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A Report from

New Zealand, 27 Nov 2000 - 13 Feb 2001,

Peter Wilson

This was a Birding / Flora / Sightseeing holiday with my wife to the North, South & Stewart Islands.

The following are detailed, Itinerary and Species with approximate numbers and HIGHLIGHTS, Books & Maps, Travel Details, Car Hire, Summary Bird List with locations.

Itinerary and Species in order seen

27-29 Nov. 
The first 3 days were spent in AUCKLANDsightseeing. Driving from the airport it was immediately apparent that many of the introduced European species were more abundant than at home in rural Somerset (House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Chaffinch & Greenfinch). On a ferry trip across to DEVONPORT the native birds began to reveal themselves, we had Variable Oystercatcher and White-fronted Tern, Tui and singing Grey Warbler together with other Antipodean species around the waterfront. Little Black Cormorant, Little (Pied) Cormorant, White-faced Heron, Red-billed Gull, Southern Black-backed Gull, Welcome Swallow, Sacred Kingfisher, Silvereye, Common Myna & Australian Magpie.

30 Nov.              
This was a magical day with glorious sunshine, and what an introduction to the endemic birds! We made the trip to TIRITIRIMATANGI Island. The island may be reached as we did by Fuller's Ferry from Auckland waterfront (or from Gulf Harbour at the tip of the Wangaparoea Peninsula) on Thursdays to Sundays. The island has been transformed from a treeless pasture into a lush, well-forested DoC Island Sanctuary with many indigenous plants, and trees such as Tree Ferns, Pohutukawa and Kauri. On the way across we picked up Australasian Gannet, Pied Cormorant and Caspian Tern. We were met by the wardens who introduced us to the native and other birds, Blue Penguin in nest boxes, Brown Quail, Pukeko (Swamphen), Takahe with young, Eastern Rosella, Red-crowned Parakeet, Skylark, NZ Pipit, Whitehead, Grey Warbler, (Grey) Fantail, NZRobin, Stitchbird, Bellbird, Yellowhammer and Saddleback. Superb close views of all these world rarities in quick succession were overwhelming, as were the numbers. We spent most of our 6 hours ashore sitting in the sun enjoying the endemics or wandering the trails, finding Kokako, but failing with Brown Teal and Morepork. There may have been the chance of Little Kiwi had we stayed overnight.

1 Dec.              
We picked up our hire car and headed N on Hwy 1, soon seeing Paradise Shelduck, Black Swan and Harrier around the many farmland pools. Taking the first road on the right after Waiwera to Wenderholm Reserve at the entrance of which is the Strakas Waterfowl Refuge, we had more waterfowl, kingfishers & Tui, and our first NZ Pigeons.

Next stop was WAIPU COVE. We turned off Hwy 1 at Waipu & went S then E down Johnson Point Road to view the lagoon. Good views of Great & Pied Cormorants and our first White-faced Herons preceded the 3 Fairy Terns which eventually settled on the mud after flying around the spit opposite. The warden informed us on the precarious state of the terns. White fronted & Caspian Terns were also fishing and kept us occupied whilst watching NZ Dotterel, Variable Oystercatchers, Stilts, Bar-t Godwits & Spur-winged Plovers over lunch.

20km further N of Whangarei (just S of Whakapara) we turned off Hwy1 E to HELENABAY. After 19km we turned R at a small white church, & at 1.7 km scanned the stream which crosses some farmland about 2 km from the beach. We had excellent views of Brown Teal from the bridge, the farmer allowed us to walk into the field & we saw 46 teal at close range. Apparently there had been about 130 present in the winter!

1- 4 Dec           

The WAITANGI ESTUARY at PAIHIA iscrossed by a long bridge that leads to the Treaty House, the estuary had (Black) Cormorant, Mallard, Grey Duck, Coot, Pied Stilt, and up to 40 Sacred Kingfisher at low tide. At the Treaty House & on the Golf Course beyond were NZ Pigeon, Spur-winged Plover & nesting NZ Dotterel.

WAIRUBAYbeyond the Forest headquarters provided a good selection of birds both on the shore & offshore. Each eveningat dusk we searched unsuccessfully around the Golf Course for Kiwi, but did see Morepork. We were also out of luck at HARURUFALLS where friends had Kiwi calling from the bush 3 weeks previously. However at MOUNT BLEDISLOE reached N from the Haruru Falls to Waitangi Road we also searched each evening & saw California Quail, heard distant Brown Kiwi and plus several Morepork & Peafowl.

North of Paihia by the bridge at KERIKERI we located Banded Rail &Barbary Dove. The rugged & beautiful coastline of MATAURI, TE NGAERE & TAURANGA BAYS yielded more N.Z. Dotterel & Bar-tailed Godwit, also large parties of shearwaters feeding offshore. The open countryside with its many farm ponds had good numbers of Australasian Harrier, Paradise Shelduck, Pheasant, Pukeko & Turkey. Spectacular numbers of Black Swan & many Cormorants were present on L. OMAPERE W of Paihia but the lake was not easily approached.

The 'Hole in the Rock Run' operated by Fullers from Paihia gave the opportunity to venture into theBAY OF ISLANDS plus a little time ashore on a relatively quiet island. On the way out Reef Heron, distant Blue Penguin & many terns were encountered. Near Hole in the Rock we passed flocks of Fluttering Shearwater with lesser numbers of Buller's & Flesh-footed Shearwaters plus Australasian Gannet & Arctic Skua, A foot excursion on Urupukapuka Island revealed our first Dunnocks & Redpolls plus more Brown Quail.

5 Dec               
Returning S towards Auckland via the West Coast we viewedsome spectacular seas from Signal Hill at OMAPERE on the Hokianga estuary mouth where we caught up with more Caspian Terns, Dunnocks, Redpoll & Pipits. The drive S though WAIPOUA KAURI FOREST was impressive for the giant trees, impenetrable vegetation & tree ferns. Birds were few apart from Eastern Rosella and calling Whiteheads which failed to reveal themselves. We pressed on to MURIWAI staying overnight near the Gannetry (ca1500 pairs) with its adjacent colony of White-fronted Terns which were oblivious of the numerous surfers.

