Kokako at Boundary Stream


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.


Plumed Whistling Ducks in Napier


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.

Back from South Africa

Grey-Crowned Crane

For once the bird on this blog isn’t a New Zealand species (it is a Grey-Crowned Crane).  We have just returned from what should have been a trip of a lifetime – a 30 day tour of South Africa.  We spent 5 days in Kruger, and toured the country which is a superb destination for birders.  We got 92 species on our first day, and after 3 days had done 200 species.  At the end of the trip we had 514 species, which isn’t bad considering there are only about 854 species in South Africa and the best birders have trouble breaking 700.  We had a good birding guide, but we weren’t impressed with Rockjumper.  The logistics of the tour left a lot to be desired, and this detracted considerably from what would have otherwise been a wonderful birding holiday.  We won’t be doing a Rockjumper tour again, and in future we are likely to do shorter tours and employ local guides rather than these international tour operators.

NZ Falcon, Te Ahumairangi Hill


One of a pair of Falcons that have nested on Te Ahumairangi Hill (Tinankori Hill) in Wellington this year.  Their nest is just off the main northern walkway route, and the Falcons vigorously defend their territory if anyone approaches.

Update January 2016 – they had 3 chicks.  Keeping an eye out for them as they mature.

White Heron, Lake Omanu


Lake Omanu is near Foxton.  A permit is required from Fish & Game to visit the lake.  Among the other waterfowl we found a White Heron.  There were 3 Royal Spoonbill roosting in a tree, and a Bittern hiding in the reeds on a small island in the middle of the lake.  In previous years we have had up to 3 White Heron, Little Egret and Cattle Egret also on the lake.

Buller’s Mollymawk, