Visit your favourite destinations
|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
New Zealand, November 27th – December 21st 2004,
Exercisgatan 30 B
SE-212 13 Malmö, Sweden
SE-226 48 Lund, Sweden
This trip report contains the bird observations made during a holiday trip to New Zealand. The main purpose of the trip was to see as many interesting birds and mammals as possible, but also to escape from the Scandinavian winter and to enjoy the scenery, culture, wine and food of the country.
We generally found New Zealand to be a very pleasant country to visit, where all practical things worked in a way familiar to Western Europe, with very friendly and helpful people and with a generally breathtaking scenery. In New Zealand internet use is common and therefore a lot of information is readily available there. Booking different activities such as boat trips, accommodation etc is also very easy and there is a lot to choose from.
The weather during our stay was unusually cold, one of the coldest December months for years and although this is obviously not the common case one should be prepared for cold weather. We had temperatures from around 0 to +22 degrees Celsius where most days reached a moderate 15 degrees.
From a birding point of view, land birding provides a relatively limited number of species, where the most common ones are introduced European passerines such as Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chaffinch and Greenfinch. The native species are generally less numerous and it takes some time to find them, as they often are confined to special habitats and in some cases only occur either on North Island or on South Island respectively. Some of the endemic species – especially the flightless ones – have suffered hard from habitat destruction and from the introduction of predators such as rats and feral cats. During the last decades however, big conservative efforts have been made to save some of the almost extinct species by transferring birds to predatorfree offshore islands, such as Tiri Tiri Matangi and Kapiti Island, in order to re-build the populations. To visit these places and to watch these often very unshy, colour-ringed individuals might for a start feel a bit like watching birds in a zoo for a European birder, but it is the only possible way to see a number of these very charismatic species.
The main attraction, however, is the rich marine wildlife in general and the seabirds in particular. We were strongly impressed, especially on South Island, by the presence of shearwaters and albatrosses almost anywhere when looking out to sea. The pelagic trips that we made (more info below) were unforgettable experiences with close up views of albatrosses, petrels and different shearwaters. We would like to recommend anybody visiting New Zealand to make as many pelagics as you can!
We flew with Singapore Airlines from Copenhagen to Singapore overnight and continued the following evening further on to Auckland. On our way back, we flew from Christchurch with only a short stop in Singapore. Our tickets were bought from Nätresebyrån in Malmö and cost 11.200 SEK each (appr. 1.230 €) including taxes and airport fees.
Car rental, roads and traffic
We rented cars both on North Island and on South Island from Holiday Autos, and chose a Holden Commodore Station wagon, which was comfortable and gave plenty of space for the four of us including our quite extensive luggage. For 20 days, including unlimited mileage, Collision Damage Waiver, theft protection, one way fees, local tax and airport fees we paid 14.245 SEK (appr. 1.565 €). Petrol cost around 1:20 NZD per litre – quite favourable compared to Europe. If you travel by ferry between North Island and South Island, it is recommended to return the car in the ferry port and to pick-up a new one after the crossing.
The roads were generally of very good standard and normally with light or moderate traffic only. Please note however, that traffic in the Auckland area is quite heavy and that there generally are congestions also on highway one during the morning rush hours. Consider this if you have ferry reservations or other schedules to keep! Especially when going north from Auckland traffic continues to be rather heavy, which in combination with narrow roads generally makes travelling rather slow.
We experienced no problems with roads that had been closed down by bad weather conditions, but this is not seldom the case in the mountainous areas, especially during the earlier part of the spring.
Our total driven distance was 2.387 kilometres on North Island and 4.001 kilometres on South Island respectively.
We pre-booked accommodation for all nights in advance via internet. We did this in order not to have to worry about finding accommodation en-route. Of course, this gave us a lower flexibility to re-schedule, but we did not find this as a problem. There is however plenty of hotels, motor lodges and bed & breakfast accommodation available, and going out from the frequent vacancy-signs that we encountered, finding room for the night shouldn’t be any problem. Exceptions are on Tiri Tiri Matangi and possibly also on Stewart Island, where it is advisable to book well in advance. Prices were found to be roughly on European levels for a comparable standard. We stayed in the following places:
29 Nov-4 Dec:
Mahurangi Lodge, 416 Mahurangi East Road, Snells Beach, Warkworth.
Phone/Fax: +64 9 425 5465. B&B 105 NZD/night for a double room. Very friendly!
Tiri Tiri Matangi Bunkhouse Phone: +64 9 476 0010,
E-mail: Tiritirimatangifb@doc.govt.nz Basic, youth hostel type, but the only accommodation available on the island. Remember that you have to bring all food and beverages yourself as there is no shop on the island.
Baywater Motor Inn, 126 Lake Terrace, Taupo. Phone: +64 7 378 9933,
Fax: +64 7 378 9940, E-mail: email@example.com. A family unit with four beds (and jacuzzi) for 160 NZD.
Anvil Court Motor Lodge, 1400 Karamu Road Hastings. Phone +64 6 876 4122,
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 95 NZD for a two-bed apartment.
The Halswell Lodge, 21 Kent Terrace, Courtenay Place, Wellington.
Phone: +64 4 385 0196, Fax: +64 4 385 0503, E-mail: email@example.com, Web: www.halswell.co.nz. 89 NZD for a double room without breakfast.
Churchill Park Lodge, 34 Churchill St., Kaikoura Phone: +64 3 319 5526,
Fax: + 64 3 319 5526, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.churchillparklodge.co.nz. 95 NZD for a very nice double room incl. continental breakfast. Recommended!
Oak Lodge, 286 State Highway 6, Coal Creek, Greymouth. Phone: +64 3 768 6832,
Fax: +64 3 768 4362, E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.oaklodge.co.nz. Luxury B&B costing 140 NZD for a double room incl. full breakfast. Very nice!
Heritage Park Lodge, Marks Road, PO Box 58, Haast. Phone: +64 3 750 0868
Fax: +64 3 750 0869, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web: www.heritageparklodge.co.nz. A family unit with two separate bedrooms for 165 NZD per night.
Shakespeare House, 10 Dusky Street, Te Anau. Phone: +64 3 249 7349,
Fax: +64 3 249 7629, E-mail: email@example.com. Double rooms for 110 NZD including breakfast.
Garden Grove Motel, 161 North Road, Invercargill. Phone/Fax: +64 3 215 9555,
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.gardengrovemotel.co.nz/. 170 NZD for a large family unit with two separate bedrooms.
South Sea Hotel, P O Box 25, Stewart Island. Phone: +64 3 219 1059,
Fax: +64 3 219 1120, E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.stewart-island.co.nz. Nice double rooms with sea view for 90 NZD, excl. breakfast. Very nice!
