Visit your favourite destinations
|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
New Zealand & Hawaïi, May '98,
Blitterswijckseweg 3, 5871 CD Broekhuizenvorst, the Netherlands (justinDBA@cs.com)
|(Photo 1: beach south of Auckland at Waiuku)|
I spent between 28 April to 3 May 1998 in New Zealand and from 2 to 7 May I spent some time at Oahu at Hawaii. This after 6 months spending time in Australia. I have to keep the trip low-budget and I was very tired and I resulted in less bird watching for example at Hawaii.
Underneath are the most important bird areas I visited and a brief description of these spots.
Part 1: New Zealand
When you look at the map of the Northern island of New Zealand I visited a spot NW of Auckland (Muriwai beach), southeast of Auckland (Miranda), Rotorua and a spot north of Lake Taupo (Pureora State Forest).
This spot is north west of Auckland, and is roughly 35 minutes of driving from the Northerly outskirts of Auckland. Take the North-western Motorway and State Highway 16; following the signs to Helensville, after few miles you get the turn-off to Muriwai. Get on this road and continue until you get to the beach. Over here you park you're car get up the rock, and you have there good viewing platforms and from here you see the gannets and further offshore around the rock loads of shearwaters breed.
|(Photo 2: Gannet Colony at Muriwai)|
Miranda Shorebird Center
Miranda is situated in southwestern corner of the Firth of Thames. It's about one hour southwest from Auckland. Take the Highway 1 out of Auckland, and take the turn-off at Pokeno to Hamilton (and I think Miranda is also sign posted), don't take the turn off into the 2 but go straight ahead to Miranda. You can't reach the spot by public transport.
|(Photo 3: sunrise at Miranda)|
Miranda is a well-known estuary for shorebirds and up to 40.000 birds can be recorded here in the right season. The New Zealand summer is the right period and November to March are real good months. Up to 2.500 Wrybills can be found, Red-breasted Dotterel, Black-billed Gull, Double-banded Plover. The shorebirds are hard to find while roosting, but when you get to the hide when the tide is falling good numbers you can find. I just missed there a Red-necked Phalarope and a Pectoral Sandpiper as extreme New Zealand rarities, to give the potential of the spot! Also regularly Grey-tailed Tattler and Terek sandpiper are wintering here!
There is an information center, and you can stay here overnight. I stayed here and I really enjoyed it. To contact the center RD 1, Pokeno, South Auckland, New Zealand Phone (64) 9 232 2781 ore mail firstname.lastname@example.org and all the extra info you can find on http://www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/
Wrybills and Oystercatchers are around from late January to July/August, the rest of the year they breed elsewhere in New Zealand!
The main reason to head for Rotorua and his surroundings are the birds that are easy to find here. For example New Zealand Grebe, New Zealand Scaup are very easy here and guaranteed. And if you can't get on Little Barrier Island this is the easiest spot to find Saddleback and Stitchbird (I found both in less than a minute while entering the island).
|(Photo4:group of New Zealand Scaup at the lake)|
The island in the middle of Lake Rotorua named Mokoai Island is easy reachable with the Scatcat that departs from the pier and goes several times a day. The Saddleback present on the island where transported from Tiritiri Mantangi (in 1992), the Stichbird is transported from Hauturu (Little Barrier Island)(in 1994) and the North Island Robin (New Zealand Robin) is transported from the nearby Mamuku Ranges.
|(Photo 5: Gulls at Waihi Beach)|
I spent short time here in trying to find some sea birds. Only some Australian Gannets passed by. The gulls however where nice to see. Like in the photo here, Kelp- Red-billed and Black-billed Gull where easy.
This spot is situated on the eastern half of the Northern island. About 45 minutes from Miranda. I drove from Miranda to here and from Waihi Beach to Rotorua and on route some breath taking landscapes where seen.
Pureora State Forest
The park is located in the eastern King Country in a square formed by Te Kuiti in the northwest, Tokoroa in the northeast, Taumarunui in the southwest and Turangi in the southeast. Because of its good location between north-south State Highways 3 and 4 in the west and State Highway 1 in the east it is easily accessible for those prepared to make a short diversion. Access to the park itself is possible from State Highway 30 and otherwise from secondary roads from State Highway 32 (east), 41 (south) and 4 (west).
