New Zealand - December and January - around the house

All things winged, in the field or your own private aviary.

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chrish
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New Zealand - December and January - around the house

Post by chrish » March 26th, 2013, 3:24 pm

It has slowed down a bit here over the last weeks, so I thought I would inject a few photos from my last trip to New Zealand that I don't think I had shared before.

The first installment will be birds around my parent's house.

The hillside below my parent's house was patrolled every morning by an Australasian Harrier -

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and their yard was patrolled by

Song Thrush (introduced)

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Common Chaffinch (introduced)

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Here's a Chaffinch calling in their yard -



California Quail (introduced)

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Sacred Kingfishers were another common yard bird -

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the New Zealand Fantail -

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the Silvereye -

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and the Grey Gerygone (Grey Warbler)

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New Zealand Pigeon were displaying everywhere -

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and of course, the ubiquitous character of the New Zealand bush, the Tui

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Here's one of their amazing repertoire of calls -



Every day or so a Canada Goose (introduced) or two would be seen flying over the house.

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One of the most frustrating things about this trip was my inability to see a Morepork (a type of Owl). I have been trying to find one around there house for years. I hear them all the time and this was their breeding/vocal season. Here's a shot from the Auckland Zoo at ISO 16K -

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I know they were around because I heard them. But I didn't realize they had different calls. In fact, I recorded this in a small tree in their front yard one night without realizing that it was a pair of Moreporks doing some contact call thing (both sounds are Moreporks)! I could easily have gone over and looked at them, but I wasn't sure what the sound was while I was recording it. I couldn't have been more than 20 feet from them. :x I decided to wait to go over and look until Che'ree came outside and by the time she did, they had flown off.



To add insult to injury, I recorded this Tui doing a Morepork impersonation one morning. I know he was mocking me.



About an hour from their house (on the opposite side of the North Island) is the Australasian Gannet colony at Murawai. Gannets were there in large numbers of course.

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White-fronted Terns also nest here (where the Gannets haven't used up the space). Looks like some baby Tern is getting dinner, and some one is not...

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I made a few trips to Tawharanui Regional Park which is a nearby predator-free park where a number of endemics have been reestablished.

Welcome Swallow

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Brown Teal (Pateke) have recently been reestablished are doing very well -

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Paradise Shelducks were breeding all over the place there -

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Variable Oystercatchers are doing very well there -

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as are Brown Quail (probably introduce from Australia in the 1800s?)

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in the forests of Tawharanui, you find some cool endemics like

Red-fronted Parakeet (Kakariki)

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and the much larger Kaka (yes, that's really it's name)

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New Zealand Bellbird -

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and strangely a young Great Cormorant perched on a log in the forest stream -

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Tawharanui is also one of the premier surf beaches around Auckland and people come up in droves during the holidays (No, I don't surf, I have enough hobbies already!)

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and the cool thing about surfing here is that you are in the lee of Little Barrier Island - one of the remaining homes of Sphenodon punctatus!

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Along the beach below my parent's house you can see -

Red-billed Gull -

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Kelp Gull -

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Caspian Tern

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Bar-tailed Godwits

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and both species of Oystercatcher (South Island Oystercatcher in front, Variable Oystercatcher behind)

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That's all for the area immediately around their house.

On New Year's the guy who lives on the hill opposite them puts on a pretty spectacular fireworks display for the neighbors. This is shot from my parent's veranda.

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I will create a separate post for my pelagic trip and a trip down to Miranda Shorebird Observatory.

Chris

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pete
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Re: New Zealand - December and January - around the house

Post by pete » March 26th, 2013, 5:36 pm

Great shots of some very cool neighborhood birds :thumb:

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Rags
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Re: New Zealand - December and January - around the house

Post by Rags » March 27th, 2013, 11:57 pm

Great to see a selection of birds from New Zealand, even though some of them were very familiar!

Are you trying for Takahe whilst 'down under?'

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Re: New Zealand - December and January - around the house

Post by chrish » March 29th, 2013, 2:59 pm

Rags wrote:Great to see a selection of birds from New Zealand, even though some of them were very familiar!

Are you trying for Takahe whilst 'down under?'
I've seen Takahe on Tiritiri Matangi Scientific Reserve. They breed there, but there is a question as to their countability. I'm counting them since I don't know that I will ever see a truly wild Takahe. I've never been to the highlands in the south for some reason, so I don't have any of the highland birds like Rock Warbler, Kea, Takahe, etc..

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Re: New Zealand - December and January - around the house

Post by Shane_TX » March 31st, 2013, 7:46 pm

Do kiwi herpers have a problem seeing tuataras in the field?

Shane

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Re: New Zealand - December and January - around the house

Post by chrish » April 1st, 2013, 4:51 am

Shane_TX wrote:Do kiwi herpers have a problem seeing tuataras in the field?

Shane
I believe all the islands where they live are closed to public access. I think you can get a permit to visit from the Department of Conservation, but I'm not sure how involved that is.

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