Best Western Tourist motel, 842 George Street, Dunedin. Phone: +64 3 477 4270,
Fax: +64 3 477 6035, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.kiwi-dreams.co.nz. Two-bed studio units for 99 NZD per night.
Mountain Chalet Motels, Wairepo Road, PO Box 65, Twizel.
Phone: +64 3 435 0785, Fax: +64 3 435 0551, E-mail: email@example.com
Web: www.mountainchalets.co.nz. A two bedroom chalet for 150 NZD.
Windsor Hotel Bed & Breakfast, 52 Armagh Street, Christchurch.
Phone: +64 3 366 1503, Fax: +64 3 366 9796, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 120 NZD for a double room incl. breakfast.
Food and Drinks
Some highlights deserve some extra attention:
Clearview Estate Winery and Restaurant, 194 Clifton Road, Te Awanga, Hastings. Phone: +64 6 875 0150 – Nice restaurant at the estate, high reputation and good food. Necessary to book in advance.
The Olive Branch, 54 West End, Kaikoura. Phone +64 3 319 6992 – Good seafood, lobster available.
South Seas Hotel, Half Moon Bay, Stewart Island. Phone +64 3 219 1059 – Nice seafood.
Café Valentino, 813 Colombo St., Christchurch. Phone +64 3 771 886 – Very good Italian food.
New Zealand is a country with a growing wine industry. There are nowadays plenty of wineries and quality is increasing steadily. There are wine areas scattered around all of New Zealand but Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough are two well known ones worth a visit. A lot of good Sauvignon Blanc can be found more or less everywhere and Chardonnay as well, both oaked and unoaked. Also, if the itinerary permits, a visit to Central Otago should not be missed for a tasting of some very good Pinot Noir.
We picked three wineries around Hastings/Napier with a good reputation. Vidal, www.vidal.co.nz Clearview, www.clearviewestate.co.nz and Te Mata, www.temata.co.nz These are fairly well known and Clearview was most crowded due to their well reputed restaurant at the estate. A useful wine site that can be recommended is www.winesofnz.com
Biding guides & pelagics
During our trip we went for pelagic trips in three places:
In the Hauraki Gulf, we joined a full day trip starting from Sandspit, north of Auckland, organised by Pterodroma Pelagics, c/o Chris Gaskin and Karen Baird, website: www.nzseabirds.com, E-mail: email@example.com The trip that cost 180 NZD per person, lasted between 09:00 and 20:00 and was made with a comparatively small boat that took us out on a big circuit of the Outer Hauraki Gulf, north of Little Barrier Island - chumming at several locations. This is the place to see New Zealand Storm Petrel, and our trip was no exception. We had a very pleasant day and these trips, that give a totally different range of birds, compared to Kaikoura, are strongly recommended!
In Kaikoura on South Island, Albatross Encounters operate different kind of boat trips for watching marine wildlife (whales, dolphin swimming and seabirds) on a daily basis all year round. The Seabird trips operate, weather permitting, three times a day in summer (6:00 am, 9:00 am and 1:00 pm) and twice daily in winter. The trips have a duration of between two and a half to three hours and cost 60 NZD for adults. See their web-site www.oceanwings.co.nz/albatross/ for further information.
It was said that the three different departures give equal possibilities of seeing seabirds, but as the 6:00 am-trip mainly attracts “real” birdwatchers, it is then easier to agree with the boat crew to focus on certain species and to skip the circuit to some coastal rocks that otherwise is included in order to watch fur seals and shags etc. These you will see better from land anyway. Also, it seemed during our stay that the wind normally was increasing during the day, and that the early morning trip was less subject to cancellation. It is advisable to book more than one trip, both to decrease the risk of cancellations, but also to see as many species as possible.
On Stewart Island, we made a “mini-pelagic” together with Philip Smith. As we were the only passengers on his rather large boat, this cost us 250 NZD for three hours. Nevertheless it was worth every cent as this enabled us to get close-up views of Fiordland Crested as well as Yellow-eyed Penguins, Brown Skuas and Buller’s Mollymawks.
Philip Smith of Bravo Adventure Cruises also operates night trips to see Brown Kiwis on a regular basis. These trips give unique opportunities to see these charismatic birds as they feed in the open on the beach and should not be missed! In case of decent weather the chances to see kiwis are very good. These trips cost 80 NZD per person and should be pre-booked well in advance, as they are very popular also by non-birders. Contact Bravo Adventure Cruises, c/o Philip & Diane Smith, phone: +64 3219 1144, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Literature and trip reports
We mainly relied on the following two publications:
Please note that some site descriptions in the Chambers guide are less accurate. For instance is the description of how to get to the Historic Bridle Track in Haast is wrong – see further under Itinerary.
Good articles about where to find different species, as well as describing the different pelagics presently operating, have recently been published in Birding World vol. 16: 161-172 (2003, no. 4), vol. 18: 250-259 and 260-261 (2005, no. 6), as well as in Alula 2004/4:170-180.
NZ Birding mailing list: www.birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/NEWZ.html
The Ornithological Society of New Zealand: www.bird.org.nz/
Kiwi Wildlife/Pterodroma Pelagics: www.nzseabirds.com/
Albatross Encounter: www.oceanwings.co.nz/albatross/
Quite a few trip reports are available on the Internet. We found the following ones particularly useful:
New Zealand Birding, 10-27 November 1999 by Jon Hornbuckle
Nya Zeeland, 12 November-6 December 2001, by Thomas Jansson & Anders Paulsrud
New Zealand, 9th to 30th November 2002, by Robert Grimmond
Many thanks to Göran Pettersson and Chris Gaskin who kindly provided a lot of valuable information about sites for some key species, as well as to John Geale, Nick Allen, Nigel Kendall, Michiel van Ettinger, David Riddell and Ross Silcock who responded to our request for info before our departure.
27th Nov: Flew off from Copenhagen at 11:30, non-stop to Singapore.
28th Nov: Arrived in Singapore at 05:50 local time, where we took a taxi to the Botanical Gardens. After a nice buffet breakfast we birded there until noon and saw a number of commoner Southeast Asian birds, among others Brahminy Kite, Dollarbird, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Arctic warbler and Javan Mynah. Heavy rain during the afternoon, which was spent in some shopping areas. Returned to the airport in the evening and continued to Auckland on our second consecutive night flight at 21:00.
29th Nov: Finally arrived in Auckland at noon, picked up our car and went to Snell’s Beach, approximately an hour’s drive north of Auckland. After checking in at our pre-booked B&B, the Mahurangi Lodge, and some food we made our first acquaintances with the avifauna of New Zealand: White-faced Herons, Masked Plovers and Australasian Harriers were common, as well as Red-billed Gulls and Kelp Gulls. The first endemics encountered were New Zealand Pigeon and Tui. A short seawatch produced some Australasian Gannets, three Arctic Skuas and some distant unidentified shearwaters. Went to bed rather early, very tired after the long journey.
30th Nov: Managed to sleep well, despite the 12 hour time difference, and after a slow start we headed north to Waipu Cove Beach. Here we almost immediately found the first of our target species, Fairy Tern. Other birds around were 3 New Zealand Dotterels, as well as some holarctic waders like Bar-tailed Godwit and Turnstone. Continued north to Trounson Park, a nice forest area with enormous Kauri trees, where we walked on boardwalk trails below the dense forest canopy. New birds were Grey Warbler and Silvereye as well as more exotic species such as California Quail and Eastern Rosella.
In the evening we visited the Goat Island Marine Reserve where large flocks of Fluttering Shearwaters and White-fronted terns were feeding offshore. On the rocks along the shore a Reef Heron was fishing.
1st Dec: Made an early start and got through Auckland before the morning rush hour. The first stop was made at the Whangamarino Wetlands, a huge area of bushy marshes, about an hours drive south of Auckland. A bit difficult to find good viewing points but we found a pair of Cape Barren Goose together with Canada Goose on some meadows. Continued to Miranda where we arrived at 09:00. Lots of interesting birds: Royal Spoonbill, numerous breeding Black-billed Gulls, thousands of Bar-tailed Godwits and Red Knots, a few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and New Zealand Dotterels, one each of Terek Sandpiper and Pacific Golden Plover, and finally, 3 Wrybills were found roosting on the shell banks. After lunch, we continued to search the area and finally got good views of 2-3 Banded Rails skulking in some mangroves. Returned to Snells’s Beach in the early evening.
2nd Dec: Took the ferry from Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparoa Peninsula to Tiri Tiri Matangi Island where we arrived at 10.15. After an introduction from the rangers that supervise the reserve, we walked slowly along the path up to the small settlement around the lighthouse. Along the path there were lots of birds: Tuis, Bellbirds, Red-crowned Parakeets, Whiteheads and Saddlebacks. At a small pond close to the landing two female Brown Teal were swimming and at the same place a family of Spotless Crakes were feeding out in the open. About half way along the track, finally a Takahe was standing close to the roadside. What a start!
Checked in at the Bunkhouse and after lunch we started to explore the island more carefully. There are several well-marked tracks on the island, passing through different kind of habitats. Normally the ones passing through the denser parts of forest, like the Wattle track and the Kawerau track, are the most rewarding ones from a birding perspective. During the afternoon we got repeatedly good views of the species already mentioned, with addition of Brown Quail, Stichbird, New Zealand Robin and some Little Blue Penguins, the latter ones nesting in concrete nest boxes not far from the landing area. An afternoon sea watch from the lighthouse area produced several Fluttering Shearwaters as well as a few Flesh-footed Shearwaters.
After a barbecue dinner at the Bunkhouse, we went out in the dark in search of Little Spotted Kiwis. Almost immediately when leaving the lighthouse area we heard the first bird calling in the valley below the Wattle track. When we got about halfway down the track, we suddenly heard some noise in the leaves as well as some snuffling sounds in the dense vegetation close to the track, and after a few minutes of waiting suddenly a Little Spotted Kiwi appeared only about a meter away from us. Unfortunately our excitement scared it, but we could see it running away along the track in the torchlight before it finally disappeared into the dense vegetation again. Pure magic!
We continued walking in the dark and came across several Little Blue Penguins walking along the tracks, on their way from the sea to their nesting burrows far away from the shore. Most of them could be approached and seen at close range, as they stood in the torchlight looking a bit guilty. Along the lower part of the Kawerau track we once more heard some noise in the leaves close to the track, and thought that it would be another penguin. In the torchlight, however, we found that it was a Tuatara, one of a few individuals released on the island as part of a reintroduction programme, and only rarely encountered by others than the researchers. Further along the Kawerau track, a Morepork was calling a few times. We finally got to bed at 01.00, completely exhausted.
3rd Dec: Managed to get out of bed reasonably early and focused our birding on the Wattle Valley area, where we finally got excellent views of a pair of Kokakos, the last of our target species on the island. The rest of the day was spent enjoying all the different species again. Left for the main land in the afternoon and visited The Art of Cheese, Restaurant & Cheese Factory, not far from Warkworth, where we had an excellent meal. Spent the night in Snell’s Beach again.
4th Dec: Met up with Chris Gaskin from Kiwi Wildlife, together with two other birders in the harbour of Sandspit at 09.00 and went out to sea on the MF Assassin. A slight rain was falling during the whole day and there was hardly any wind at all, so we had a very comfortable ride out into the Hauraki Gulf, into the waters north of the Little Barrier Island, up to the Mokuhinaos. A fantastic day with large numbers of seabirds, including Parkinson’s Black Petrel, hundreds of Cook’s Petrels, a few Fairy Prions, four species of shearwaters, 100+ White-faced Storm Petrels as well as single individuals of Brown Skua and White-capped Mollymawk. But, the main target species did not want to turn up…
Finally, on our way back, when the light was already fading we stopped north of Little Barrier Island for a last chumming. We had fantastic views of many Cooks Petrels close to the boat, when suddenly a storm petrel with a fast and direct flight approached the rear of the boat, and there it was: a New Zealand Storm Petrel! During the next 20 minutes or so, at least three more individuals joined the party and we got really good views. After this perfectly directed drama we returned to Sandspit at dusk and just made it in time to our table reservation at the Pizza Construction restaurant in Snell’s Beach, where we celebrated with sparkling wine and a nice dinner.
5th Dec: Left Snell’s Beach in the morning and made a first stop at the Strakas Lake and the Waiwera River Oxidation Ponds. Here we found 2 New Zealand Dabchicks, together with our first New Zealand Shovelers and New Zealand Scaups. In the mangroves close to the road 2 Banded Rails showed very well.
Passed through Auckland and went for a second visit to the Whangamarino Wetlands, this time armed with a good site description provided by Chris Gaskin. We scanned the south-eastern parts of the marshes from some hills, but strong wind and rain showers made birding difficult and rather unpleasant. Finally we stopped in a sheltered area where the Whangamarino river crosses the Falls Road and here an Australasian Bittern was walking around completely out in the open! After this “bonus” we drove straight down to Rotorua and visited the thermal site there, before continuing to Taupo, where we stayed over night.
6th Dec: Left Taupo at dawn and drove down to the Kaimanawa Forest Park, situated along the Tongariro River, about 100 kms south of Taupo. Looked for Blue Duck at the power station, a reliable site for this species, but with no luck. Continued to do some forest birding when we suddenly ended up on a dead-end road at the rock formations called “The Pillars of Hercules”, where the river was passing close by. And there they were: a pair of Blue Ducks! Spent the rest of the morning in the forests around one of the picnic-sites in the area, and got several new species, like Long-tailed Cuckoo, Tomtit and Rifleman, as well as some old friends such as New Zealand Robin and Whitehead.
Went back to Taupo to pick up the female part of the team, who had spent the morning shopping, and then visited the Taupo Bungy Jump site, where Thomas and Maria dared the jump from a ramp on the more than 40 meter high cliffs above the river. The afternoon was spent in the Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (which compared to the site in Rotorua – at least in our opinion – gives more value for the money). Continued down to Hastings in the evening, where we spent the night.
7th Dec: Non-birding day. Visited Napier with its remarkable art-deco architecture as well as the vineyards of Te Mata, Vidal and Clearview. Made a short stop at the bridge over the Tuki Tuki River, just outside Hastings, where we found two pairs of Banded Dotterels as well as 3 Black-fronted Dotterels, the latter ones the only observation during our trip. Drove down to Wellington during the afternoon and added New Zealand Pipit and Rook to our list along the road. Stayed overnight in central Wellington.
8th Dec: Took the 09:30 ferry from Wellington to Picton. Looked for seabirds en-route and after about an hour of travelling, we passed a fishing vessel where large numbers of birds had congregated: c.200 White-capped/Salvin’s Mollymawks, at least one Wandering Albatross, a few Westland Petrels and many Fairy Prions.
In our itinerary, we had not planned a boat trip to the White Rocks to see King Shag, as we considered this to be a big effort in order to see “just another shag”. However, when arriving in Picton we regretted this, but unfortunately we were not able not organise a boat with short notice. Instead, after lunch in Picton, we visited the Cloudy Bay and Montana wineries and finally arrived in Kaikoura in the afternoon. Seawatched from the peninsula just south of Kaikoura in the evening, which gave us large numbers of Hutton’s Shearwaters as well as our first Spotted Shag. Over night in Kaikoura.
9th Dec: Joined the 09:00 seabird trip, arranged by Oceanwings – a very nice experience! During the three-hour trip we had fantastic views of Wandering, Southern Royal and Northern Royal Albatrosses, White-capped and Salvin’s Mollymawks, Southern and Northern Giant Petrels as well as of a number of smaller petrels and shearwaters. The biggest surprise was a Buller’s Mollymawk, the first observation for the season, which temporarily joined the other seabirds surrounding our boat.
During the afternoon it started to rain heavily as we went to the St. Annes Lagoon, just north of Cheviot. No trace of the Australian Reed Warbler that had been present in the area before our departure from Sweden but quite a few other birds, among others a family party of Cape Barren Goose and a singing Shining Cuckoo. On our way back to Kaikoura, we found our first Black-fronted Terns feeding along one of the rivers that crosses the road. Lobster dinner in Kaikoura in the evening.
10th Dec: Joined the 06:00 Oceanwings seabird trip and went further out at sea than yesterday. New species encountered were Fairy Prions and a few Short-tailed Shearwaters. Unfortunately we missed a Black-browed Mollymawk, which was only seen briefly by one of the crew members. However, there was plenty to see anyway.
Left Kaikoura for Hammers Springs where we had lunch and took a bath in the hot water pools – very nice! Arrived in Greymouth during the afternoon and visited the Pancake Cliffs at Punakaiki in rough weather, which made the rugged landscape look even more dramatic. After dark we searched for Great Spotted Kiwis in the forests along, and at the end of the Bullock Creek Track at Punakaiki. No luck unfortunately, maybe because of the rather strong winds.
11th Dec: Left Greymouth and drove south stopping at the impressive Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers. At the latter site a couple of Keas “harassed” the visitors in the parking lot by searching for food in their characteristic unshy manner. Made several stops along the road, looking for Fernbirds in areas with suitable habitat, but without luck until we arrived at Ship Creek, just north of Haast, where a bird immediately responded to our playback and gave excellent views. Made a short visit to Monro Beach in the afternoon without seeing any Fjordland Crested Penguins. Stayed overnight in Haast.
12th Dec: An early start for the Historic Bridle Track, which we finally found after more than one hour of searching. The track is well signposted along the main road, but is located just south of the Haast Pass and not as written in the Chambers guide, along the Burke River at the Gates of Haast, which lies some 10 kms further north. Unfortunately this cost us some valuable time and shortened our stay in this very interesting area. Found Yellow-crowned Parakeet as well as Brown Creeper together with various other forest birds but not our target species, Yellowhead. Continued south to Arrowtown where we saw a party of three New Zealand Falcons along the track that follows the river to Macetown. Made a short afternoon visit to the picnic site close to the Glenorchy River, north of Routeburn, which is another very good site for Yellowhead. Again a good variety of forest birds, such as Long-tailed Cuckoo, Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Rifleman and Brown Creeper but unfortunately still no Yellowheads. Long drive to Te Anau in the evening where we finally arrived just before midnight.
13th Dec: Birded along the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound with stops at Mirror Lake, Knob’s Flat, and Lake Gunn Nature Walk. Found various forest birds such as Long-tailed Cuckoo, Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Rifleman and New Zealand Robin. When we arrived at the Homer tunnel it had started to rain and sometimes even snow heavily. Walked around the short nature trail but the weather made birding more or less impossible. Had lunch at Milford Sound and decided not to go on any boat cruise due to the bad weather conditions. Made a second attempt for Rock Wren at the Homer tunnel on our way back but without success. Decided to reschedule and make another try tomorrow, and instead returned to Te Anau.
14th Dec: Left Te Anau at 06:00 and drove the 100 kms to the Homer Tunnel without seeing any other cars along the road. We arrived in perfect, sunny weather and soon found a pair of Rock Wrens in the boulder area just above the tunnel entrance. Stopped at Lake Gunn Nature Trail and Knob’s Flat on our way back to Te Anau. Still no Yellowheads but at least our first Kaka was found.
Left Te Anau after lunch and after checking in at our motel in Invercargill we headed east along the coast. Found a New Zealand Pipit along the road and then spent a few evening hours at Curio Bay where we could watch two Yellow-eyed Penguins coming up on the beach from the rather stormy sea. We also saw the petrified forest that this site is also known for. However, the stone trunks are easier to see at low tide.
15th Dec: Departed from Bluff 09:30 with the Fouveaux Express to Stewart Island. It was possible to stay outside on the rear deck during the crossing and although the vessel was moving quite fast it was possible to look for seabirds. Lots of Common Diving Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters, a few White-capped Mollymawks and Cape Petrels as well as our first Stewart Island Shags. After checking in at the very nice South Seas Hotel we organised a water taxi and spent the whole afternoon on Ulva Island, another small predatorfree island. Non-stop rain but many birds such as very unshy Wekas, several Kakas and Brown Creppers, both Red- and Yellow-crowned Parakeets as well as Saddleback of the South Island form and New Zealand Robin of the Stewart Island form.