This park is a real must to visit and the variation in species is real good. I've recorded near the buried Forest and the tower the best species including Kokako, Whitehead, Rifleman (still one of the nicest birds I ever seen in my life), White-eye, Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Gray Gergone, Kaka, Bellbird and New Zealand Pigeon.
|(Photo 6: sight from the tower at Pureora)|
To get to this spot turn-off left before the information center (Pureora Field Center) and get to the Bismarck Road and park you're car at the car park (over here I recorded the Brown Kiwi, Morepork (5 calling birds) and Kokako). And take the short trail to the tower.
I did bird watching at two spots, one is in the center of Waikiki at the garden of Hilton Hotel. Over here some White Terns breed here and showed themselves well around this spot.
The other spot is at the Halona Blowhole. To reach this spot take the bus from the center to Koko Head. From here I watched over seas.
For New Zealand I used:
Heather B & Robertson H, 1997. The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Oxford.
For Hawaii I used:
Pratt D H, 1996. Hawai'i's Beautiful Birds. Mutual
Pratt D H, 1996. Enjoying Birds in Hawaii. Mutual Publishing.
Word of Thanks
Without the corporation of Peter Waanders I would have failed at New Zealand to find a single spot. He just visited it and gave me some good tripreports. And some remarks like Mokoai island.
Itinerary (New species in Bold!)
28 April 1998
I left at 19:00 hours from Melbourne to Auckland. Arrived at 24:30 hours at Auckland, from the airport I took a cap straight into the center of Auckland (22 kms) in search for a Backpackers Hostel. Found one and went straight to bed.
29 April 1998
|(Photo 7: North island Robin at Mokoai island)|
A first thing in the morning was arranging a hire car. After getting the car I packed my stuff and went of to Miranda in search for the Wrybill!
After a drive of an hour I came at Miranda and walked directly to the hide. I observed here and on my way to this spot the following species: Swamp Harrier (few birds hunting in the field on the way to Miranda and at Miranda), Purple Gallinule (at various spots along the road, even in the center of little village's), Welcome Swallow (various birds), Red-billed Gull (common on various spots), Black-billed Gull (at Miranda a single birds between the Red-billed Gulls), Kelp Gull (Miranda), White-fronted Tern (Miranda few), Caspian Tern (few at Miranda), White-faced Heron (some birds at Miranda), White-headed Stilt (few around), Little Pied Cormorant (some birds around), South Island pied Oystercatcher (various birds at Miranda), Variable Oystercatcher (mixed with SIPO), Lesser Knot (100's), Bar-tailed Godwit (100's), Mallard (while driving few), Skylark (while driving few and at Miranda), Goldfinch (while driving few), Common Myna (while driving few), European Starling (while driving few), Australian Magpie(while driving few), Yellowhammer (some around most at Miranda), Greenfinch (while driving few), Redpoll (while driving few), House Sparrow (while driving few), Dunnock (while driving few), New Zealand Pipit (few birds near the hide at Miranda), Song Trush (while driving few), Blackbird (while driving few), Red-necked Stint (several 10's of birds at Miranda), Wrybill (1.500), Red-breasted Dotterel (10 birds at Miranda), Double-banded Plover (5 birds at Miranda), Masked Lapwing (while driving few), Grey Teal (few seen), Australian Shoveler (idem), Pacific Black Duck (idem), Little Black Cormorant (idem) & Pied Cormorant (idem).
From here I drove to the east to Waihi Beach for some sea watching, but only few Australian Gannets passed by. Also at the parking spot here several Kelp Gulls, Black & Red-billed Gulls. And from here I drove to Rotorua. After checking in at a Youth hostel I did some birding in the forest adjacent to Rotorua and found here Rifleman, Common Coot, Red Jungle fowl, Peacock, Grey Fantail and Tui.
(Photo 8: Ducks and Jungle Fowl!)
