Matt has just been leading a tour with a couple around the Auckland area and writes the following after a very successful three days.
DAY 1 We left downtown Auckland, and headed to a nearby park, and with very heavy rain we used the car as hide and great views of Buff-banded Rail. Then onto the ferry to Tiritiri Matangi, where we saw two Arctic Skuas and handful of Fluttering Shearwaters. As we stepped onto the wharf the rain stopped. Phew!
With just a day trip we had to find as much as possible as quickly as possible, and all fell into place. With mega looks at Kokako and Stitchbird.
Further along the path NI Robin hoped around our feet, and whitehead flocks called above our heads. NI Saddlebacks fed in amongst the leaf litter. We also had fantastic views of Fernbird, Brown Teal, Red-crowned Parakeet, NZ Pigeon and just before lunch we had great looks at a pair of Takahe and their fluffy black chick.
As we got back on the ferry, the rain started again now thats timing! On the return journey unusually we saw two Cooks Petrels, and a lone Flesh-footed shearwater.
En route to our motel we birded a few local spots finding NZ Dotterel, NZ Dabchick, Grey teal, NZ Scaup, and Australasian Shoveler.
DAY 2 After breakfast we headed to another park in sunshine and found more Brown Teal and took photos of a showy NZ Dotterel. We also found a pair of Brown Quail and watched the flying paintbox aka Eastern Rosella, whizz overhead, and viewed more NI Saddlebacks.
As we were leaving we heard a Shining Cuckoo calling and after a bit of searching we watched 3 birds calling and displaying above our heads, just an awesome encounter.
Next we headed up the coast in the hope of finding a Fairy Tern, at the first site we had no luck, then we tried a second location still no joy!
So we went searching Grebes instead, and found a pond holding two pairs of NZ Dabchicks and a pair of Australasian Little Grebes.
Then we headed back to the first Fairy Tern site and there right in front of us was our prize, feeding along the shoreline. Fantastic.
We also saw our first Bar-tailed Godwit, Red Knot, and Ruddy Turnstone.
And then into the car for the drive north to Kerikeri. And after a nice Thai meal we headed out to try to add North Island Brown Kiwi to our list. We had a mega night finding 3 kiwis, 1 male and 2 females, the last of which was very comfortable in our company happily feeding on the path in front of us, I never get fed up of watching these guys! We also had great looks at a Morepork.
DAY 3 Our final started early with us heading south on SH1, our destination was Miranda. The tide was perfect as we walked into the hide,
Bar-tailed Godwit, Red Knot, and Pacific Golden Plover filled our scopes. A bit of searching and we found the Red-necked Stint and 3 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. Plus our first Black-billed Gulls and South Island Pied Oystercatchers. All to the soundtrack of “Yapping” Pied Stilts and the more tuneful Skylarks.
As I dropped off the Swedish couple at Auckland Airport, we worked out that we had seen well over 80 species, and some great encounters with some great Northern NZ birds…