Due to the bad weather the scheduled Kiwi trip together with Philip Smith in the evening was cancelled, so we had a nice lobster (Stewart Island variety) dinner at the hotel instead.
16th Dec: Spent the morning trying to arrange a boat trip in order to see Fiordland Crested Penguin. Finally Philip Smith agreed to take us out for a few hours in his boat and immediately upon arrival to the nesting site of the penguins we found a single bird sitting on the rocks outside its nesting hole. Got fantastic views from close distance during several minutes before the bird crawled into the rocks and disappeared for good. After this lucky start we headed out in the waters around the Muttonbird Islands where we found four Buller’s Mollymawks, a single Southern Royal Albatross, two Yellow-eyed Penguins and a few Brown Skuas. After lunch we returned to Ulva Island, and here our luck continued as we finally we found a pair of Yellowheads not far from the landing site. A good part of the afternoon was spent looking at the Yellowheads and therefore we did not see very much else, except a Hooker’s Sealion which was resting on the beach close by.
After dinner consisting of Muttonbird (Sooty Shearwater, needs to be ordered a day in advance!) we gathered on the dock together with 15 other people for the trip to Ocean Bay in order to see Brown Kiwi. The weather had been good all day but when we arrived at the landing the wind had increased and for a moment it looked like it would be impossible to make a safe landing. To our relief, Philip Smith succeeded to tie up the boat, but instead it now started to rain heavily. After waiting a while he decided to make a try anyway and we headed out in the dark and finally made it through the forest and down to the beach. Now it stopped raining and cleared up again, and during the next hour we had fantastic views of two different Kiwis, a male and a female. Before we left we heard a few Mottled Petrels calling while passing overhead in the dark. Back at the hotel at 01:20, very tired but also very happy. What a day!
17th Dec: Left Stewart Island with the Fouveaux Express departing at 08:00. This time the sea was very rough and the crossing was not very pleasant. Tried to seawatch anyway but with poor result.
Drove east along the coast in direction Dunedin, stopping at Nugget Point where a single Yellow-eyed Penguin was seen on the beach, and spent the latter part of the afternoon on the Otago Peninsula. Seawatched from the parking lot outside the albatross colony at Taiaroa Head until it started to rain heavily: a few Northern Royal Albatrosses were seen together with several other seabirds, among others White-chinned- and Cape Petrels, a Brown Skua and a number of unidentified Giant Petrels. Night in Dunedin.
18th Dec: After some tourism in Dunedin we drove to Twizel where we arrived in the afternoon. Visited several sites in the area looking for Black Stilts before we finally scored at the north end of Lake Pukaki, where we found six immatures together with an all black adult bird. Visited the Mount Cook village in the late afternoon. Night in Twizel.
19th Dec: Returned to Lake Pukaki early in the morning and got very good views of seven immature Black Stilts, as well as one hybrid Black x Pied Stilt. Other birds observed in the area were six Wrybills, several Banded Dotterels and a New Zealand Pipit. A beautiful morning with clear blue skies and a fantastic panorama over the Mount Cook mountain range.
Drove to Christchurch, where we arrived in the afternoon. While Karin and Maria went Shopping, Thomas and Hans-Åke went to Lake Ellesmere where we found the last new species for the trip, Mute Swan, taking the total to 135 species. Other birds in the area included several Royal Spoonbills as well as large numbers of Black Swans (300) and Grey Teals (1000). Night in Christchurch.
20th Dec: Spent the morning shopping and visiting the Botanical Garden in Christchurch before going to the airport. Left for Singapore at 15:00 where we split up, Thomas and Maria continuing to Java and Hans-Åke and Karin returning to Sweden.
21st Dec: Arrived in Copenhagen at 07:55 and were back home in Malmö at 09:30.
List of species
1. Brown Kiwi Apteryx australis
2 birds, one male and one female, seen at close range on Ocean Beach, Stewart Island 16.12.
2. Little Spotted Kiwi Apteryx owenii
3-4 birds heard calling during night and one seen along the Wattle Track on Tiri Tiri Matangi 1-2.12.
3. Australasian Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
6 Lake Ianthe 11.12, 2 Queenstown 12.12, 2 Lake Benmore 18.12.
4. New Zealand Dabchick Poliocephalus rufopectus
5 Strakas Lake 5.12.
5. Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans
1 Cook Strait 8.12, 4 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, 7 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12
A few birds each belonging to the forms
Wandering Albatross, D. e. exulans and
Gibson's Albatross, D. e. Gibsoni safely identified.
6. Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora
Southern Royal Albatross, D. e. epomophora: 1 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, 1 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12.
Northern Royal Albatross, D. e. sanfordi: 2 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, 2 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12, 2 at the breeding colony at Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
7. Shy Mollymawk Thalassarche cauta
White-capped Mollymawk, T. c. steadi: 1 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, 10 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, 10 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12, c.20 Monro Beach 11.12, 5 Fouveaux Strait 15.12, c.60 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12, c.15 Oban 16.12, c.20 Fouveaux Strait 17.12, 10 Nugget Point 17.12, c.25 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12, 3 Moeraki Boulders 18.12.
Salvin's Mollymawk, T. c. salvini: c.30 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, c.20 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12, 5 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12, 2 Fouveaux Strait 17.12. Shy Mollymawks, not assigned to any form were seen additionally: c.200 around a fishing boat, Cook Strait 8.12, 10 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12.
8. Buller’s Mollymawk Thallasarche bulleri
1 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, 4 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12.
9. Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes
5 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12, c.50 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, 1 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12.
10. Buller´s Shearwater Puffinus bulleri
c.20 Baylys Beach 30.11, 3 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12, c.25 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, 2 Cook Strait 8.12, 2 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12.
11. Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
1 Cook Strait 8.12, c.10 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, c.10 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12, c.150 Monro Beach 11.12, c.75 Curio Bay 14.12, c.50 Fouveaux Strait 15.12, c.400 Stewart Island Pelagics 15.12, c.250 Fouveaux Strait 17.12, c.20 Nugget Point 17.12, >30 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
12. Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris
2 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12.
13. Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia
c.100 Goat Island Marine Reserve 30.11, c.50 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12, c.100 Hauraki Gulf Pelagic 4.12, c.300 Cook Strait 8.12
14. Hutton´s Shearwater Puffinus huttoni
c.300 Kaikoura 8.12, c.200 Kaikoura 9.12, c.200 Kaikoura 10.12.
15. Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis
c.15 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12.
16. Common Diving-Petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix
5 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, 2 Cook Strait 8.12, 120 Fouveaux Strait 15.12, c.30 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12, c.10 Fouveaux Strait 17.12.
17. Black Petrel Procellaria parkinsoni
12 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12.
18. Westland Petrel Procellaria westlandica
5 Cook Strait 8.12, c.30 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, c.30 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12.