And at Lake Rotorua I recorded New Zealand Scaup and New Zealand Grebe. This is New Zealand in the middle of the beautiful forest!
Went to bed early after a beer (Heineken), to be sharp for tomorrow.
30 April 1998
Drove in the very early morning from the hostel in Rotorua to Pureora State Forest. I left the hotel at 2:30 am and arrived at the parking spot near the tower at 5 am. Some Moreporks where calling and for a 5 minutes a Brown Kiwi started calling. I had a short sleep and by first light a male Kokako started singing (at 6:30 am), soon White-eye's and other birds started to get active. A climb up the tower produced a very nice sighting of a pair of Rifleman and some New Zealand Pigeons. Other birds recorded here (between the parking and the tower) where: Tomtit, New Zealand Robin, Kaka (4), Tui, Yellow-crowned Parakeet (small flock), Gray Fantail, Grey Gerygone, Whitehead and Bellbird. On my way back about 300 meters south of the parking spot I found an other singing Kokako (after a tip from a warden). I missed out on an New Zealand Falcon hanging around the visitors' center.
After a while I headed for lake Rotorua to take the boat to Mokoai Island to twitch Saddleback and Stitchbird and possibly Weka. The first two where very easy and seen in minutes but the last one I sadly missed. Also few New Zealand Robins here. After the trip where I also recorded New Zealand Scaup, Red & Black-billed Gull, New Zealand Grebe, Paradise Shelduck and Grey Teal. After this short visit I went back to Miranda.
Over here in the Information Centre I asked for a spot for Fernbird and Australian Bittern and booked a room for the night. The warden draw me a mud map (sadly I lost the map) and I headed for the spot, after 2 hours I finally located a single Fernbird and missed out on Australian Bittern. Also I recorded few Buff-banded Rails here.
I spent the night at the bunkhouse at Miranda!
1 May 1998
Woke up early at Miranda (saw the sunrise) and had a quick drive into Auckland, few miles before Auckland I though let's have a look at the ticket and it turned out that I could leave next day and I had a full day to go.
I drove to the coast at Waiuku to do some sea watching. An hour sit produced some Fluttering and Buller's Shearwaters, Kelp Gulls and as highlight a close Gray petrel. After this sea-watch I decided to get into the harbor from Auckland to find Spotted Shag, and I soon succeeded in finding few birds. So I went quick to the coast at Muriwai, to find the famous gannet colony and saw there many gannets at close distant and far off shore thousands of shearwaters and Black-fronted Terns.
I returned my car to the rental company and checked in at the same Youth hostel. And went to bed early.
2 May 1998
Woke up early and walked a bit trough the center of Auckland and was at 10 am at the airport. A relaxed flight to Honolulu on Oahu at Hawaii. Searched and found a backpackers hostel near the Hilton Hotel in Waikiki.
3 May 1998
|(Photo 9:View from Waikiki to the Diamond Head volcano)|
A morning walk through Waikiki produced except for very beautiful woman (Miss World election) a nice Wandering Tattler on the beach between the sun bathing people, some very nice White Terns and some Brown- and Red-legged Booby's passing by over seas.
4 May 1998
Went with a nice girl from Holland who I met in the youth hostel out for an hour sea watch at the Blowhole (took the cheap bus to there).
Over here thousands of birds passed by. Between the thousands of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters I picked out some Christmas Shearwaters and between the thousands of Sooty Terns I picked out 50+ Grey-backed Terns. Also seen here where few White Terns passing by and one was chassed by a Great Fregatebird, also Red-tailed Tropicbird, Black Noddy and Brown Noddy passed by.
5 to 7 May 1998
Some common introduced birds seen and some booby's and white terns. On the 7th departed to Holland again via Los Angeles and Frankfurt.
Bird List New Zealand
Birds not in Bold are escaped birds! Seen 27 endemics seen and 29 new species, missed only on route Australian Bittern, Weka, New Zealand Falcon and Long-tailed Cuckoo!
Bird List Hawaii
Birds not in Bold are escaped birds, Seen 11 new species, no endemics however!