Visit your favourite destinations
|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
New Zealand, 1-15 June 2007,
Our birding tour occurred early in the New Zealand winter because it preceded a conference on evolutionary biology in Christchurch. Doug and Bob are faculty members in this field, at Stony Brook University [New York] and the University of Florida, respectively; both are avid birders. Lynne, who works in urban and regional planning, is a very patient, understanding nonbirder, and a salutary civilizing influence. We covered much of the country at a rapid pace, and succeeded in seeing all the endemic species we tried for. We regret not trying for Greater Spotted Kiwi, and not having had time for an excursion on the Hauraki Gulf. We did not go to Stewart Island, and did not see South Island Brown Kiwi, because Phillip Smith, who runs excursions for this species, was on winter vacation.
We had planned, and largely adhered to, a detailed itinerary, based mostly on previous trip reports (see below) and on locality descriptions in Chambers (2000). We built in a flex day, expecting that we would lose at least one day to bad weather, but we were extraordinarily fortunate, and lost no time on this account. We encountered some snow at Lewis Pass (en route to Westport, South Island), but road crews were efficient at clearing both this and other high roads. (However, some colleagues who toured the South Island during the last week of June, after the conference, were unable to cross high passes.)
We found New Zealand an extremely pleasant country, comfortable, welcoming and human. From the perspective of ecology and birding, it seemed very strange to us, because although one encounters native vegetation and birds in protected parks and forest reserves, the intervening managed landscape, largely agricultural and pastoral, has an overwhelmingly European aspect; almost every bird is a European species, and at least superficially the same seems true of the plants. (Perhaps more native plants would be evident in summer.)
Information and resources
We used the Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand for accommodations, etc. (Additional guides to motels and B&B’s can be easily obtained at many of these establishments.) For bird identification, we used Heather and Robertson’s The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. We obtained locality information and planned our itinerary largely on the basis of Stewart Chambers’s Birds of New Zealand Locality Guide and on several trip reports, all available at birdtours.co.uk/tripreports. Especially useful were those by Steve and Ann Newman (12 January – 15 March 2006), Greg Baker (“Endemic and scarce birds in New Zealand, December 10, 2006 to January 7, 2007), Dave Klauber and Dennis Dipietrantonio (29 July – 15 August 2002), and Richard Fairbank (7 – 30 August 1996). In addition, Chris Gaskin of Kiwi Wildlife Tours (firstname.lastname@example.org) provided us with a number of detailed locality maps for many target species. We had contacted him based on reading Dave Klauber’s trip report. Chris also helped us by arranging our stay at Tiritiri Matangi Island and transportation to and from the island (as well as our bed & breakfast in Kaiaua, near Miranda) and by buying food supplies for our overnight stay at Tiritiri Matangi. However, birders who request similar service in future might do well to discuss and fix costs in advance (we did not, and were a little surprised), and to specify just what food they might need. (After two weeks, we were still using some of the food he supplied.)
Accommodations and travel
We spent most nights in motels, which (unlike hotels) have kitchenettes that are fully appointed with cooking ware, dishes, wine glasses, microwave, toaster, and milk for your morning coffee. We soon learned that an advantage of winter travel is that we hardly needed to book in advance; usually we called ahead by several hours, and in some cases merely drove about town and checked out possibilities. (We used a mobile phone, having arranged for international capability before leaving the U.S.) Most motels provided two bedrooms and a common area for about NZ$120. Heaters, needed for each room, were usually but not always adequate. We rented cars from Omega, dropping off the first in Wellington and picking up the second in Picton (South Island), where an agent met us at the ferry. We used four-door sedans, no four-wheel drive. (Omega provided chains on South Island, but we did not need them.) We had been warned to obey speed limits because of widespread traffic cameras, and we did so; we felt that the posted speeds (up to 100 kph on most country highways) are quite suitable for making good time. We had borrowed a detailed road atlas, the New Zealand Travel Atlas (Wises Maps, Auckland; fax 09 526 6313), from a friend, and it proved invaluable.
At an exchange rate of NZ$1.00 = US$0.75, the following were some of our costs (in NZ$). We prepared our own breakfast and lunch, and generally had dinner in a restaurant.
Car rental: 568 North Island + 770 South Island
Tiritiri ferry (out) + water taxi (back): 455 for 3 people
Kerikeri kiwi tour (for 3): 120 for 3
Dolphin Tours excursion on QC Sound: 285 for 3
Kaikoura Albatross Encounters boat: 240 for 3
Fuel, North Island: 182
Fuel, South Island: 310
Food supplied by C. Gaskin for Tiritiri: 150 (some used for subsequent meals)
Dinners: averaged $73 (for 3)
Groceries: Total $206 for 3
Motel costs are given in daily accounts.
Itinerary in brief
Day 1 (1 June): Arrived Auckland airport, cleared and picked up car by 6:30 a.m., arrived Gulf Harbor 8:00, ferry to Tiritiri Matangi arrived at island 10:30. Overnight on Tiri (cost: NZ$140 for 3).
Day 2: Water taxi to Gulf Harbour; north on Hwy 1, stopping at Waipu Cove; arrived Kerikeri 5:00 pm. Night walk for North Island Brown Kiwi. B&B lodging $240.
Day 3: Stop near Paikia for Fernbird, Helena Bay for Brown Teal, and near Hikurangi for NZ Dabchick; overnight in Kaiaua (Kaiaua Lodge B&B, ph. 09-232-2696, $200)..
Day 4: Miranda wetlands; stopped at Whangamarino wetland and Lake Rotorua; overnight in Rotorua (Regent Motel, $85 for 3).
Day 5: Arrived Pureora Forest Park 8:45; to Manganui a Te Ao River site for Blue Duck, arriving 4:00. Overnight in Wanganui (Astral Motel, $120).
Day 6: Stopped at Foxton Beach; day and overnight in Wellington (Apollo Motel, $150).
Day 7: Departed on ferry at 8:40, arrived Picton 11:30, abbreviated boat tour of Queen Charlotte Sound (for King Shag), returning at 4:30. Arrived in Kaikoura 7:30, overnight (motel $130).
Day 8: Kaikoura pelagic 9:00 – 11:30; to Westport on Hwy 7 via Lewis Pass, arriving Westport 5:15 (overnight Westport Motel, $110).
