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.
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.
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.
The White Heron is back again this year – has been a regular winter visitor staying for periods of several months near the boatsheds at Hutt River estuary, and alongside the river near Shandon golf club.
On the field trip after the Birding NZ conference we found a “flock” of 5 Kokako’s in a tree at Boundary Stream, with one bird calling mournfully for several minutes. Good to see these birds in their native habitat.
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.
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.