19. White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis
3 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, 3 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12, 4 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
20. Cape Petrel Daption capense
c.50 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, c.50 Kaikoura Pelagics, including at least 5 “Southern” D. c. capense 10.12, 1 Curio Bay 14.12, 1 Fouveaux Strait 15.12, 1 Fouveaux Strait 17.12, c.45 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
21. Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus
2 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12.
22. Northern (Hall´s) Giant Petrel Macronectes halli
1 Kaikoura 8.12, c.20 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, c.10 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12.
Unidentified Giant Petrels were observed as follows: 1 Cook Strait 8.12, 1 Curio Bay 14.12, 5 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
23. Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur
2 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, c.300 Cook Strait 8.12, 3 Kaikoura Pelagics 10.12.
24. Cook´s Petrel Pterodroma cookii
c.300 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12.
25. Mottled Petrel Pterodroma inexpectaya
2 heard during the Kiwi trip to Ocean Beach, Stewart Island 16.12.
26. Grey-faced Petrel Pterodroma macroptera
2 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, 2 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12.
27. New Zealand Storm Petrel Oceanitus maorianus
At least 4 a few miles north of Little Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12.
28. White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina
c.100 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12.
29. Yellow-eyed Penguin Megadyptes antipodes
2 Curio Bay 14.12, 2 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12, 1 Nugget Point 17.12.
30. Blue Penguin Edyptula minor
11 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12, c.20 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, c.15 Stewart Island 15.12, 3 Stewart Island 16.12.
31. Fiordland Crested Penguin Eudyptes pachyrhunchus
1 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12.
32. Australasian Gannet Morus serrator
10 Snells Beach 29.12, 10 Waipu Cove 30.12, 30 Baylys Beach 30.11, 50 Goat Island Marine Reserve 30.11, singles Miranda 1.12, a few Tiri Tiri Matangi 2-3.12, c.100, Hauraki Gulf Pelagics, including birds on nests at the Maori Rocks colony 4.12, 10 Cook Strait 8.12, 5 Kaikoura 8.12, 2 Kaikoura 9.12, 1 Kaikoura 10.12, 1 Curio Bay 14.12, 1 Fouveaux Strait 17.12, 4 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
33. Black Shag Phalacrocorax carbo
Observed in moderate numbers during 13 out of 22 days. Highest count: 20 Whangamarino Wetlands 5.12.
34. Pied Shag Phalacrocorax varius
Totally 78 birds observed during 10 out of 22 days. Highest count: c.20 at a breeding colony at Goat Island Marine Reserve 30.11.
35. Little Black Shag Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
1 Miranda 1.12, 3 Whangamarino Wetlands 5.12, 1 Lake Taupo 6.12, 2 Bluff 15.12, 2 Otago Peninsula 17.12.
36. Little Shag Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
3 Snells Beach 29.11, 8 Waipu Cove 30.11, c.20 Rotorua 5.12, c.15 Lake Taupo 6.12, 2 Kaikoura 9.12, 5 Twizel 18.12.
37. Stewart Island Shag Phalacrocorax chalconotus
2 Bluff Harbour 15.12, 3 Stewart Island 15.12, c.100 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12, 5 Nugget Point 17.12, 1 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
38. Spotted Shag Phalacrocorax punctatus
1 Kaikoura 8.12, 39 Kaikoura 9.12, 10 Punakaiki 9.12, 5 Bluff 15.12, c.15 Stewart Island 15.12, c.30 Stewart Island 16.12, c.20 Fouveaux Strait 17.12, c.10 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
39. White-faced Heron Ardea novaehollandiae
Common. 1-30 individuals observed during 18 out of 22 days.
40. Great White Heron Egretta alba
1 south of Hoitika 11.12.
41. Reef Heron Egretta sacra
1 Goat Island Marine Reserve 30.11, 1 Kaikoura 9.12.
42. Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus
1 seen well at the Whangamarino Wetlands 5.12.
43. Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia
1 Miranda 1.12, 44 Lake Ellesmere, Christchurch 19.12.
44. Mute Swan Cygnus olor
2 Lake Ellesmere, Christchurch 19.12.
45. Black Swan Cygnus atratus
Rather common. Seen in variable numbers (1-300) during 13 out of 22 days. Largest count: 300 Lake Ellesmere, Christchurch 19.12.
46. Canada Goose Branta canadensis
15 Whangamarino Wetlands 1.12, 1 Whangamarino Wetlands 5.12, 33 St. Annes Lagoon. Cheviot 9.12, c.160 Twizel-area 18-19.12.
47. Cape Barren Goose Cereopsis novaehollandiae
2 Whangamarino Wetlands 1.12, 5 St. Annes Lagoon, Cheviot 9.12.
48. Paradise Shelduck Tadorna variegata
Common. Seen in moderate numbers (2-50) during 18 out of 22 days.
49. Blue Duck Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos
1 pair in the Tongariro River at “The Pillars of Hercules” in the Kaimanawa Forest Park 6.12.
50. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Common. Recorded during 21 out of 22 days.
51. Grey Duck Anas superciliosa
Birds considered to be pure Grey Ducks were observed as follows: 6 Whangamarino Wetlands 1.12, c.30 Lake Strakas-Waiwera River Oxidation Ponds 5.12, 3 Lake Taupo 6.12, 1 Kaikoura-Greymouth 10.12, 4 Greymouth-Haast 11.12, 1 Stewart Island 16.12, c.10 Twizel 18.12. Several hybrids with Mallard recorded.
52. Grey Teal Anas gracilis
5 Whangamarino Wetlands 1.12, 20 Miranda 1.12, 20 Lake Strakas-Waiwera River Oxidation Ponds 5.12, c.50 Whangamarino Wetlands 5.12, c.20 St. Annes Lagoon, Cheviot 9.12, c.10 Lake Poaka 18.12, c.1000 Lake Ellesmere, Christchurch 19.12.
53. Brown Teal Anas chlorotis
2 females in the small pond close to the landing, Tiri Tiri Matangi 2-3.12.
54. Australasian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis
11 Strakas-Waiwera River Oxidation Ponds 5.12, c.15 St. Annes Lagoon, Cheviot 9.12, 7 north of Hoitika 11.12, 5 Twizel 18.12.
55. New Zealand Scaup Aythya novaeseelandiae
c.10 Strakas-Waiwera River Oxidation Ponds 5.12, 2 Lake Taupo 6.12, c.10 St. Annes Lagoon, Cheviot 9.12, 5 Kaikoura-Greymouth 10.12, 3 north of Hoitika 11.12, 3 Mirror Lakes 13.12, 6 Te Anau 14.12, c.200 Twizel 18.12, 2 Lake Ellesmere, Christchurch 19.12, 3 Christchurch 20.12.
56. Australasian (Swamp) Harrier Circus approximans
Common. 2-25 individuals seen during 18 out of 22 days.