Day 9: Cape Foulweather and Tauranga Bay, then south; detour on Bullock Creek Road in Paparoa National Park; stopped at Pancake Rocks (Punakaiki) and Franz Josef glacier; arrived Fox glacier 5:15, in time for Keas. Overnight in Fox Glacier (Rainforest Motel, $120).
Day 10: Short visits to Lake Matheson and Fox glacier, then southward, stopping briefly at Lake Paringa; arrived at Haast Pass 2:30, birded until 4:30. Overnight in Haast (Heritage Lodge Motel, $135).
Day 11: Haast Pass 9:00 – 11:30; drove via Wanaka and Queenstown to spend night in Te Anau (Radford’s Lakeview Motel, $140 per night for two nights).
Day 12: After several brief stops, arrived at Homer Tunnel, birded 10:00 – 11:30; drove to Milford Sound; again stopped at Homer Tunnel 2:30 – 3:30; several short stops before return to Te Anau, stayed there again overnight.
Day 13: From Te Anau via Gore to Otago Peninsula, arrived 1:15 at the Royal Albatross Colony on Taiaroa Head; took albatross tour, then to The Penguin Place at 3:15 for Yellow-eyed Penguin. Departed 5:00; overnight in Oamaru (Midway Motel, $125).
Day 14: In Oamaru, visited Oamaru Harbour and Bushy Beach; drove to Omarama, Twizel, and the Ben Avon Wetland in Ahuriri Conservation Park for Black Stilt. Overnight in Lake Tekapo (Lake Tekapo Motel and Motor Inn, $120).
Day 15: Stopped at Peel Forest Park near Geraldine; arrived in Christchurch 2:00 p.m.
30 May. We met in Los Angeles International Airport at 3:00 Pacific Daylight time, Doug having flown from New York (Kennedy) and Bob and Lynne from Gainesville. The Qantas flight departed at 9:15 pm PDT and arrived in Auckland at 4:30 am, 1 June, local time (9:30 am PDT).
1 June. By prearrangement, the car rental company (Omega) had left paperwork and keys at the airport information desk. We cleared the airport by 6:30, eager to precede the rush hour traffic into Auckland, which we understood could set us back considerably. Dawn was at ca. 7:00. The route to the Gulf Harbour ferry on the Whangaparoa Peninsula is well signed, and we arrived there at 8:00, noting Purple Swamphens (Pukeko), Australian Magpies, Common Mynas, and European Starlings en route. At Gulf Harbour, we soon saw a New Zealand Pigeon and a distant White-fronted Tern, as well as Red-billed Gulls, Black-backed [Kelp] Gulls, two Variable Oystercatchers, and plenty of European Goldfinches and House Sparrows. Chris Gaskin met us and provided our food for overnight on Tiritiri Matangi Island (and food enough for some time thereafter). Accommodations on the island consist of several Spartan rooms in the Bunkhouse; overnight visits must be arranged well in advance, and guests must bring their own food. Some bedding was available, but many guests bring their own. Guests are expected to clean up before leaving.
During the 40-minute ferry crossing, we saw five Blue Penguins and several hundred Fluttering Shearwaters, as well as Australian Gannets, Pied and Little Pied Shag, Great Cormorant, and a male Orca (killer whale) at rather close range. After an introductory lecture and guidelines from the rangers, and after stowing our gear, we walked trails until about 4:15, enjoying clear, warm weather and endemic birds we had come to see, several of which exist only on a few islands under strict protection and predator control. The Wattle Track from the ferry slip to the Bunkhouse was, in general, most profitable, although we also saw birds along and near the Ridge Track. Saddleback, Bellbird, Tui, Whitehead, New Zealand Robin, and Red-crowned Parakeet were common; we saw Stitchbirds (ca. 15) only near a feeder on the Wattle Track, fairly close to its start near the ferry slip. A very tame Takahe greeted us at the ferry, and several more grazed the lawns near the Bunkhouse and visitor’s centre. Acting on a report by a guide who said that she thought she had glimpsed Kokakos near the Ridge Track, we were very fortunate to find two immature birds on a small track just off the Kawerau Track where it parallels the Ridge Track. These magnificent birds, bounding along the ground and eating leaves in trackside trees, were a highlight of our trip. During this walk, we also saw a Spotless Crake walking on the forest floor long the Wattle Track, across the roadway from a small pond where it is sometimes seen (and where a captive Brown Teal resides). Several books note that although Spotless Crake is restricted to wet areas on mainland, it can also occur in forest on small offshore islands. Other species included Fantail (widespread and common in NZ), Variable Oystercatcher and Sacred Kingfisher along the shore, and several introduced species (Blackbird, Song Thrush, House Sparrow).
After an early dinner, we went out, chiefly in search of Little Spotted Kiwi, with flashlights (torches) and red cellophane (supplied at the Bunkhouse, for use with torches so as to minimize disturbance of kiwis). We first went to a bluff near Hubbs Beach, in hopes of lingering Grey-faced (Great-winged) Petrels, which nest there, and whose burrows are reportedly also used by Tuataras. We dipped on both, but did see kiwi tracks and (we think) probe holes on the upper reaches of the beach, and heard the first of about eight Little Spotted Kiwis, mostly far off or in thick grass and scrub. Along the Ridge Track, we heard two fairly close kiwis, and Bob and a few members of another group glimpsed one as it retreated into brush. Doug stayed at that site after the others retired, soon heard one rustling near the track, and then had a point-blank view of a Little Spotted Kiwi a few meters away. Having turned off the light, he accompanied the bird as it moved parallel to the track; after some time, it crossed the track, visible in the bright moonlight, not two meters distant. Acting on this news, Bob returned to this site at 4 a.m. and had a similarly satisfying view of a kiwi.