6 Dec               
Continuing S we negotiated the Auckland rush-hour following Hwy 1 S until turning E at the Power Station along Meremere Rd beneath the disused cableway for WHANGAMARINO SWAMP. These wetlands have large inaccessible areas of willow, reeds & peaty meadow but near where the river is crossed by the road we heard Australasian Bittern which has its stronghold in the swamp. Driving E along Island Block Rd through some pastures then turning S we found a more open area with Cormorants, Harriers, waterfowl & waders. We continued on to Miranda.

6 - 8 Dec         

The observatory is self contained and a mile or so from the shore & brackish wader pools. It offers excellent cheap self catering accommodation, a visitors centre, library and news of what birds are about.

The whole stretch of coast as far N as Kaiuna was excellent. The roadside pools were frequented by waders particularly at high tide, and a small hide on the shoreline near the wader roost made for excellent viewing, particularly as there were not many birders. Highlights included 4000 Pied Oystercatcher, 3 Banded Dotterel, 25 Wrybill, Turnstone, 4000 Knot, 3 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Black-tailed Godwit, 4000 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Terek Sandpiper, our first Black-billed Gulls &Canada Goose. Offshore with the terns were Arctic Skua & Gannet.

8 Dec               
We set off round the Firth of Thames for COROMANDEL, calling in at THAMES at a hide just past the supermarket to view more waders on the shore. The coast road to Coromandel was delightful, lots of small beaches & rocky outcrops with numerous cormorants, herons, waders and terns offshore harassed by the inevitable skuas.

9 Dec               
We made the crossing E on the unmade 309 road from Coromandel to Whitianga. Passerines were quite numerous through the forest. The estuary at OPOUTERE had herons, Banded Rail & waders, whilst the ocean beach held NZ Dotterel and many Fluttering Shearwater offshore.

10 Dec             
The coast S of Whitianga was developed with many residential areas & holiday parks, but the MATATA LAGOONS were excellent with many ducks including NZ Dabchick, Grey Teal, NZ Shoveler and NZ Scaup, plus harriers, waders & Caspian Terns.

11-12 Dec        
The lakes towards Rotorua held a few Dabchick & cormorants. We tried the Pongakawa road into the forest in the rain, although passerines were quite numerous it was a large area to explore and we were there at the wrong time for Kokako. At ROTORUA, the lakeside had abundant Little Pied & Little Black Cormorants, Scaup & Dabchick, plus Red & Black-billed Gulls. Similar but smaller numbers were at the scenic L.TARAWERA together with more passerines including very tame NZ Pigeons. We went to view the hot springs 20km S at Waiotapu, and at the tiny L. NGAHEWA near the junction of Hwys 5 and 38 found our first 2 Fernbirds.

13 Dec             
The journey W from Rotorua to Napier was an endurance epic, the route included 120km of unmade road through Urewerawa forest via L.Waikaremoana! The forest birds were good with Long-tailed Cuckoo, Tomtit & Robin, but no sign of Blue Duck near the lake. The DoC office at Murupara informed us they had been seen on the Waiatiu stream beyond Minginui, but this involved at least a 4 hour detour so we opted out.

14 - 15 Dec      
As well as visiting the wineries & enjoying the Art-Deco City we took the mandatory trip to Cape Kidnappers, avoiding the climb up from the beach by taking the farmland trip. The Gannets here were more approachable & numerous than at Muriwai, and offered superb photographic opportunities. S of Napier the Tukituki Rivermouth had Black-fronted Dotterel whilst N the large Ahuiri Lagoon complex had all the common ducks & waders plus Pacific Golden Plover & an Arctic Tern. The Napier DoC office told us of a predator free "Island Reserve" they had set up at Boundary Steam / Shines Falls 30Km N. The reserve provided a delightful walk through meadows and a wooded rocky gorge, with Whitehead, Tomtit, Rock Dove & Rook, plus our first glimpse of NZ Falcon.

16 Dec             
. The Opepe reserve, a rain forest remnant just E of Taupo on the Hwy 5 provided more Whitehead & plentiful Redpolls.

17 Dec             
near Barryville on Hwy 30was reached from Taupo partlyvia a good dirt road (link road).  This superb ancient forest remnant had impressive trees & a tower hide with views of the canopy. Accommodation was in an excellent & cheap DoC cabin. Close up views of Kaka, Yellow-crowned Parakeet, plus Robin, Whitehead also Kokako & other passerines. Brief views of NZ Falcon & Long-tailed Cuckoo plus dusk & dawn flights of Kaka.

18 Dec 
Drove S to Tongariro around S shore of L. Taupo, no luck with Fernbird or rails, but lots of waterfowl etc on L. Rotaira. Scree fields around WHAKAPAPA ski centre had Pipits and our first group of Rifleman in beech scrub above Whakapapa. W of main road on the Dam Access Road, Blue Duck near dam on

20 Dec             
Drove S towards Wellington enjoying spectacular views of Mt. Ruapehu.  The sea at FOXTON & MANGAWATU ESTUARY produced many waders, terns etc. including R.N.Stint.

At WAIKANAE we enjoyed a long walk along the sandy beach to the estuary, many shearwaters, terns & gannets fishing offshore towards Kapiti Island. Royal Spoonbill in estuary. Residents commented on the increase in passerines, Bellbird, Tui etc due to breeding success on Kapiti which is a sanctuary island.

21-23 Dec        
. In the harbour distant cormorants and flocks of shearwaters.

