Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ
Great birds, real birders.
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ…….started out as a couple of birding mates making the decision to set up their own independent bird-guiding business. We felt there was a need for real BIRDERS, who were passionate about birding, really knew their New Zealand birds and birding sites inside out, and were based in New Zealand, with access to up-to-date information on the New Zealand birding scene. Sure we know our natural history as well, but we are BIRDERS, the name says it all!
Pelagic birding trips are just one of our specialties, with unrivalled knowledge within New Zealand. Our rediscovery of the supposedly extinct New Zealand Storm-petrel in 2003, as we were just starting to operate our business, was an amazing sign that we were really doing the right thing. However, we also know our land-birds just as well and know you will enjoy your New Zealand birding experience with us!
So here we are…….Sav Saville and Brent Stephenson, and recently due to being so popular, and restricting our group sizes to just 8 people, we have had to enlist the help of three other great New Zealand birders – Phil Hammond, Matt Jones, and Neil Robertson. The decision to hire other guides was not one we took lightly, but as their clients have told us, they are excellent and fit well within our team! Our list of services can be found here, with anything from pre-trip planning advice, to a full North and South Island organised tour (including Stewart Island), and anything in between. As Sav, Brent, Phil, Matt, and Neil live in different parts of the country, we are also able to offer guided trips around our ‘neck-of-the-woods’ for one or more days, and make custom itineraries. Trip reports from our pelagics, personal birding trips, and guided trips can be found here. If you are visiting New Zealand, then email us to let us know how we can help.
So why choose us?
- We must be doing something right if pelagic experts and overseas field leaders think we do a good job! Check out endorsements from World class seabirders here and see our testimonials page here.
- We only operate in New Zealand, choosing to run tours on our home turf where we know things best. That doesn’t mean we don’t travel and bird overseas though!
- Our trip lists speak for themselves – during the last two summers our 21-day itineraries have consistently seen over 150 species with both Brent and Sav seeing 168 species on separate tours in late 2011, and Brent seeing 172 species (now the record) with a great group in Nov 2015! No other New Zealand operator even comes close to species lists like this!
- Our 21-day tours are only run by birders we know and trust! Sav & Brent have been running tours by themselves since 2002, but have now enlisted the help of Phil Hammond, Matt Jones, Neil Robertson and Wendy Hare and Nigel Milius. Phil, Matt, Neil, Wendy and Nigel are excellent guides and birders and we have no hesitation bringing them both onboard as guides.
- We are licensed Department of Conservation concessionaires, permitted to operate on New Zealand’s conservation estate. This means some of your fee goes towards ensuring the conservation of the birds you will see. We also hold concessions for many of the Auckland Regional Council Regional Parks.
- We love getting out and about birding, we are birders through and through – we even go birding on the weekend! BUT, we are also keen on plants, invertebrates, and other New Zealand wildlife. So a tour with us is NOT just hardcore birding, we take time to see the country and other things of interest during our 21-day tours.
- Consistently travelling the country to see new birds – see our Rarities section for the things we have discovered, successfully twitched, and (damn it!) unsuccessfully chased…a little out of date, but we are so busy out there doing it we don’t have time to keep the website completely up to date 😉
- Prominent in the NZ birding scene – Brent started and moderates BIRDING-NZ and is the record holder for the most birds seen in NZ in a calendar year (206 in 2006, see the streaming video here), Sav is now involved in the Rarities Committee for the OSNZ, having been the Regional Representative in his region in the past, and we both regularly contribute to BIRDING-NZ, are featured prominently in Steve Braunias’ ‘How to Watch a Bird’, and we rediscovered the supposedly ‘extinct’ New Zealand storm-petrel
- Plus we love showing New Zealand and its fantastic birds to overseas birders! Read client testimonials here.
- You will receive a free copy of Brent’s “Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic Guide” when you book on one of our 21-day tours!
- Do you need any more reasons to email us??
Upcoming Tours & News
DAY 14 Heading south on the West Coast, the first stop was at a sewage ponds just outside Hokitika - well it is a birding tour! NZ Scaup, Grey Duck and Aussie Shoveler were seen. A bit further down we did some more roadside birding as watched our first Great Egret...read more
Another 21-day tour started with Phil Hammond leading on Tuesday, and so they are now on Day 4. Sounds like things are going really well for them also, as they head to Tiritiri Matangi today. They had excellent views of North Island brown kiwi on the first night, and...read more
So Neil Robertson is now on the South Island, Day 11 of the tour. They have been having a great time so far, with some real highlights! Epic Hauraki Gulf pelagic, with good numbers of NZ storm-petrels (up to six in view at once), a Wilson's storm-petrel that hung...read more
DAY 10 Before catching the ferry south, we headed back to Foxton Beach and the tide was coming in, and pushing all the birds towards us. Bar-tailed Godwit, Red Knot, Pacific Golden Plover, Banded Dotterel, plus two Wrybill (always a favourite). Scopes and bins...read more
DAY 7 In the van at 6:00am and at 6:08am we where watching a stunning female Blue Duck, that sat up on a rock for the next 40 minutes. Then onto the next site, and to our next new bird, a very showy Australasian Bittern that flew over our heads a couple times before...read more