2 June. We were scheduled to arrive in Kerikeri, in the Northland, before 5 pm, to meet Detlef and Carol Davies, who accommodate small numbers of birders at their B&B (“Birders’ Rest”; email@example.com), and who offer evening walks to see Northern Brown Kiwis on the Purerua Peninsula, where a predator control program is underway. So we left Tiri at 10:00 by expensive water taxi. After a shopping stop in Gulf Harbour, we drove steadily north on Highways 1 and 10, stopping only at Waipu Cove (drive to end of the road to the cove and scope the estuary). Here we were immediately rewarded with 12 New Zealand Dotterels, of which several were in beautiful breeding plumage. Other birds included 3 Banded Dotterel and our first pair of Paradise Shelduck, as well as White-faced Heron, Royal Spoonbill, Variable Oystercatcher (mostly the black morph), Pied Stilt, and Bar-tailed Godwit. Along this road, we added Wild Turkey and Indian Peafowl to our list of alien species. We arrived on schedule at the Davies’ beautiful home, and almost immediately drove out to the kiwi area, which to our surprise is mostly grassy livestock paddocks, with scattered copses from which the Kiwis emerge at night. After some suspenseful searching, we had excellent views, at quite close range, of two adult Kiwis and a juvenile, and heard several others. We heard 2 Moreporks but could not see them.
3 June. At breakfast, Detlef and Carol gave us directions to sites for Brown Teal (at Helena Bay) and New Zealand Dabchick, and then generously offered to bring us to a site for Fernbird, which can be elusive. The site is on Highway 11 south of Paihia, where a ditch borders a short path that parallels the road. Two Fernbirds responded to Detlef’s tape by calling (but remaining hidden); a third bird afforded excellent views. This site also provided Silvereye (subsequently seen in many places), Grey Warbler, and Eastern Rosella (another introduction). Parting from our delightful hosts, we proceeded south through Kawakawa, where we stopped to see the Hundertwasser Toilets (a public facility by Austrian artist Frederik Hundertwaasser, and a splendid hybrid of kitsch and camp), and then, five km further on, took a one-kilometer detour to see the Kawiti Marae glowworm cave. This cave, owned by a local Maori family, is doubtless considerably smaller than the widely advertised glowworm caverns, but nonetheless provided a marvelous sight – constellations of blue-white glowing larvae of the sciarid midge Arachnocampa luminosa. Each larva sits in a hammock of silk from which threads hang, in which flying insects are caught. One wonders how often a larva is successful, as the density of errant insects deep within the cavern must usually be very low. We then drove to Helena Bay, following a rather long detour through hills, as the direct road was closed for roadworks. We found 27 Brown Teal as directed, on the bank of a creek that crosses the road a few kilometers southeast of the village of Helena Bay. After returning to the highway and proceeding south, we stopped at Lake Waco (turn off Hwy 1 just north of Hikurangi, on a signed road to the Hikurangi Museum; almost immediately, turn left off this road into a picnic area on the lake border). Patient scanning yielded our quarry, a pair of New Zealand Dabchick. A long drive then took us past Auckland, and then a side road took us to Kaiaua, on the Firth of Thames, where Chris Baskin had booked us at the Kaiaua Lodge (phone 09-232-2696), a B&B. Kaiaua is less than 10 km from Miranda.
4 June. The road from Kaiaua to Miranda is close to the shore; we saw Variable Oystercatcher and Yellowhammers, and glimpsed a Black-billed Gull as we drove. The main viewing site for shorebirds at Miranda is south of the visitors’ centre, just before the road bends away from the shoreline, where a shed stands near the shore. A short walk is required to scan for shorebirds. We arrived at high tide (as planned) and found almost no waders on the shore, but soon discovered more than 100 Wrybill resting in flooded grasses and Salicornia , together with about 25 Bar-tailed Godwits and 10 Red-necked Stints. We saw wheeling flocks of waders in the distance, which proved also to be Wrybill, many of which settled near us on the shore as the tide dropped. In all, we saw at least 1000 Wrybill; we later learned at the Visitors’ Centre that a high count of 2300 had been recently recorded. Other sightings here or nearby included Grey Teal (ca. 60), Australasian Shoveller (1), Paradise Shelduck, Pied Oystercatcher ((>200, in nearby paddocks), Banded Dotterel (37), New Zealand Dotterel (3), White-fronted Tern (20), Caspian Tern (5), Sacred Kingfisher (ubiquitous on North Island), Grey Warbler, and a roadkill Hedgehog (another alien; the only native land mammals in New Zealand are two species of bats, one of which reputedly forages often on the ground).
From Miranda, we drove to the Whangamarino Wetland, near Meremere, which Chris Gaskin had noted as a possible site for Australasian Bittern. We saw nothing of note at this not very appealing site. We drove to Rotorua, where we saw large flocks of New Zealand Scaup near shore (near the interesting St. Faith’s Anglican Church) We visited the Te Puia geothermal site ($35 admission), which has some nice geysers, and spent the night in the inexpensive Regent Motel.
5 June. We left Rotorua at 7:30, and arrived at 8:45 at the Pureora Forest (via Route 30 through Whakamaru to Barryville; take Barryville Road left to the visitors’ centre and access to main tracks). The Forest Tower is situated in beautiful native forest. We saw few birds here, however; our best viewing was on the Forest Tower road near the junction of Plains Road, where we had 2 or 3 Kakas and 6-8 pairs of Yellow-crowned Parakeets fly over. Doug saw a Rifleman at this site, and in this area we had New Zealand Pigeon, Whitehead, Fantail, Grey Warbler, New Zealand Robin, our first Tomtits, good numbers of Tuis and Bellbirds, many Silvereyes, and a large flock of Common Redpolls. We stayed until 1:30, mostly in fruitless search for more Rifleman (men?), and then drove to the site where we hoped to see Blue Duck. West from Pureora, go south on Highway 4, past National Park and Horopito. About 4 km past Tohunga Junction (junction of Hwy 49), go northwest toward Ruatiti Domain (signed). A bridge over the Manganui a Te Ao River is 12 km from the highway, next to the “Blue Duck Cottage”. The ducks are sometimes seen from this bridge, but not by us. We continued about another kilometer, to a point where a long stretch of river is visible below the road. Bob spotted the pair of Blue Ducks before we stopped the car, even though they are cryptically colored, matching the rocks nicely. They were sitting on a large rock in midstream. Although they had their heads tucked most of the time, we did see the peculiar flaps at the end of the bill. These birds were color-banded. From here we drove to the rather upscale town of Wanganui and found a motel ($120).
6 June. En route to Wellington, we stopped at the Foxton Beach estuary, We saw almost no birds on the mudflats from a park or from an ocean overlook in the trailer park beyond it. However, a turn down a side street through some shops provided a better view of the estuary, with about 15 Black-billed Gulls, as well as Royal Spoonbill, Grey Teal, Australasian Shoveller, Canada Goose, and Caspian and White-fronted Terns. We spent the afternoon in Wellington, mostly at the Te Papa Museum and at Katherine Mansfield’s home. Overnight at the Apollo Motel ($150).
7 June. We dropped off the car at the Omega office, and were brought to the terminal, quite close by, for the ferry to Picton. Baggage is checked as at airports. The ferry is huge, with about 7 levels. Although one cannot stand outside at the front, a deck on each side allows good viewing during the ca. 2.5-hour passage. We had clear skies and plenty of birds, including at least 60 Shy Albatross (or White-capped, Thalassarche [cauta] steadi), many of them quite close; 2 Black-browed Albatross, more than 400 Fluttering Shearwater (mostly in Wellington Harbour and in Queen Charlotte Sound), 2 Cape Petrel, 1 Grey-faced (or Great-winged) Petrel, about 10 Fairy Prion, and 3 Common Diving Petrel. Other than procellariiforms, a Blue Penguin, several Spotted Shag (in QC Sound), some White-fronted Terns (at both ends), and a Black-fronted Tern (in QC Sound) were noteworthy.
We were met in the Picton ferry terminal by an Omega agent, went to their office to pick up our second car (with more cramped trunk [boot] space than the first), had a lovely lunch overlooking the harbor, and at about 2:00 met the skipper of the Dolphin Watch Ecotour boat, which we had booked by telephone several days before (www.naturetours.cp.nz, phone +64 3 5738040). This was their off season and there were no other clients, but they were willing to run an abbreviated tour (which is all we wanted, since we had no other goal than to see King Shag). The Queen Charlotte Sound reminded us of similar channels along the Pacific coast of Washington and British Columbia, with forested hills dropping sharply into clear waters that are not all that productive and so support only a rather low density of birds. The well-informed skipper found an immature King Shag on the water and a fine adult on a ledge, taking shelter from the strong wind; we also saw about 20 Spotted Shag, a few Black-fronted Tern, several Southern Fur Seal, and two small groups of Dusky Dolphin. We drove several hours to Kaikoura, arriving about 8 p.m., and chose a motel from the many available.
8 June. Kaikoura. Upwelling from an offshore trench that extends nearly to the shore makes Kaikoura famous for pelagic birding. We had called Albatross Encounters (www.oceanwings.co.nz, phone + 64 3 33196777 or free phone 0800 733 365) several days before to book the morning (9:00) cruise. (They typically run another at 1:00.) Rather rough-looking seas in the early morning, resulting from strong winds during the night, made us fear a cancellation that would throw us seriously off schedule, but Captain Gary, fortunately, agreed to go out. (We assured him that we were all hardened seafarers, which was not too great a stretch for some of us.) On the way out, we steamed past at least 100 Hutton’s Shearwaters (and a few Fluttering), which breed here. We should have had him stop for them, as we discovered on our return, when none were to be seen. We spent more than an hour at rest only a few kilometers from shore, in about 1000 fathoms, chumming in birds and visiting a nearby fishing vessel. We could almost reach out and touch the throngs of Cape Petrels that came to the bait, as did 30 or so Wandering Albatross (mostly Gibson’s, Diomedea [exulans] gibsoni, also 2 Snowy, D. [e.] chionoptera), 2 Southern Royal Albatross, at least 8 Black-browed, about 15 Shy (including one Salvin’s (T. [c.] salvinii) amidst the White-capped), and about 10 Buller’s Albatross. At least 20 Northern and one Southern Giant Petrel completed the show. In response to some urging, the captain was induced to go out somewhat further, resulting in our adding to our list 4 Westland Petrel (which do not come to chum) and the first of about 25 Fairy Prion, which we continued to encounter on the return toward port, reached at 11:40. Several Black-billed Gulls and White-fronted Terns were on the jetty where the boat is launched. This was undoubtedly the standard trip, short in duration and areal coverage, and although we saw fine birds in a show that must more than satisfy visitors who have had relatively little seabirding experience, one can only imagine what a more extended excursion might produce. Quite a few more petrels, one might hope.
We left Kaikoura at 12:30 and drove via Highways 70 and 7 over Lewis Pass, encountering sleety rain, and a moderate amount of slushy snow on the highway at the higher altitudes, but road crews were effective in clearing it. A brief stop at the Waterfall Trail about 1 km west of Lewis Pass yielded a few birds (Tomtit, Bellbird, and a glimpse of a Rifleman). We approached Westport nearly at dusk, under overcast sky, via Wilson’s Lead Road, which runs from Route 6 (a little south of Westport) to Cape Foulwind. We saw 3 Weka along the verges of this road, after having seen one on Route 6 immediately beyond a sign marked “Careful, Weka”! We stayed in the pleasant Westport Motel on Esplanade.
9 June. Today was devoted to multiple stops along the coast from Westport south to Fox Glacier. We began at Cape Foulwind at 7:30, scoped the rather distant sea from the high bluffs, and then did the same nearby, at the Southern Fur Seal colony at Tauranga Bay. At the Cape Foulwind carpark we had 3 New Zealand Pipits, and exceedingly confiding Wekas at the carparks at both sites. One closely approached Doug, as he sat in the car with the door open, and pecked his proffered hand. Other birds at these sites included at least 30 albatrosses, of which at least 8 were “Shy,” 3-4 Westland Petrels, and 2 Variable Oystercatchers (black morph). Only a few Fur Seals were at the colony. A Hare was at the Cape carpark.
Heading south, we detoured onto Bullock Creek Road, which runs eastward into Paparoa National Park, north of Punakaiki. In a trip report from 1996, Richard Fairbank indicated that Great Spotted Kiwis can be found (with great good fortune) at the end of this road, but flooding on the road had prevented him from trying. We had decided not to try, due to improbability of success and our tight schedule, and this proved to have been the right decision, because the road indeed had a large pool that we decided not to ford in our 2WD car. The road is situated in a beautiful valley with interesting vegetation, especially a swampland plant called New Zealand flax (in a family, Phiormaceae, that we suppose is endemic). Birds were sparse, but we had 3 Wekas, a pair of New Zealand Pigeons, Grey Warbler, Tomtit, and New Zealand Robin.