23 Dec             
We took the early morning ferry from WELLINGTON TO PICTON rather than fast catamaran. We were probably the only passengers who thought it fortunate that the ferry was running on reduced engine power & hence reduced speed! Lots of Fluttering Shearwaters in the bay plus our first Spotted Shags.Crossing Cook Straight Wandering Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Shy Albatross, Buller's Albatross, Sooty Shearwater, Northern Giant Petrel & Fairy Prion.

24-26 Dec        
Spent Christmas lazing about on the shores of Pelorous Sound seeing good numbers of passerines, Fantail & Weka with young.

26 Dec             
Took the Dolphin Watch cruise from PICTON into Queen Charlotte Sound. This allowed a short time ashore at Motuara Island which is another DoC reserve with Saddleback & Robin, and is a rearing sight for juv. Kiwi (not seen). It was too rough to go as far as White Rocks but we found NZ King Shag roosting on the end of Long Island plusReef Heron. Lots of Fluttering Shearwaters settled around the boat as we enjoyed the dolphins.

26-28 Dec        
Travelled via Havelock & Motuara to COLLINGWOOD at the extreme NW of S Island. We found the Black form of Fantail in the forest at Pelorous Bridge. Two conducted excursions (the only way of getting there) onto FAREWELL SPIT from Collingwood proved eventful. The trip up the inner E side to view the masses of waders roosting ended in a race against the tide to get off the beach. The second trip up the W side to the lighthouse enabled close encounters with seals, the distribution of Variable Oystercathers was assessed at 1 pair per km & distant views of the Gannetry on its sandy isle were obtained. We also enjoyed some exhilarating antics running in the sand dunes!

28 Dec - 1 Jan  
Travelling from Collingwood back to Motuara & then S to ST.ARNAUD we had our first encounter with Black-fronted Tern on the braided rivers & more Riflemanin the woods. A trip up to the Rainbow ski-field was aborted by a snow-storm. It was then onto the West Coast at WESTPORT & CAPE FOULWIND with Weka proving quite common & confiding, walking around the carpark and seal colony.

1 -2 Jan           
The dramatic coast S to PUNAKAIKI held good numbers of White-fronted Terns & Spotted Shag. A spectacular sunrise permitted views S along the length of the S. Alps to Mt. Cook and beyond. Along the Porari River we found a well fledged Shining Cuckoo being fed by a Grey warbler. At sunset we witnessed the green flash as the sun sank below the horizon of the Tasman Sea. This preceded an evening trip up the Bullock Creek Track into Paparoa Forest by 4WD. We walked tracks under a starlit sky hearing numerous Morepork & eventually at least one Great Spotted Kiwi calling close to our parked vehicle!

3-5 Jan             
The journey S to Reefton and the W over the LEWIS PASS produced Robin & Tui in the Beech Forest at the pass, plus excellent views of NZ Falcon & Rifleman at the small lake just over the summit. At Hamner Springs we took the unmade road N over Jacks Pass, a few Banded Dotterel were on the Clarence River up to L. Tennyson, plus Black-fronted Tern.

5 -6 Jan           
The road through the Inland Kaikoura Range was quite dramatic and we arrived in KAIKOURA for a lunchtime Whalewatch. This was primarily for whales & dolphins but it did enable quite good views of seabirds. We were extremely lucky seeing 10 Sperm Whales with a good spattering of seabirds. That evening a visit to Seal Point enabled us to view thousands of Hutton's Shearwaters and several Shy Albatross blown inshore by strong winds plus a small gathering of Banded Dotterel on the rocks amongst the seals

Next day the highlight was 'chumming' on the early morning OCEAN WINGS Pelagic trip. Despite a calm sea almost in the hand views were obtained of Hutton's Shearwater, Westland Petrel, Shy, Wandering & Royal Albatross, White-chinned Petrel, Cape Pigeon, plus gulls & Gannets.

8-10 Jan           
We moved from the coast via the coastal plain N of Christchurch on to ARTHUR'S PASS; plenty of wildfowl were to be found at ST.ANNE'S LAGOON near Cheviot, and a few on the lakes at Porters Pass. Searching the forests E of the pass yielded Kea, Tits, Rifleman and Brown Creeper, and around the HAWDON R Yellow fronted Parakeet, but no sign of Yellowhead.

11 Jan              
Another Kea showed at the summit of Arthurs Pass and the W Coast S of Hokitika towards Franz Joseph yielded 10 Great White Egret at L.MAHINAPUA which is hidden from the main road by a belt of tree ferns. A few more Egrets were visible from Okarito on the lagoon together with waders & terns.

12 Jan              
L. Paringa was disappointing due to wind & rain but L. Moerakigave us our firstGreat Crested Grebes and a surprise on MONROE BEACH was a moulting Fiordland Crested Penguin hiding under a boulder plus Kaka on the walk down.

13-14 Jan         
The HAAST PASS forests held more Yellow fronted Parakeet, Tits, Rifleman and Brown Creeper but still no Yellowhead. Our motel to the W of Wanaka provided us with superb views of a pair of hunting NZ Falcon which added to the one seen earlier in the day along the lake at Rocky Mountain.

16-18 Jan         
We joined the tourists at Queenstown, enjoying a jeep trip to the gold mining sites in Skippers Canyon, but foresaking the Bungy Jump for Tomtit. A drive W along the lake provided G.C.Grebe & Scaup, and gave us time enjoy the walk around the pools at Glenorchy nature trail, and the Dart River Jet Boat enabled close views of waders along the river plus spectacular views. The walk to L.SYLVAN was the most productive enabling us at last to catch up with our bogie bird Yellowhead, a party of 5 revealing themselves in the beech forest along with Yellow fronted Parakeet, Rifleman, Tomtit, Robin & Brown Creeper.

19 Jan              
After a pleasant drive to TE ANAU we had time to view the captive native birds in the DoC headquarters, and then attended an informative talk on the discovery of the Takahe and its conservation.