57. New Zealand Falcon Falco novaseelandiae
A family party of three birds seen along the river just north of Arrowtown 12.12.
58. California Quail Callipepla californica
1 Trounson Park 30.11.
59. Brown Quail Synoicus ypsilophorus
c.10 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2-3.12.
60. Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Totally 9 birds seen on North Island 30.11-5.12.
61. Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
3 north of Auckland 30.11.
62. Banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis
3 Miranda 1.12, 2 Strakas Lake 5.12.
63. Weka Gallirallus australis
12 Ulva Island 15.12, 2 Ulva Island 16.12.
64. Spotless Crake Porzana tabuensis
1 pair with 2 chicks in the small pool close to the landing, Tiri Tiri Matangi 2-3.12.
65. Pukeko (Purple Swamphen) Porphyrio melanotus
Common. Seen in fairly good numbers (5-50 individuals) during 15 out of 22 days. Seemed to be more numerous on North Island.
66. Takahe Porphyrio mantelli
At least 3 different individuals Tiri Tiri Matangi 2-3.12.
67. (Australian) Coot Fulica atra
2 St. Annes Lagoon, Cheviot 9.12.
68. Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus finschi
Rather common. Seen in variable numbers (2-50 individuals) during 12 out of 22 days.
69. Variable Oystercatcher Haematopus unicolor
6 Snells Beach 29.11, 18 Waipu Cove 30.11, c.10 Miranda 1.12, 2 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12, 2 Kaikoura 8.12, c.10 Kaikoura 9.12, 2 Greymouth-Haast 11.12, 1 Curio Bay 14.12, 6 Stewart Island 15.12, 3 Stewart Island 16.12, c.10 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
70. Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus
c.10 Waipu Cove 30.11, c.50 Miranda 1.12, 3 Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, south of Rotorua 6.12, c.15 Taupo-Hastings 6.12, 1 Tuki Tuki River, Hastings 7.12, 4 Waiau River, north of Cheviot 9.12, 1 Kaikoura-Greymouth 10.12, 2 Bluff 15.12, 3 Otago Peninsula 17.12, c.30 Twizel 18.12, 3 Lake Pukaki 19.12, c.140 Lake Ellesmere, Christchurch 19.12.
71. Black Stilt Himantopus novaezelandiae
1 adult and 6 immatures Lake Pukaki 18.12, 7 immatures Lake Pukaki 19.12. One obvious hybrid Pied Stilt x Black Stilt at the same site 19.12.
72. New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus
4 Waipu Cove 30.11, 2 Miranda 1.12.
73. Banded Dotterel Charadrius bicinctus
4 Tuki Tuki River, Hastings 7.12, 5 Kaikoura 8.12, 2 Waiau River, north of Cheviot 9.12, 3 Kaikoura 10.12, 2 Te Anau 14.12, 5 Lake Benmore 18.12, c.20 Lake Poaka 18.12, c.15 Lake Pukaki 18.12, c.15 Lake Pukaki 19.12, c.10 Lake Ellesmere, Christchurch 19.12.
74. Black-fronted Dotterel Charadrius melanops
3 Tuki Tuki River, Hastings 7.12.
75. Wrybill Anarhynchus frontalis
3 Miranda 1.12, 6 at the north end of Lake Pukaki 19.12.
76. Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
1 Miranda 1.12.
77. Spur-winged (Masked) Plover Vanellus miles
Common. 2-30 individuals observed during 19 out of 22 days.
78. Turnstone Arenaria interpres
1 Waipu Cove 30.11, 2 Kaikoura 9.12.
79. Red Knot Calidris canutus
At least 1000 roosting at Miranda 1.12.
80. Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata
3 Miranda 1.12.
81. Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
c.10 Snells Beach 29.11, c. 40 Waipu Cove 30.11, at least 2000 Miranda 1.12, 56 Sandspit 4.12, 2 Okarito Lagoon 11.12, 5 Otago Peninsula 17.12.
82. Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
1 Miranda 1.12.
83. Brown Skua Stercorarius antarctica
1 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, 5 Fouveaux Strait, close to Stewart Island 15.12, 2 Stewart Island Pelagics 16.12, 1 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
84. Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
3 Snells Beach 29.11, 1 Miranda 1.12, 2 from the ferry to Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12, 1 Curio Bay 14.12,1 Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula 17.12.
85. Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
Common. Recorded daily.
86. Red-billed Gull Larus scopulinus
Common. Recorded during 19 out of 22 days.
87. Black-billed Gull Larus bulleri
c.150 Miranda 1.12, c.5 Picton 8.12, c.25 Haast-Te Anau 12.12, c.15 Te Anau 13.12, c.60 Te Anau 14.12, c.10 Twizel 18.12, c.10 Twizel 19.12.
88. Black-fronted Tern Sterna albostriata
3 Waiau River, north of Cheviot 9.12, 1 Glenorchy 12.12, 7 Mirror Lakes 14.12, 1 Bluff 15.12, c.30 Twizel area 18.12, c.10 Lake Pukaki 19.12.
89. Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Totally 38 individuals during 11 out of 22 days. Highest count: 11 Lake Ellesmere, Christchurch 19.12.
90. White-fronted Tern Sterna striata
Common around the coasts. Recorded during 13 out of 22 days. Highest counts: c.100 Goat Island Marine Reserve 30.11 and c.100 Miranda 1.12.
91. Fairy Tern Sterna nereis
3 Waipu Cove 30.11.
92. Little Tern Sterna albifrons
1 Miranda 1.12.
93. New Zealand Pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
Totally 54 individuals seen during 16 out of 22 days. Highest counts: c.10 Stewart Island 15.12 and 16.12.
94. Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Recorded during 14 out of 22 days.
95. Kaka Nestor meridionalis
1 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 14.12, 12 Stewart Island 15.12, 7 Stewart Island 16.12.
96. Kea Nestor notabilis
3 Fox Glacier 11.12, 1 Monkey Creek 13.12, 2 Homer Tunnel 13.12, 1 heard from the mountains above Lake Gunn Nature Trail 14.12.
97. Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius
1 Orewa 29.11, 1 west of Whangerei 30.11, 2 Trounson Park 30.11, 2 Goat Island Marine Reserve 30.11, 1 south of Auckland 1.12, 2 Waiwera 5.12.
98. Red-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae
c. 20 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12 and 3.12, c.15 Ulva Island 15.12, 6 Ulva Island 16.12.
99. Yellow-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus auriceps
1 Historic Bridle Track, Haast 12.12, 3 Glenorchy 12.12, 1 Knobs Flat 13.12, 2 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 14.12, 4 Knobs Flat 14.12, 1 Ulva Island 15.12.