From the Irinapuwheki Viewpoint, north of Puinakaiki, a narrow extension of the elevated rocky coast is visible, with layers of sedimentary rock forming multiple long ledges. These were thickly peppered with Spotted Shags, numbering between 1000 and 1500. We stopped for a walk at the Pancake Rocks, at Punakaiki, appreciating the extraordinary rock formations. The National Park visitor center here has some interesting items for sale, including musical cards that, when opened, play acceptable recordings of Kokako, Little Spotted Kiwi, and other species.
We arrived at about 4 pm at the Franz Josef glacier, hoping to see Kea. Neither at the carpark nor along the trail to the glacier viewpoint did we see any. Some young guides at the carpark informed us that Keas were seldom seen here, but were almost always to be seen at the Fox glacier, a short distance to the south. We sped there as fast as we could, to get there before dark, and were rewarded with a single Kea on the ground at the vacant carpark. Its mate flew in when the first bird called. The Keas and the close encounter with Weka were certainly the day’s highlights.
Overnight in the village of Fox Glacier at the pleasant (but cold) Rainforest Motel, for NZ$120.
10 June. We spent much of the morning enjoying scenery, first at Lake Matheson, just south of Fox Glacier village (where we saw Pipit, Dunnock, and Spur-winged Plover, but not the New Zealand Falcon that trip reports had led us to hope for). Then a return to the splendidly scenic Fox Glacier, where we walked to the glacier viewpoint and returned to find one of last evening’s Keas canonically sitting atop a van, probing at projections and other surface irregularities. The drive from here to Haast, including a brief, virtually birdless stop at Lake Paringa, took about 3 hours. Another hour brought us to Haast Pass at 2:30. The road here runs through excellent forest, and there is a carpark at the pass, from which two trails depart. One is the Bridle Track, by all reports the best site for several important species. We worked the first 100 meters or so of this track for over an hour, and glimpsed distant birds that were following sunlit sectors of the canopy, which receded from us as time passed. Sharp-eyed Lynne spotted “small yellow birds”, but neither of the experienced birders were capable of seeing them – although we did get an excellent Rifleman. We saw little, likewise, at Davis Flat, further on at lower elevation. We enjoyed superb scenery on the way back to Haast, where we stayed at the Heritage Lodge Motel ($135) and had an outstanding home-style meal in the unpretentious (or even unprepossessing) Antler Pub & Restaurant.
11 June. Under clear skies, we arrived at Haast Pass at 9:00, to find trees and road coated in frost and still in shade. We birded the road edge as sunlight began to touch tree tops, and then along the Bridle Track from 10:45 until 11:30. Shortly after 9:00, a lone Kea and a pair of Yellow-crowned Parakeets flew over the road. Our expectation that passerines would forage in sunlit trees was borne out by at least 12 Rifleman, 15-20 Brown Creepers (Pipipi), several Grey Warblers, and ubiquitous Silvereyes. We finally found a very cooperative group of 5 Yellowheads at 10:45, about 50 meters down the Bridle Track, foraging on mossy trunks and branches high above ground, loosely associated with some Brown Creepers. We stopped at Davis Flat, a few km down hill beyond Haast Pass, and scanned in hopes of New Zealand Falcon – and Bob actually spotted one that almost immediately disappeared behind a hillside. A pair of Yellow-crowned Parakeets flew into an isolated small Podocarpus near the carpark, and were visible at close range after we scrutinized the tree at some length.
We then embarked on the long drive on Highways 8, 6, and 94 through Wanaka and Queenstown to Te Anau. Much of this drive is through virtually treeless pastureland on dry rolling hills, and goes past several birdless large lakes. We arrived at Te Anau shortly before dark, and noted at least 50 New Zealand Scaup on a northern arm of Lake Te Anau, in the course of a short excursion before darkness fell. We stayed this night and the next in Radford’s Lakeview Motel, a very comfortable accommodation for $140/night. On the owner’s recommendation, we enjoyed a fine dinner at the surprisingly trendy Redcliff Bar and Restaurant, which proudly displays a T-shirt signed by Sir Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, and others of the cast of The Lord of the Rings.
12 June. From Te Anau north to Milford Sound, the Southern Alps provide truly stunning scenery, the best of our trip. We left Te Anau at 8:15, driving northward on a somewhat icy road and stopping at Knobs Flat in vain search for New Zealand Falcon, reported to be somewhat regular in this area. We did have a New Zealand Robin here that showed an unaccountable fascination with our car, perching repeatedly on the mirror (but not displaying at its reflection). After early morning fog cleared, we arrived at the south mouth of the Homer Tunnel at 10:00 under clear skies. The Rock Wren site, above the carpark on the right side of the road, is in a cirque, the slope of which has boulders of various sizes, with low shrubs between them. Snow, of variable depth up to about 20 cm, covered much of the ground. Almost immediately on stepping out of the car, we heard high-pitched notes, almost certainly the Wren, from the slope above us, but could see no birds. We did not hear this call thereafter. Bob and Doug walked up the nature trail, stopping for long intervals to scan for birds, and ultimately standing well upslope where the trail, indicated mostly by boot prints in the snow, became obscure. Constantly scanning the slopes through binoculars, Doug finally saw a Rock Wren flit from one boulder to another, 100 to 150 meters away, almost directly up slope from our car, well below. It was almost immediately joined by its mate, and we both had brief but excellent scope views of the male bobbing atop a boulder. The pair then flew low, in short flights interspersed with stops, across the hillside toward us, but we lost them when they settled amid some rocks and shrubs, and did not see them in 15 or so minutes of further search. Needless to say, we were ecstatic (an emotion not shared by Lynne, who had coped with cold and boredom in the car, in the least scenic site one could possibly find along this road). One wonders how these tiny birds, with their high metabolism, sustain themselves in a site that (as far as we can tell) receives no direct sunlight during the winter, and must often be deep in snow. (Note to future wren-seekers: we were very grateful that we had carried our spotting scope with us.)
Leaving Homer Tunnel ca. 11:30, we drove the remaining 14 km to the village of Milford Sound, situated in an exquisite setting. (N. B. There is usually no fuel available in Milford Sound; be sure you have enough for the round trip before leaving Te Anau.) We relaxed in the café and shops, scanned the shoreline and found 2 Variable Oystercatchers as well as a few Little Shags and Pacific Black Ducks. Two New Zealand Pigeons flew across the forested slope above the harbor, a Kea settled in a tree well up slope, several Tomtits were seen on lawns, and a flock of 4-6 Brown Creepers foraged low along the road edge. On the return trip, we stopped at Homer Tunnel and worked again (2:30 – 3:15) for the Rock Wrens, but without any success.