20-21 Jan         
The journey N to Hollyford produced Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Rifleman, Tomtit & Robin at L. Gunn and Kea at Pops View. We wasted most of the afternoon and all of the next day after a 'boy racer' drove into the side of our car on the dirt road down the HOLLYFORD VALLEY. We had luck with Kaka, Long-tailed Cuckoo & Rifleman in the valley.

22 Jan  
Made the tourist trip to Milford Sound, arriving at 10.00am to beat the tourist coaches. The boat trip was scenically magnificent but provided few birds apart from Spotted Shags. A Fiordland Crested Penguin had been seen the previous day. We left at lunch time to miss the coaches in the HOMER TUNNEL, searching successfully for Rock Wren along the 'Alpine Garden' walk. We search the rest of the valley down to Monkey Creek bridge for Blue Duck but were unsuccessful and had to defend the car from attack by Keas!

23 Jan  
Moved on to Manapouri, S of which the REDCLIFFE WETLAND had lots of ducks & Harriers although views were rather distant from the roadside escarpment.

24 Jan  
On to Bluff, a gale was blowing when we reached Waihoaka and Riverton, providing dramatic seas and lots of birds. Amongst the thousands of Sooty Shearwaters, many of which were siting close inshore on the sea, were Gannets, Brown Skuas, Giant Petrel and White-chinned/Westland Petrel. On the shore we found our first Stewart Is. Shag & Royal Spoonbill. At Bluff a walk to the lighthouse gave more shearwaters plus an Albatross sp., White-fronted Terns and many passerines in the forest.

25-26 Jan         
With the prospect of a rough boat trip we exchanged our catamaran tickets to STEWART ISLAND for a flight. Even this 8 seater was quite hairy but at least we arrived quickly with minimal luggage, and had an idea of the inaccessibility of much of the cloud clad and forested island. Despite heavy rain showers we explored around Oban and found the normal passerines plus Kaka. Our delight came that evening when Little Blue Penguins and a Yellow-eyed Penguin were swimming just of the jetty and the many Albatross which had been evident at the mouth of the bay came into the harbour to land near the fishing boats. We confirmed our suspicions of a few Buller's Albatross amongst the many Shy Albatross.

A glorious evening allowed us to go on our pre-booked KIWI WATCH with Phillip Smith, this boat should depart every other evening but had been cancelled for 5 evenings due to the weather. We encountered Shy Albatross and Little Blue Penguins close to the boat on the way, and stumbled by torchlight through the forest-covered isthmus down to a beach. After an hour or so of searching under the stars to the calls of Fairy Prion we were rewarded with a Brown Kiwi in our torchlight, probing the seaweed out on the beach before it retreated to feed along the top of the beach.

27-29 Jan         
The huge estuary of Awarua Bay and the arable fields N of Invercargil provided nothing new, but the smaller FORTROSE ESTUARY appeared promising, a short stop provided Turnstone and Banded Dotterel amongst the many waders and worthy of further investigation. We proceeded through the Catlins Forest calling at Curio Bay with its inevitable shearwaters, and the Fleming River and Papatowai (no Fernbird) before reaching Catlins Lake. Here a good flock of Spoonbill was in evidence with other waders and our first Swallows for some time.

Our stay on the coast at NUGGET POINT proved a delight, particularly seeing Yellow-eyed Penguins coming onshore in the evening,and also the many Sooty Shearwaters, several Shy Albatross and Giant Petrel off the point, with Stewart Island and Spotted Shags in profusion. Two moulting Fiordland Crested Penguins and an Erect Crested Penguin recently rescued by the local warden also provided interest.

The journey to Dunedin was interrupted by a stop at the SINCLAIR WETLANDS, a private reserve W of the main road. Here in a collection pen were Cape Barren Geese, and the hoards of wildfowl held Chestnut-breasted Shelduck. We also had almost in the hand views of several Fernbird.

The OTAGOPENINSULA held many ducks, waders and several spoonbill on the Papanui and Hoopers Inlets. Shags, were always in evidence around the coast, but not more so than at TAIROA HEAD where they included Stewart Is Shags which flew beneath the circling Royal Albatross. It was worth going into the Albatross Centre to view the nesting birds at close hand (late afternoon is a good time), but the watch point S of the point afforded good views, plus Shy and Wandering Albatross and Giant Petrel. Pilots Beach in Otago Harbour just below Tairoa Head provided the opportunity to enjoy watching Blue Penguin gather at dusk and come ashore, and even walk up the road with them towards the parked cars. The trip to Penguin Beach (also late afternoon) gave close encounters from the network of tunnels and hides with Yellow-eyed Penguins coming ashore to feed their young, and young Blue Penguins in nest boxes.

1-2 Feb            
The wonderful colour and expanse of the Otago grasslands on the way to Cromwell were memorable. Even more so towards L. Ohau and the MacKenzie Basin over the Lindis Pass.

2-3 Feb            
Our search for genuine Black Stilt started at we approached TWIZEL. Many hybrids were present on the pools towards L. Ohau, but we found the true form at L. Poaka N of Twizel, and on the Ahuriri River near Omarama E of the bridge. We took the opportunity to visit the Black Stilt Centre at Twizel to support the breeding programme and view the breeding pens and have an update on the conservation progress.

4-5 Feb            
More Black Stilt were found on the braided Tasman river S of Mt. Cook village where it enters L. Pukaki, (view from the bend just past the airfield at Glentanner). The village itself held Rifleman and another NZ Falcon showed itself vociferously over the Hooker Valley.

6 Feb               
The lakes between Twizel and Tekapo yielded more stilts and hybrids (follow the Ohau canal bank from N of Twizel to Tekapo), with those E of the main road and L.McGregor giving the closest views of true Black Stilt.

7 Feb               
Onto Christchurch for some sightseeing.

8-12 Feb          
The Akaroa Peninsula was our final destination for a relaxing few days. The huge L.ELLESMERE provided our only Mute Swan amongst the myriad ducks and waders, with Great White Egret there and also on the nearby L. Forsyth.

