Spotted Shag, Eastbourne

Spotted Shag

Spotted Shags breed on Somes Island in the middle of Wellington harbour, but they are seen infrequently just a couple of kilometres away on the mainland.  I have seen them occasionally around Queens Wharf and Oriental Parade, and sometimes a flock appears on the old wharf in Evans Bay near Wellington airport.  Today I found this chap on the rocks near Eastbourne township, starting to come in to breeding plumage.

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Bittern, Lake Omanu

Bittern and Magpie

There are several pairs of Bittern in the Lake Omanu area near Foxton.  Possibly as many as 10 birds.  Unfortunately you often only get to see them when you flush them, and that is how we saw this bird which then got chased by an Australian Magpie as it flew off round the lake.

Grey Duck, Foxton

Grey Duck 2

It is pretty unusual to find a Grey Duck in New Zealand that is really “grey”, and not a hybrid with a Mallard.  One that truly resembles a Pacific Black Duck.  We found a pair today on the pond at the back of Foxton Beach on Palmer Road.  Nice white facial markings, dark bill and green speculum.

Plumed Whistling Ducks in Napier

PlumedWhistlingDuck

Up in Napier for the Birding NZ annual conference, we took a quick trip out to Anderson Park where two Plumed Whistling Ducks are still there.  One swimming on the pond, the other roosting on the small island partially hidden in the trees.  These birds have been here for a number of years.

Pheasants

Pheasant

Dianne and I just did the eBird 2016 Big Day, logging a respectable total of 66 species for the Wellington region.  One of the highlights was seeing a group of 5 male Ring-necked Pheasants on a hillside on the road to Waikawa Beach.  They are quite grand birds.