13 June. Te Anau had a thick coat of frost in the morning. We noted about 70 New Zealand Scaup on Lake Te Anau near the village, and then left at 8:15. We drove via Gore to Dunedin, stopping at the Eastern Southland Gallery in Gore to see an art collection, including magnificent African pieces, bequeathed by John Money, a pioneering researcher on sexual identity. En route, we called the Royal Albatross Centre (+64 3 478 0499; firstname.lastname@example.org, www.albatross.org.nz) and The Penguin Place (+64 3 478 0286; see www.penguinplace.co.nz), both on Otago Peninsula, to book the 2:00 and 3:15 tours, respectively. We arrived at the Royal Albatross Centre, at the tip of the peninsula (Taiaroa Head), at 1:15, having driven mostly through sheep-grazed rolling hills. The highlight of this drive, by far, was a superb view of a New Zealand Falcon directly over the road, 2 km northwest of Mossburn. This is the form that is found in open country. Other birds en route included Black Swan, Paradise Shelduck, many Australasian Harriers, Spur-winged Plovers, and, along the shore of Otago Peninsula, many Little Shags, Black-billed Gulls, and both Oystercatchers.
At Taiaroa Head, before the tour, we saw a Black-browed Albatross, several Buller’s Albatrosses (also from Penguin Place), and several Stewart Island and Spotted Shags. The tour of the Albatross Centre begins with a lengthy lecture and a walk up to the observation cabin, from which one looks down through glass windows at the grassy slope down to the shoreline. This colony of Northern Royal Albatross is the only mainland nesting colony of any albatross in the world. We were told not to expect to see adults, and we did not. Five very large nestlings were in sight, as well as at least 170 Stewart Island Shags, of both morphs in roughly equal numbers, at their flamingo-like nests. Some were displaying with grass held in their bills. From here it is a short drive to the privately owned Penguin Place, designed for viewing Yellow-eyed Penguins as they return from sea in late afternoon. A series of covered trenches provide multiple viewpoints for inconspicuous viewing. One penguin was standing near its roost site on the hillside when we arrived, and we observed five more arrive and make their way up. Our guide, knowing their usual routes, hurried us to a site from which we viewed one of the birds at a distance of no more than two meters. We also saw a Bellbird, Dunnocks, and five Southern Fur Seals here. We ended at dusk and drove to Oamaru, where we found a fine motel, the Midway, on the main road.
14 June. We spent several hours in Oamaru, a very attractive town with wonderful old buildings of white limestone, and visited both the Blue Penguin colony site (no penguins to be seen at this hour) and Bushy Beach, site of another Yellow-eyed Penguin colony. Both these sites are nearby, at the edge of the town. We spotted one Yellow-eyed Penguin in the surf at Bushy Beach; it later came to shore and we watched it from high above on the bluff as it walked up the beach and into shrubbery. About 15 Stewart Island Shags were on a pier at the Blue Penguin site, from which we saw at least 6 distant Buller’s Albatrosses. Spotted Shags and Black-billed Gulls were abundant at both sites.
The rest of the day was devoted to our final quest bird, Black Stilt. We drove on Highway 83 northwestward to Omarama (picking up Great Crested Grebe and hundreds of New Zealand Scaup on Lake Waitaki en route), and scanned the Ahuriri River from the bridge on Highway 8, just north of Omarama. We found no stilts, but had a wonderfully cooperative New Zealand Falcon, which landed in and sat for at least 5 minutes in a tree very near the bridge. Slightly south of Twizel, we drove the road along the highway facility to the old Ohau River delta at Lake Benmore, but saw neither stilts nor what we imagined would be promising-looking habitat. We then sought the Department of Conservation office in Twizel, where a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic agent gave us detailed directions to the best current site for the stilts, as well as a sheet describing the status of the population. We immediately drove to the designated site, in the Ben Avon Wetland at the south edge of Ahuriri Conservation Park, reached by driving 15 km west of Omarama on Highway 8 and turning northwest (right) onto Birchwood Road, where there is an information board. This road runs up a magnificent broad valley, parallel to the very wide, braided Ahuriri River. The stilts favor a pond at the side of the road19 km from Highway 8. We descried 2 Black Stilts at a distance, flying up river toward the site shortly before we arrived there, and at the pond found 6 adults and 1 immature. They seemed out of place foraging along the edge of a skim of ice. These, like most free-flying birds, have been released from the captive breeding program in Twizel. According to the information we were given, the February count of the entire population of this species was: in the wild, 87 adults (including 17 “productive” pairs that produced offspring) and 64 subadults and juveniles, as well as 15 captive adults (including 6 productive pairs) and 79 captive juveniles, for a total of 245.
Other birds in this area included Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal (ca. 50 at the stilt site), Australasian Shoveller (15 at this site), and a New Zealand Pipit on Birchwood Road. We spent the night in Lake Tekapo, at the Lake Tekapo Motel and Motor Inn, which was marginally warm enough on a very cold, snowy night.
15 June. En route to Christchurch, we detoured to Peel Forest Park, north of Geraldine, which has splendid podocarps of several species. The few birds included about 5 Bellbirds, as well as the ubiquitous Fantails, Grey Warblers, and Silvereyes. We arrived in Christchurch in early afternoon. Those who stop here might enjoy the small but very good Canterbury Museum (we appreciated their exhibits on pre-European New Zealand more than those at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington) and the Arts Centre, which (at least on Saturday) offers a great array of shops, including diverse crafts.
Taxonomy follows a “Checklist of New Zealand Birds” provided by Kiwi Wildlife Tours. Locality abbreviations include FB (Foxton Beach), HP (Haast Pass), K (Kaikoura), M (Miranda /Kaiaua), PF (Pureora Forest), OP (Otago Peninsula), OT (Omarama/Twizel area), QCS (Queen Charlotte Sound), TM (Tiritiri Matangi Island), WP (Wellington to Picton ferry).