Our last sea trip, out of Akaroa Harbour, produced Shearwaters, Shy Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Cape Pigeon and the White-flippered race of Blue Penguin swimming close to the boat.

New Zealand may have a limited range of species, but those endemics it has are well worth seeking out in the spectacular scenery. Where next, those NZ Sub-Antarctic Islands must be calling!

Travel details

Singapore Airlines from London to Auckland via Singapore, returning to London from Christchurch via Singapore.       Cost £560 each return.

Car hire           pre-booked from UK       Avis, Cost £1550 for 79 days.

This has the advantage that Avis has several depots (useful if you have an accident which we did), you do not have to take the car on the inter-island ferry, just drop it of at the ferry terminal in Wellington & collect another in Picton.

N.B. At peak holiday times eg Christmas it isimpossible to hire a car without pre-booking by a month or more. Many hire firms do not allow travel off sealed roads this is essential for birding as many minor and some major roads in NZ are unsealed.

Inter Island Travel

N. Island to S. Island by Inter-Islander Ferry, take the early morning boat as this permits sea watching more so than the fast catamaran.

S. Island to Stewart Island. We were hoping to take the Catamaran from Bluff to Oban but flew (twice the price) as it was too rough. Apparently it is difficult to see much from the catamaran as it 'bounces' and there is a lot of spray.


Mainly self catering in Youth Hostels (these are cheap, have double rooms, some en-suite in the cities, and offer a discount for members £10 p.a.) Motels were generally good but the friendliness of Homestays although somewhat more expensive were excellent.


Generally cheap. Some supermarkets, cafes at resorts, cheap ethnic restaurants in major cities. Excellent fish and chips and try those Green-Lipped Mussels & local wine!


The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand: Barrie Heather and Hugh Robertson


Road atlas -New Zealand Atlas, Reed in association with Department of Land Information, NZ$44.95

The NZ AA provide free maps to British AA members on production of membership cards. Wellington office has maps for S Island.

