06/07/03 Grey phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius, recovered live on Ninety Mile Beach
A female grey phalarope was picked up in a bedraggled state on Ninety Mile Beach (north of Auckland, west coast) half way between Waipapakauri Ramp and Hukatere by local resident Laurie Austen of Awanui on Sunday 6/7/2003. This appears to be the 8th record of this species in New Zealand, all of which have been found in June or July, and due to this, all but one has been in breeding plumage (or near it). This female, as can be seen from the photos, is in immaculate breeding plumage and must have been a fantastic sight.
Thanks must go to Kevin Matthews who reported the bird to Graeme Taylor, and took the following photos later that evening, obviously after the bird had warmed up. The bird was released successfully at the Rangaunu harbour, and was in no hurry to get out of the box. It was lifted out and then it waded around a bit, again in no hurry and started feeding. It is unsure whether the bird has been seen since.