North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli): 3 near Kerikeri 6/2
Little Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx owenii): 1 (per observer) TM 6/1
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus): 1, L. Waitaki 6/14
New Zealand Dabchick (Poliocephalus rufipectus): 2, L. Waco 6/3
Gibson’s (Wandering) Albatross (Diomedea [exulans] gibsoni): 30+, K 6/8
Antipodean (Wandering) Albatross (Diomedea [exulans] chionoptera): 2, K 6/8
Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea [epomorpha] sanfordi): 5 nestlings, OP 6/13
Southern Royal Albatross (Diomedea e.epomorpha): 2, K 6/8
Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche m. melanophrys): 2 WP 6/7, 8 K 6/8
White-capped Albatross (Thalassarche [cauta] steadi): 60 WP 6/7, 15 K 6/8, 25 Westport area 6/9
Salvin’s Albatross (Thalassarche [cauta] salvinii): 1 K 6/8
Buller’s Albatross (Thalassarche bulleri): 10+ K 6/8, 12 OP 6/13, 6 O 6/14
Fluttering Shearwater (Puffinus gavia): 300 en route to TM 6/1, 40 on return 6/2, 400 WP 6/7, 5 K 6/8
Hutton’s Shearwater (Puffinus huttoni): 100 K 6/8
Short-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris): 2 K 6/8
Common Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix): 2 WP 6/7, 1 K 6/8, 1 Westport 6/9
Grey-faced Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera): 1 WP 6/7
Westland Black Petrel (Pterodroma westlandica): 4 K 6/8. 3 Westport 6/9
Cape Petrel (southern) (Daption c. capense) 3 K 6/8
Cape Petrel (Snares) (Daption capense australe): >>100 K 6/8
Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus): 1 K 6/8
Northern Giant Petrel (Macronectes halli): 20 K 6/8
Fairy Prion (Pachyptila turtur): 5 WP 6/7, 30 K 6/8
Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes): 6 OP 6/13, 1 O 6/14
Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor): 5 crossing to TM 6/1, 1 WP 6/7
Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator): >80 crossing to TM 6/1, 30 on return 6/2, 50 WP 6/7
Black Shag (Great Cormorant) (Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae): 2 Gulf Harbour 6/1, 1 en route 6/2, 2 FB 6/6, 1 WP 6/7, 1 OP 6/13, 5 OT (L. Benmore) 6/14
Pied Shag (Phalacrocorax varius): common many sites, North and South Islands, especially harbours on WP crossing, coast south of Westport
Little Shag (Little Pied Cormorant) (Phalacrocoraax melanoleucus brevirostris): Widely distributed along coasts, common along OP shoreline.
New Zealand King Shag (Leucocarbo carunculatus): 2, QCS 6/7
Stewart Island Shag (Leucocarbo chalconotus): 170 OP 6/13, 15 O 6/14
Spotted Shag (Stictocarbo punctatus): 25 WP 6/7, 2 J 6/8, >1000 Irinapuwheki Viewpoint N of Punakaiki 6/9, 12 OP 6/13, 80 O 6/14
White-faced Heron (Ardea novaehollandiae): 3 Waipu Cove 6/2, 4 M 6/4, 1 FB 6/6, 2 west coast 6/9, 3 OP 6/13
Great Egret (Egretta alba): 1 M 6/4, 1 near Haast 6/10
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis): 1 FB 6/6, 2 QCS 6/7
Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia): 20 Waipu Cove 6/2, 27 FB 6/6
Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata): Widespread in pastures, North and South Islands; peak counts >120 6/8, mostly east of Lewis Pass, 40 6/9 along Hwy 6, 70 6/14 OT area.
Blue Duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchus): 2, Manganui a Te Ao River near Raetiti Domain 6/5
Grey (Pacific Black) Duck (Anas superciliosa): 1 FB 6/6, 15 east of Lewis Pass 6/8, 20 south of Punakaiki 6/9, scattered elsewhere
Grey Teal (Anas gracilis): 60 M 6/4, 50 FB 6/6, 50 OT (Black Stilt site) 6/14
Brown Teal (Anas aucklandica): 27 SE of Helena Bay 6/3 (also 2 transplanted birds, TM 6/1)
Australasian Shoveller (Anas rhynchotis): 1 M 6/4, 30 FB 6/6, 15 OT (Stilt pond) 6/14
New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae): 80 Lake Rotorua 6/4, 50 Lake Te Anau 6/11, 100 between Te Anau and Gore 6/13, 200 on lakes SE of Omarama 6/1
Australasian Harrier (Circus approximans): Ubiquitous and common.
New Zealand Falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae): 1 Davis Flat 6/11, 1 over highway near Mossburn 6/13, 1 at Ahuriri River bridge, north of Omarama 6/14.
Weka (Gallirallus australis): Near Westport and south on Hwy 6to Pancake Rocks, 68 and 6/9. Near Westport on Hwy 6 east of junction with Hwy 67; Wilson’s Lead Road near Westport; carparks at Cape Foulweather and Tauranga Bay; carpark at Irinapuwheki Viewpoint; Bullock Creek Road; Pancake Rocks.
Spotless Crake (Porzana tabuensis): 1 along Acacia Track near road, TM 6/1
Pukeko (Purple Swamphen) (Porphyrio porphyrio): Common along roadsides and in wet areas throughout much of North and South Islands
Takahe (Porphyrio mantelli): 3-4, TM, at boat slip and lawns near Visitors’ Centre, 6/1-6/2
Australian Coot (Fulica atra australis): 3 on a small lake along Hwy 4, North Island 6/4
South Island Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus): >50, roadsdide fields near M shorebird site 6/4, 2 K 6/6, 5+ OP6/13
Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor): Common and widespread; Gulf Harbour 6/1, Waipu Cove 6/2, M 6/4, Tauranga Bay 6/9, Milford Sound 6/12, OP 6/13, O 6/14.
Australasian Pied Stilt (Himantopus himantopus): 10 Waipu Cove 6/2, 200+ M 6/4, 1 OP 6/13
Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae): 7Ahuriri Conservation Park north of Omarama 6/14
New Zealand Dotterel (Charadrius obscurus): 15 Waipu Cove 6/2, 3 M 6/4
Banded Dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus): 3 Waipu Cove 6/2, 37 M 6/4
Wrybill Plover (Anarhynchus frontalis): ca. 800 M 6/4
Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus miles): Fairly to very common in pastures and wet areas, especially South Island. Waipu Cove, M, Hwy 6 in Westland, etc.
Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis): 10 M 6/4
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica): 10 Waipu Cove 6/2, 25 M 6/4
Arctic Skua [Parasitic Jaeger] (Stercorarius parasiticus): 1, crossing from TM to Gulf Harbour 6/2
Black-backed [Kelp] Gull (Larus dominicanus): Common, all coastal sites.
Red-billed Gull (Larus scopulinus): Common, all coastal and some inland sites (e.g., central Christchurch).
Black-billed Gull (Larus bulleri): 1 K 6/4, 12 FB 6/6, 5 Picton marina and QCS 6/7, 8 K boat launch/jetty 6/8, OP 6/13, many at O harbour 6/14.
Black-fronted Tern (Sterna albostriata): 3 QCS, from ferry and from boat 6/7
White-fronted Tern (Sterna striata): Fairly common. Several Gulf Harbour 6/1 and 6/2, 20 M 6/4, 15 from ferry, Wellington and QCS 6/7, 10 K 6/8
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia): 1 near Paihia 6/3, 5 M 6/4, 15 FB 6/6, 3 Wellington Harbour 6/7
White-fronted Tern (Sterna striata): 1 Gulf Harbour, 20 M, 15 WP crossing, 10 K, 8 Cape Foulwind
Black-fronted Tern (Sterna albostriata): QCS 6/7 (1 from ferry to Picton, 2 on King Shag cruise)
New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae): Gulf Harbour (4), PF (5), Bullock Creek Road 6/9 (2), several along west coast road SR6 (6/10) and between HP and Waneka (6/11).
Kaka (Nestor meridionalis): 3 fly-overs and several heard, PF, best sightings at junction of Plains and Forest Tower Roads in early morning.
Kea (Nestor notabilis): 2 at Fox glacier carpark 6/9 and 6/10; 1 fly-over at HP, early morning (6/11), 1 in Milford Sound village, up slope from carpark near boat slip 6/12.
Red-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae): Common on tracks (especially Acacia Track) on TM.
Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps): Ca. 15 fly-overs in PF, most seen from junction of Plains and Forest Tower Roads 6/5; 4 in trees at Davis Flat carpark (south of Haast Pass) 6/11.
Morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae): 1 heard on TM; 2 heard at the Purerua Northern Brown Kiwi site (6/2). One called from an isolated, densely leafed tree but somehow eluded sighting.
Sacred Kingfisher (Halcyon sancta): Common along roadsides throughout North Island and northern parts of South Island; also along shorelines.
Rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris): Although reported to be common at several sites, including PF, we saw only 1 there, perhaps not having been attuned to the very high-frequency call notes. One seen briefly at a roadside stop en route to Westport, west of Lewis Pass at the Waterfall Track; about 12 at HP, especially in morning sunlit trees.
Rock Wren (Xenicus gilviventris): 2 at Homer Tunnel (see June 12 account).
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo tahitica): Modest numbers seen throughout.
New Zealand Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae): 3 at Cape Foulweather carpark (6/9), 8 near Fox Glacier, south of Lake Matheson along road to the viewpoint for Mount Cook (6/10), 1 along road to Black Stilt site near Omarama (6/14).
Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata): 1 seen (came to tape) and 2 heard along Hwy 11 south of Paihia (6/2), in shrubs and tall grasses in roadside ditch.
Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla): Common (50+) onTM, also common in PF (Forest Tower Road and near tower).
Yellowhead (Mohoua ochrocephala): 5 at HP, ca. 50 meters down Bridle Track 6/11, moving in mixed flock.
Brown Creeper (Mohoua novaeseelandiae): Ca. 20 at HP, along road and Bridle Track in morning; ca. 6 at Milford Sound carpark near boat slip.
Grey Warbler (Gerygone igata): Fairly common and widespread, seen at TM, PF, Bullock Creek Road, HP and nearby stops, and at various incidental sites.
Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa): Common at most wooded sites and edges.
Tomtit (Petroica macrocephala): as many as 10 at several sites: PF, Waterfall Trail 6/8, Bullock Creek Road and other west coast sites, HP area, Milford Sound village lawns.
New Zealand Robin (Petroica australis): TM (ca. 10), PF (5), Bullock Creek Road, roadside north of Te Anau (1).
Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis): Probably the most abundant native passerine, encountered in most mainland sites.
Stitchbird (Notiomystis cincta):TM, only along the lower end of Acacia Track; 8 (6/2) to 15 (6/1), mostly at and near a feeder designed to exclude larger species.
Bellbird (Anthornis melanura): Abundant on TM (at least 40 on 6/1), also in Davies’ yard in Kerikeri, PF (>12), Waterfall Track 6/8, Penguin Place 6/13, Peel Forest Park 6/15.
Tui (Prosthemadura novaeseelandiae): Common on TM (>30 on 6/1), also Davies’ yard, PF (20).
Kokako (Callaeas cinerea): 2 immatures, TM near Kawerau Track where it parallels Ridge Track, late afternoon.
Saddleback (Philisternus carunculatus): Fairly common on TM, especially along Acacia Track, feeding on ground (at least 25).
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus): Common on lakes, North and South Islands.
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis): Small flocks at FB and Lake Benmore delta, near Twizel.
Brown Quail (Synoicus ypsilophorus): A covey along Acacia Track,TM.
Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus): Several near Waipu Cove.
Peafowl (Pavo cristatus): 3 on road to Waipu Cove.
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo): Ca. 12, roadsides near Waipu Cove.
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia): In several cities and towns.
Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius): Several south of Paihia, 6/3.
Skylark (Alauda arvensis): In fields at many sites; very common at Miranda.
Dunnock (Prunella modularis): At least 6 sites on South Island, especially in gardens.
Blackbird (Turdus merula): Almost ubiquitous.
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos): Seen at most sites.
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrina): Roadside near Kaiaua (2), Pancake Rocks area (2).
Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus): Roadside east of Gore (1).
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs): At most sites, from sea level to Homer Tunnel; common in many places.
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris): Noted near Waterfall Track, Te Anau, Birchwood Road near Omarama.
Eurasian Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis): Common and widespread.
Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea): Flocks in PF, Cape Foulweather, and elsewhere.
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus): Many sites.
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris): Uniquitous.
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis): Common on North Island.
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen): Common throughout.
Brush-tailed Possum, Orca (ferry toTM), Dusky Dolphin (QCS), Southern Fur Seal (same, also Tauranga Bay near Westport, OP), European Hare (Cape Foulwind).