Bird List

Brown Kiwi  (North Island) Heard calling  1, 3, 4 Dec. Mt. Bledisloe
(Stewart Island) 1 Ocean Beach 25 Jan.
Great Spotted Kiwi Up to 3 calling, Paparoa Forest 2nd Jan
Great Crested Grebe S. Island only
  4 L. Moeraki 12 Jan
  2 L. Moeraki 13 Jan
  1 Queenstown 16 & 18 Jan
  2 L. Alexandrina 6 Feb
  1 L. McGregor 6 Feb
New Zealand Dabchick N. Island only
  1 Matata Lagoon 10 Dec
  4 L. Rotoma 11 Dec
  4 L. Rotorua 11 Dec
  1 L.Ngahewa 12 Dec
  9 L. Tarawera 12 Dec
  2 Ahuiri, Napier 14 Dec
Wandering Albatross 1 juv Wellington to Picton Ferry 23 Dec
  1 Kaikoura 5 & 6 Jan
(Snowy) 1 Kaikoura 6 Jan
Royal Albatross  (Northern) 15 to 20 Taiaroa Head 30 Jan
  7+ Taiaroa Head 31 Jan
(Southern) 1 this race or a Wanderer, Taiaroa 30 Jan
Black-browed Albatross 2 Wellington to Picton Ferry 23 Dec
Shy Albatross 4 Wellington to Picton Ferry 23 Dec
  15 Kaikoura 5 Jan
  5 Kaikoura 7 Jan
  5 Monroe Beach, Moeraki 12 Jan
  1 Okuru 13 Jan
  1 Bluff 24 Jan
  20 Nugget Point 27 Jan
  10 Nugget Point 28 Jan
  2 Taiaroa Head 29 Jan
  10 Taiaroa Head 30 Jan
  2+ Taiaroa Head 31 Jan
(White-capped) 5 to 10 Kaikoura 6 Jan
(Salvin's) 60 to 70 Kaikoura 6 Jan
  50 Halfmoon Bay 25 Jan
  10 Patterson Inlet 25 jan
  75 Halfmoon Bay 26 Jan
  5 Halfmoon Bay 27 Jan
  5 Banks Peninsula 11 Feb
Buller's Albatross 10 Wellington to Picton Ferry 23 Dec
  5 Halfmoon Bay 25 Jan
  1+ Taiaroa Head 31 Jan
Flesh-footed Shearwater 5 Bay of Islands 4 Dec
  2 Kaikoura 6 Jan
Buller's Shearwater 50 Bay of Islands 4 Dec
  25 Kaikoura 6 Jan
  30 Banks Peninsula 11 Feb
Sooty Shearwater Several 100 Wellington to Picton Ferry 23 Dec
  2 Punakaiki 1 Jan
  1 Kaikoura 6 Jan
  Abundant off Riverton, Bluff, Stewart Is. Catlins & Otago Peninsula 24 to 31 Jan
  20 Banks Peninsula 11 Feb
Fluttering Shearwater Abundant Matuauri Bay, Te Ngaere Bay, Tauranga Bay, Bay of Islands, 3 to 4 Dec
  Opoutere 9 Dec
  Waikanae 20 Dec
  Up to 20 Wellington Harbour 21 Dec
  Abundant Wellington to Picton Ferry 23 Dec
  Abundant Queen Charlotte Sound 26 Dec
  Governors Bay 26 Dec
  Collingwood 28 Dec
Hutton's Shearwater 50 Kaikoura 5 Jan
  1000s Kaikoura, dusk 5 Jan
  Abundant Kaikoura 6 & 7 Jan
  Abundant Banks Peninsula 11 Feb
Westland Petrel 30 Kaikoura 5 Jan
  100 Kaikoura 6 Jan
  1 Kaikoura 7 Jan
White-chinned Petrel 5 Kaikoura 6 Jan
Cape Pigeon 1 Kaikoura 7 Jan
  3 Halfmoon 26 Jan
  1 Banks Peninsula 11 Feb
Southern Giant Petrel 2 Banks Peninsula 11 Feb
Northern Giant Petrel 20 Wellington to Picton Ferry 23 Dec
  5 Kaikoura 6 Jan
  1 Nugget Point 28 Jan
  1 Taiaroa Head 30 & 31 Jan
Fairy Prion Abundant Wellington to Picton Ferry 23 Dec
  15 Kaikoura 6 Jan
  Calling Ocean Beach 25 Jan
Yellow-eyed Penguin 9 Roaring Bay 27 Jan
  21 Roaring Bay 28 Jan
  25+ Otago Peninsula 30 Jan
Blue Penguin 3 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
  10 Bay of Islands 4 Dec
  5 Halfmoon Bay 25 Jan
  5 Patterson Inlet 25 Jan
  3 Halfmoon Bay 26 Jan
  70 Taiaroa Head 29 Jan
  1 Taiaroa Head 30 Jan
  5 Banks Peninsula 11 Feb
Fiordland  Crested Penguin 1 Monroe Beach, Moreaki 12 Jan
  2 Nugget Point (in care) 27, 28, 29 Jan
Erect-crested Penguin 1 Nugget Point (in care) 27, 28, 29 Jan
Australasian Gannet A few Haurki Gulf 30 Nov, 1 Dec
  100 Bay of Islands 4 Dec
  1000's Muriwai 5 Dec
  1000's Cape Kidnappers 14 Dec
  Firth of Thames 7 & 8 Dec
  Waikanae 20 Dec
  Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru Sound,
  Governors Bay, Collingwood 25 - 28 Dec
  100's Farewell spit 29 Dec
  3 Riverton 24 Jan
  1 Banks Peninsula 11 Feb
(Black) Cormorant Small numbers around coast of N. Island & on larger lakes of S. Island. Under-recorded
Pied Cormorant Small numbers around coast, mainly near shore
  75 Thames / Coromandel 8 Dec
  Moderate numbers Banks Peninsula 8-13 Feb
Little Black Cormorant Small numbers in harbours & estuaries.
  Some on lakes. Max 50 Rotorua. Few in south.
Little Pied Cormorant More frequent than Little Black, particularly on S. Island. Few inland in south.
NZ King Shag 6 Long Island, Queen Charlotte Sound 26 Dec
Stewart Island Shag A few Riverton to Bluff & Halfmoon Bay 24-26 Jan
  150 Nugget Point 28th Jan
  50+ Taiaroa Head 30 & 31 Jan
Spotted Shag Wellington & S. Island coast.
  <20 on N. coast, a few Kaikoura & Stewart Is.
  1000+ Nugget Point 28 Jan
  Several 100's Taiaroa Head 30 & 31 Jan
White-faced Heron Common around estaries on N & S Islands, a few inland. Max 40. Under-recorded.
Great White Egret 10 L. Mahingapua 10 Jan
  2 Okarito 11 Jan
  1 Sinclair Wetlands 29 Jan
  1 L. Ellesmere 8 & 13 Feb
  1 L. Forsyth 8 Feb
Reef Heron 1 Bay of Islands 4 Dec
  2 Queen Charlotte Sound 26 Dec
Australasian Bittern 1 Booming, Whangamarino Swamp 6 Dec
Royal Spoonbill 1 Waianae Estuary 20 Dec
  3 Collingwood Estuary 29 Dec