100. Shining Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus
1 St. Annes Lagoon, Cheviot 9.12, 1 Haast 12.12.
101. Long-tailed Cuckoo Eudynamus taitensis
1 heard Kaimanawa Forest Park 6.12, 1 heard Historic Bridle Track, Haast 12.12, 1 Routeburn River Picnic Site, Glenorchy 12.12, 1 Knobs Flat 13.12, 1 Knobs Flat 14.12.
102. Morepork Ninox novaeseelandiae
1 heard Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12, 1 heard Oban, Stewart Island 16.12.
103. Sacred Kingfisher Halcyon sancta
Totally 38 individuals seen during 11 out of 22 days. More common on North Island (34) than on South Island (4).
104. Rifleman Acanthisitta chloris
2 Kaimanawa Forest Park 6.12, 2 Greymouth-Haast 11.12, c.20 Historic Bridle Track, Haast 12.12, 4 Routeburn River Picnic Site, Glenorchy 12.12, 2 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 13.12, c.15 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 14.12, 2 Knobs Flat 14.12.
105. Rock Wren Xenicus gilviventris
2 Homer Tunnel 14.12.
106. Skylark Alauda arvensis
Common. Recorded during 19 out of 22 days.
107. Welcome Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Common. Recorded during 20 out of 22 days. Most numerous in the north.
108. New Zealand Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae
1 along Highway 2, south of Hastings 7.12, 1 along the road from Tokanui to Curio Bay 14.12, 1 Lake Pukaki 19.12.
109. Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis
1 Pukohoe 5.12 and 3 Hastings 7.12 were the only observations on North Island. On South Island, 1-5 birds were recorded daily 8-20.12.
110. Blackbird Turdus merula
Common. Recorded daily.
111. Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Common. Recorded daily.
112. Fernbird Megalurus punctatus
1 Ship Creek, north of Haast 11.12.
113. Whitehead Mohoua albicilla
c.25 on Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12 and 3.12, 4 Kaimanawa Forest Park 6.12.
114. Yellowhead Mohoua ochrocephala
2 close to the landing, probably breeding, Ulva Island 16.12.
115. Brown Creeper Mohoua novaeseelandiae
4 Historic Bridle Track, Haast 12.12, 2 Routeburn River Picnic Site, Glenorchy 12.12, 1 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 14.12, c.20 Ulva Island 15.12, 1 Ulva Island 16.12.
116. Grey Warbler Gerygone striata
Rather common. Totally 88 birds recorded during 14 out of 22 days.
117. Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa
Rather common. Totally 42 birds recorded during 13 out of 22 days.
118. Tomtit Petroica macrocephala
North Island Tomtit, P. m. toitoi: 1 Rotorua 5.12, c.10 Kaimanawa Forest Park 6.12, 5 Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland 6.12.
South Island Tomtit, P. m. macrocephala: 1 just south of Greymouth 11.12, 4 Franz Josef Glacier 11.12, 4 Historic Bridle Track, Haast 12.12, 3 Routeburn River Picnic Site, Glenorchy 12.12, 2 Knobs Flat 13.12, 2 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 13.12, 3 Knobs Flat 14.12, 3 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 14.12, 2 Ulva Island 15.12, 1 Ulva Island 16.12.
119. New Zealand Robin Petrioca australis
North Island Robin, P. a. longiceps: 6 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12 and 3.12, 5 Kaimanawa Forest Park 6.12.
South Island Robin, P. a. australis: 2 Routeburn River Picnic Site, Glenorchy 12.12, 4 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 13.12, 3 Knobs Flat 14.12, 3 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 14.12.
Stewart Island Robin, P. a. rakiura: 4 Ulva Island 15.12, 2 Ulva Island 16.12.
120. Silvereye Zosterops lateralis
Common. Recorded in moderate numbers (<15) during 19 out of 22 days.
121. Stitchbird Notiomystis cincta
At least 20, mainly along the Kawerau Track, Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12, 2 along the Wattle Track, Tiri Tiri Matangi 2-3.12.
122. Bellbird Anthornis melanura
Numerous on Tiri Tiri Matangi 2-3.12, 1 Kaimanawa Forest Park 6.12, 1 St. Annes Lagoon, Cheviot 9.12, 1 Hammer Springs 10.12, 1 Okarito 11.12, 2-3 along the track to Monro Beach 11.12, 1 Historic Bridle Track, Haast 13.12, 2 Routeburn River Picnic Site, Glenorchy 12.12, 2 Knobs Flat 13.12, 2-3 Lake Gunn Nature Trail 13.12 and 14.12, c.15 Stewart Island 15.12, c.10 Stewart Island 16.12, 1 Bluff-Dunedin 17.12.
123. Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae
Rather common. Recorded in moderate numbers (1-15 individuals) during 17 out of 22 days.
124. Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Common. Recorded during 20 out of 22 days.
125. Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Common. Recorded during 21 out of 22 days.
126. Greenfinch Carduelis chroris
Common. Recorded during 17 out of 22 days.
127. Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Common. Recorded during 18 out of 22 days.
128. Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Only two observations on North Island: c.5 Rotorua 5.12 and 1 Kaimanawa Forest Park 6.12. Common on South Island and Stewart Island, where recorded in moderate numbers during 11 days 9-20.12.
129. House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Common. Recorded daily.
130. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Common. Recorded daily.
131. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Common on North Island where recorded daily 29.11-8.12. Absent on South Island and Stewart Island.
132. Kokako Callaeas Cinerea
2 Wattle Valley and 1 Lower Wattle Track, Tiri Tiri Matangi 3.12.
133. Saddleback Philesturnus carunculatus
North Island Saddleback, P. c. rufusater: c.15 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12 and 3.12,
South Island Saddleback, P. c. carunculatus: 1 Ulva Island 15.12, 1 adult+1 juvenile Ulva Island 16.12.
134. Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen
Common. Seen in moderate numbers (2-30 individuals) during 16 out of 22 days
135. Rook Corvus frugilegus
c.25 along Highway 2 west of Waipukurau, south of Hastings 7.12.
Dusky Dolphin Lagenorynchus obscurus
10 Kaikoura Pelagics 9.12, 1 Stewart Island 15.12.
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphi
c.10 Hauraki Gulf Pelagics 4.12, c.10 Marlborough Sound 8.12.
New Zealand Fur Seal Arctocephalus forsteri
c.20 Picton-Kaikoura 8.12, c.25 Kaikoura 9.12, 1 Curio Bay 14.12, c.10 Stewart Island 16.12, c.20 Nugget Point 17.12.
New Zealand Sea Lion Phocarctos hookeri
1 Ulva Island 16.12.
Brush-tailed Possum Trichosurus vulpecula
2 during the Kiwi trip to Ocean Beach, Stewart Island 16.12.
Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus
1 alive in Kaikoura 8.12. Several road-killed individuals seen.
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Totally 13 recorded during five days 6-18.12.
Tuatara Sphenadan punctatus
1 Tiri Tiri Matangi 2.12.