- Gerygone igata Grey Gerygone.
Widespread. One of the commonest endemics.
- Rhipidura fuliginosa Grey Fantail. Widespread
and common. We saw some dark birds.
- Petroica macrocephala Tomtit.
Only in the native forests. Abundant on Ulva island.
- Petroica australis New Zealand
Robin. Like our Robin ! Very tame. Common in native
- Zosterops lateralis Silvereye. Widespread
and common everywhere.
- Notiomystis cincta Stitchbird.
Very rare, seen only on Tiritiri Matangi island.
- Anthornis melanura New Zealand
Bellbird. Common endemic, seen in numerous places.
- Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae Tui.
Abundant endemic !
- Callaeas wilsoni North Island
Kokako. Only seen on Tiritiri Matangi island.
- Philesturnus (=Creadion) carunculatus Saddleback.
Only seen on Tiritiri Matangi and Ulva islands.
- Cygnus atratus Black Swan. From Australia.
Widespread. Abundant at Rotorua.
- Anser anser Greylag Goose. From Europe,
the birds seen were not like European wild birds !
- Branta canadensis Bernache du Canada.
From America. Pair with 3 chicks, 24/11, lake Benmore. A group > 50
birds, lake Wakatipu.
- Anas platyrhynchos Mallard. Widespread.
Female with 11 chicks, 18/11, Orewa. Another one wit 4 chicks,
same day, Rotorua.
- Coturnix australis (= ypsilophora) Brown
Quail. From Australia. Common on Tiritiri Matangi.
- Gallus gallus Feral Chicken = Red Junglefowl.
From Asia. Seen between Orewa and Sandspit, 16 and 17/11 and
near Miranda le 18/11. All far farm.
- Phasianus colchicus Ring-necked Pheasant.
From ? One male, 17/11, Sandspit and 20/11, National Park.
- Pavo cristatus Indian Peafowl. From Asia.
Male and female, 18/11 near Wakaroa.
- Meleagris gallopavo Wild Turkey. From
North America. One male and 4 females, 18/11 near Miranda.
- Callipepla californica California Quail.
From North America. Two, 19/11 on the Rotorua golf court ;
one, 23/11 Kaikoura forest and 2 same day Waiau river, south
- Columba livia Rock Pigeon. From Europe.
In towns, but breds also on small rocky islets like at Nugget
- Streptopelia roseogrisea Barbary Dove.
From Africa. Only seen Orewa (2 birds, 1 in song).
- Streptopelia chinensis Spotted Dove. From
China. One, 15/11 near Auckland airport.
- Platycercus eximius Eastern Rosella. From
Australia. One, 15/11, Waipu Cove. Another, same day, near Orewa.
- Alauda arvensis Sky Lark. From Europe.
Common in pastures.
- Prunella modularis Dunnock. Fron Europe.
Widespread and common.
- Turdus merula Blackbird. From Europe.
Widespread and common ; abundant in towns.
- Turdus philomelos Song Thrush. From Europe.
Like the Blackbird. Nest with 5 old chicks, 15/11 near Auckland
- Emberiza citrinella Yellowhammer. From
Europe. Everywhere in small number.
- Emberiza cirlus Cirl Bunting. From Europe.
Rare. Male, 25/11, Kakanui.
- Fringilla coelebs Chaffinch. From Europe.
- Carduelis chloris European Greenfinch.
From Europe. Widespread.
- Carduelis carduelis European Goldfinch.
From Europe. Widespread.
- Carduelis flammea Common Redpoll. From
Europe. Abundant in South Island (zlso in towns !).
- Passer domesticus House Sparrow. From
Europe. We saw a few birds with white cheecks, Asian birds ?
- Sturnus vulgaris Common Starling. From
Europe. Widespread but in mountain.
- Acridoteres tristis Common Myna. From
Asia. Abundant in towns in the north half of North Island. Not
present more south.
- Gymnorhina tibicen Australian Magpie.
Fron Australia. Widespread in pastures.