  4 Collingwood Estuary 30 Dec
  1 Riverton 24 Jan
  22 Catlins Lake 27 Jan
  1 Nugget Point 28 Jan
  15 past Roaring Bay 28 Jan
  5 Papanui Inlet, Otago Peninsula 29 Jan
  4 Hoopers Inlet, Otago Peninsula 31 Jan
  7 Papanui Inlet, Otago Peninsula 31 Jan
  80 L. Ellesmere 8 Feb
Mute Swan 2 L. Forsyth 8 Feb
Black Swan Widespread on many lakes & estuaries.
  10000 L. Omapere 3 Dec
  100's Rotorua, L. Rotopounama
  Several 1000 Collingwood / Farewell Spit
  Several 1000 L. Ellesmere
Canada Goose A few 10's L. Waikarae, Matata, L. Rotopounama
  Widespread on S. Island from L. Manapouri east to Otago & Banks Peninsula.
Paradise Shelduck Abundant, most farm ponds & wetlands holding at least one pair.
  500 Redcliffe Wetlands
  100 Sinclair Wetlands
  50 L. Ellesmere
Chestnut-breasted Shelduck 2 Sinclair Wetlands 29 Jan
Cape Barren Goose 2 Sinclair Wetlands 29 Jan
Blue Duck 1 Wakapapa Stream 19 Dec
Mallard Widespread, seen most days.
Grey Duck Widespread, seen most days.
Grey Teal More frequent in S. Island
  7 Matata 10 Dec
  15 Napier 14 Dec
  10 Redcliffe Wetland 23 & 24 Jan
  20 Sinclair Wetland 29 Jan
  80 Hoopers Inlet, Otago Peninsula 31 Jan
  10 Mackenzie Basin 2 - 4 Feb
  10 L. Alexandrina 6 Feb
  Several 100s L. Ellesmere 8 Feb
Brown Teal 42 Helena Bay 1 Dec
NZ Shoveler 5 Matata / Tarawera R. 10 Dec
  35 Tukituki / Ahuiri, Napier 14 Dec
  10 Ahuiri 15 Dec
  10+ Redcliffe Wetland 23 & 24 Jan
  40 Sinclair Wetland 29 Jan
  4 Mackenzie Basin 3 Feb
  3 L. Alexandrina 6 Feb
  7 L. Ellesmere 8 Feb
NZ Scaup Frequent lakes of both islands, typically 5 - 10
  80 Rotorua
  100 Te Anau
Australasian Harrier Common most pasture, wetland and light forest.
  Max 15 Dunedin to Cromwell 1 Feb
NZ  Falcon 1 Boundary Stream 15 Dec
  1 Pureora Forest 17 Dec
  1 Lewis Pass 3 Jan
  2 or 3 Wanaka 15 Jan
  1 Hooker Valley 6 Feb
California Quail A few Paihia 1 & 2 Dec
  Coromandel to Napier, Rotorua to Taupo.
  Queen Charlotte, Kaikoura, Catlins, Banks Penin.
Brown Quail 6 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Dec
  2 Urupukapuka Is 4 Dec
Pheasant Up to 3 Paihia & Pongakawa
Peafowl Calling at dusk Mt. Bledisloe 2 Dec
  1 Catlins 27 Jan
Wild Turkey Up to 12 Paihia area 3 to 5 Dec
  2 Bowentown 10 Dec
  30 Napier to Taupo 15 to 17 Dec
Banded Rail 1 Kerikeri 2 Dec
  3 Opoutere 9 Dec
Weka 3 Te Mahia 26 Dec
  1 Buller Gorge 1 Jan
  10 Westport to Punakaiki 1 Jan
  3 Punakaiki 1 Jan
  2 Punakaiki 2 Jan
(Purple) Swamphen Up to 10 Paihia area
  Abundant Whangamarino Swamp
  Frequent Coromandel to Matata, Napier, Pureora to Wellington, Queen CharlotteSound, Punakaki. St. Anne's Lagoon, Wanaka, Redcliffe Wetland, Sinclair Wetland.
  20 L. Ellesmere
Takahe 10 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
Coot 2 Hakuru Falls 1 Dec
  5 Matata 10 Dec
  15 L. Tarawera 12 Dec
  10 L. McGregor 6 Feb
Pied Oystercatcher Common most coasts & estuaries
  Max 4000 Miranda 7 Dec
Variable Oystercatcher Majority all black birds in pairs.
  Most rocky coasts and estuaries, not inland.
  Max 20 pairs Farewell Spit 29 Dec
Australian Pied Stilt Common most estuaries, wetlands & small ponds
Black Stilt Mackenzie Basin only
  1 L. Poaka 2 & 3 Feb
  1 Ahuiri R., Omara 3 Feb
  2 R.Tasman, L. Pahaki 4 & 6 Feb
  2 Nr. Tekapo Canal 6 Feb
  2 L. McGregor 6 Feb
Hybrid Black Stilt / Pied Stilt 1 L. Poaka 2 & 3 Feb
  2 Nr. L. Ohau 2 Feb
  3 Nr. L. Ohau 3 Feb
  1 Ohau / Twizel 3 Feb
NZ Dotterel 3 Waipu Cove 1 Dec
  2 Waitangi 2 Dec
  1 Te Ngaere 3 Dec
  1 Waitangi 3 Dec
  2 Urupukapuka Is 4 Dec
  2 Miranda 6 & 7 Dec
  6 Opoutere 9 Dec
  2 Kohioawa 10 Dec
Banded Dotterel 1 Miranda 6 Dec
  3 Miranda 7 Dec
  2 Napier 14 Dec
  3 Foxton 20 Dec
  5 Farewell Spit 29 Dec
  3 Clarence R. 4 Jan
  4 Kaikoura 5 Jan
  28 Kaikoura 7 Jan
  2 Fortrose Est. 27 Jan
  3 Papanui, Otago Pen. 31 Jan
  5 L. Poaka 2 Feb
  10 Nr. L. Ohau 2 Feb
  12 Nr. L. Ohau 3 Feb
  2 R.Tasman, L. Pahaki 4 Feb
  2 L. Tekapo Nr. L. McGregor 6 Feb
Black-fronted Dotterel 2 R. Tukitaki, Napier 14 Dec
  2 R. Rangitikei 20 Dec
Wrybill 25 Miranda 6 Dec
  20 Miranda 7 Dec
Pacific Golden Plover 1+ Miranda 7 Dec
  3 Maketu Est. 10 Dec
  4 Ahuiri, Napier 14 Dec
  1 Farewell Spit 29 Dec
Spur-winged Plover Abundant, pastures & wetlands
  Max 80 Miranda 7 Dec
  100 Ahuiri, Napier 14 Dec
  70 Craters of Moon 16 Dec
  Smaller nos. S. Island
Turnstone Up to 5 on 4 occasions N. Island
  35 Farewell Spit 29 Dec
  20 Awarua Bay 25 Jan
  25 Fortrose Est. 27 Jan
Knot Max 4000 Miranda 6 & 7 Dec
  Up to several 100, Foxton, Farewell Spit, Fortrose
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 5 Miranda 6 Dec
  2 Miranda  7 Dec
Pectoral Sandpiper 1 Miranda 6 Dec
Red-necked Stint 3 Miranda 7 Dec
  1 Foxton 20 Dec
Bar-tailed Godwit Max 4000 Miranda 6 & 7 Dec
  Most estuaries, in N & S islands
