Sav’s tour continues to go well with his group. They had an incredible ‘extravaganza’ with long-tailed cuckoos in Pureora Forest Park with maybe 10 birds calling and flying about, with some excellent close views! Also lots of yellow-crowned parakeets, kaka, and a brief falcon. Blue duck found and enjoyed as well near Turangi.
They were staying at the same accommodation as Neil and his clients, and had a falcon in front of the rooms at the accommodation! Neil and clients also had a great time with long-tailed cuckoos and the other specialties at Pureora, and also found a pair of roosting morepork – always a treat to find daytime roosting owls! Sav and his group also managed a roosting morepork the next day also!
Sav and his group continued south, with common tern, curlew sandpiper and some spectacularly close wrybill at Manawatu Estuary, and the next day had a great Cook Strait Ferry crossing with a lot of seabird activity including three species of albatross (Northern Royal, white-capped and Salvin’s), and sooty, Hutton’s, and flesh-footed shearwaters, plus fairy prion, 7 Arctic Skua and 2 King shag! The later being pretty rare from the ferry! They arrived into Picton with a trip list of 119 species.
Meanwhile Neil had an amazing day on the Hauraki Gulf, with possibly as many as 30 (!!) New Zealand storm-petrels over the course of the day. They had all the usual suspects, including great black petrel and even got out to see 35 grey tern lets at the Mokohinau Islands! Awesome!
Sav and his group had an excellent morning on the Marlborough Sounds, with more King shags and good but brief orange-fronted parakeet, plus South Island saddleback. Then a glimpse of the long staying black kite near Blenheim, and two hoary-headed grebes on the way south to Kaikoura. Topped off the day with a greedy haul of three little owls!
Phil and his group started their trip on Tuesday and are doing well! More on that soon!