Hauraki Gulf pelagic – 13 November 2004
Participants: Peter Milburn, Richard Yank, Ian Puckrin, David Andrew, Gerry Richards (all from Australia), Robert Tolk (Holland), Colin Miskelly, Martin Snowball, Roger Slack, Roger McNeil, Sav Saville (organiser, Wrybill Birding Tours).
Weather: Fresh NE easing through the day, choppy water with a slight swell.
An excellent day on the water aboard MV Assassin with skipper Brett Rathe. Launched from Sandspit at about 0900, returned 2015. Started off into the teeth of the breeze, so a fairly bumpy ride for the first hour or so. Plenty of Cook’s Petrels early on, as well as fluttering and flesh-footed shearwaters and a few white-faced storm-petrels. The early highlight was a non-avian one, with 2 Bryde’s whales and a fragmented pod of common dolphins giving a reasonable show.
Brett’s favoured NZSP spots failed to provide the target bird, but just about everything else that one might expect turned up at one time or another, and we were treated to a mass of several hundred flutteringand Buller’s shearwaters and fairy prions at a huge fish boil-up near the Mokohinaus.
Also notable today were big numbers of common diving petrel, lots more little shearwaters than expected and an immature northern giant petrel.
It was just about “last chance saloon”, and the time was 1600, before we got onto a NEW ZEALAND STORM-PETREL – one quick circuit of the boat at about 50m range and it was gone. Good enough views for everyone to be fairly happy, but then at least 2 more birds came in and stuck around for about 20 minutes allowing crippling views for all. A fourth individual was seen as we were steaming away from Little Barrier Island.
A brief stop at the Beehive produced a male shore plover and a couple of NZ dotterel in the fading light.
Bird List (minimum numbers) :
NEW ZEALAND STORM-PETREL probably only 4 individuals
White-faced Storm-petrel 20+
Flesh-footed Shearwater 50+
Buller’s Shearwater 40+
Fluttering Shearwater 100+
Little Shearwater 25+
Sooty Shearwater 15+
Short-tailed Shearwater 1 (poss 2)
Cook’s Petrel 200+ nothing even vaguely resembling a Pycroft’s
Grey-faced Petrel 1
Black Petrel 4+
Northern Giant Petrel 1
immature Common Diving Petrel 200+
Fairy Prion 100+
Blue Penguin 20+
Australasian Gannet 100+
Arctic Skua 1 light phase adult
Red-crowned Parakeet 3 at the Mokes
Shore Plover 1 male (at the ‘Beehive’)
NZ Dotterel 2
Variable Oystercatcher 2
Bryde’s Whale 2
Common Dolphin c15
Bottle-nosed Dolphin 1