Black-tailed Godwit 1 Miranda 7 Dec
Terek Sandpiper 3 Miranda 7 Dec
Arctic Skua Up to 5 Gulf of Thames
  Several Marlborough Sounds, Governors Bay.
  Singles Collingwood,  Monroe Beach, Taiaroa Head, Birdlings Flat & Bay of Islands.
Subantarctic Skua 2 Waihoaka 24 Jan
Southern Black-backed Gull Common everwhere even inland
Red-billed Gull (Silver) Common everwhere, lower nos. inland on S. Island
Black-billed Gull A few around southern N. Island coasts
  Common Rotorua
  More frequent S. Island coasts, common inland.
Black-fronted Tern Braided rivers & small lakes on S. Island
Caspian Tern Ones & twos, many coasts on N & S Islands
  6 Miranda 7 Dec
  4 Foxton 20 Dec
  7 Farewell Spit 29 Dec
White-fronted Tern Common around all coasts, not inland
Fairy Tern 3 Waipu 1 Dec
Arctic Tern 1 Ahuiri, Napier 15 Dec
NZ Pigeon Small numbers in forest throughout.
  Max Tarawera & Hollyford
Rock Dove A few around cliffs, under-recorded.
Barbary Dove 1 Kerikeri 2 Dec
Song Thrush Common - seen most days, parkland, gardens etc
Fernbird 2 L. Ngahewa 12 Dec
  2 or 3 Sinclair Wetlands 29 Jan
Kaka 20 Pureora Forest 17 Dec
  5 Pureora Forest 18 Dec
  1 L. Moeraki 12 & 13 Jan
  1 Hollyford 22 Jan
  1 Halfmoon Bay 25 & 26 Jan
Kea 1 Arthurs Pass 9 & 10 Jan
  2 Franz Josef 10 Jan
  1 Fox Glacier 12 Jan
  6 Homer Tunnel 22 Jan
  4 Mt. Cook 5 & 6 Feb
Eastern Rosella Singles Tiritiri Matangi, Wenderholm, Urukapuka Is.,  L. Waikarae, Waihi, Pureora.
  5 Waipoua Forest 5 Dec
Red-crowned Parakeet 25 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
Yellow-crowned Parakeet 10 Pureora Forest 17 Dec
  15 Pureora Forest 18 Dec
  2 St. Arnaud 31 Dec
  1 Buller Gorge 1 Jan
  1 Fox Glacier 11 Jan
  Heard Haast Pass 14 Jan
  3 L. Sylvan 18 Jan
  Heard Milford Sound 22 Jan
  Heard Bluff 24 Jan
Shining Cuckoo 1 juv being fed by Grey warbler, Punakaiki 2 Jan
Long-tailed Cuckoo 2 Urewerewa Forest 13 Dec
  1 Pureora Forest 17 Dec
  1 Rainbow Reach, Te Anau 19 Jan
  Heard Hollyford 20, 22 & 23 Jan
Morepork (Boobook) Up to 3 heard Mt. Bledisloe 1 to 5 Dec
  1 Waitangi 3 Dec
  Heard Cooromandel 9 Dec
  3 heard Tarawera 12 Dec
  5 heard Paparoa Forest, Punakaiki 2 Jan
  Heard Arthurs Pass 9 Jan
  Heard L. Moeraki 12 & 13 Jan
NZ Kingfisher (Sacred) Widespread N. Island - most estuaries and open woodland edges
  Max 40 Waitangi R. 3 Dec
  Scarce in S. Island, a few Marlborough Sounds
  A few banks Peninsula
Rifleman 4 Wakapapa 19 Dec
  3 St. Arnaud 31 Dec
  5 Lewis Pass 3 Jan
  4 Arthurs Pass 8 Jan
  2 Arthurs Pass 9 Jan
  2 Haast Pass 14 Jan
  15 L. Sylvan 18 Jan
  5 Hollyford 23 Jan
  4 Mt. Cook Village 5 Feb
  6 Hooker Valley 6 Feb
Rock Wren 3+ Homer Tunnel 22 Jan
Skylark Common in open country
Welcome Swallow (Pacific) Most common in N. Island
  Not in Fiordland or South & Stewart Is.
NZ Pipit 1 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
  5 Omapere 5 Dec
  1 Coromandel 8 Dec
  Up to 5 Taupo / Wakapapa 16 - 20 Dec
  2 Farewell Spit 28 & 29 Dec
  3 Clarence R. 4 Jan
  1 Glenorchy 18 Jan
  4  S. Fiordland 24 Jan
  1 L. Poaka 3 Feb
Dunnock Widespread & not uncommon
Blackbird Abundant seen daily
Whitehead 10 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
  Heard Waipoua Forest 5 Dec
  Heard Boundary stream 15 Dec
  2 Opepe 16 Dec
  15 Pureora Forest 17 Dec
  Heard Pureora Forest 18 Dec
Yellowhead 4 L. Sylvan 18 Jan
Brown Creeper 4 Arthurs Pass 9 Jan
  6 Haast Pass 14 Jan
  10 L. Sylvan 18 Jan
  2 Rainbow Reach 19 Jan
  3 Papatowai, Catlins 27 Jan
Grey Warbler Common
(Grey) Fantail Common
  1 Pelorous Bridge 26 Dec
  1 Franz Josef 11Jan
Tomtit Not common N. Island
  1 Urewera Forest 13 Dec
  2 Boundary Stream 15 Dec
  2 Opepe 16 Dec
  1 St. Arnaud 31 Dec
  2 Punakaiki 2 Jan
  Heard Lewis Pass 3 Jan
  Max. in S Beech Forests 8 L. Sylvan 18 Jan
Robin 3 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
  2 Pureora Forest 18 Dec
  3 Motuara Is. 26 Dec
  1 Lewis Pass 3 Jan
  2 L. Sylvan 18 Jan
  1 L. Gunn 20 Jan
Silvereye Abundant
Stitchbird 4 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
Bellbird Not uncommon, heard frequently
  Max 15 tiritiri Matangi
  10 Boundary Stream 15 Dec
  10 Motuara Is. 26 Dec
Tui Not uncommon, heard frequently, more in N. Is.
  Max 40 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
Yellowhammer Common
Chaffinch Common
Greenfinch Frequent
Goldfinch Abundant
Redpoll Large flocks near Beech woods
House Sparrow Common
Starling Common
Common Myna Common N Is. Line North of Taupo
Kokako 1 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
  1 Pureora Forest 18 Dec
Saddleback 25 Tiritiri Matangi 30 Nov
  5 Motuara Is. 26 Dec
Australian Magpie Common on arable & pasture land
Rook 4 Boundary Stream 15 Dec
  1 Nr. Taupo 16 Dec

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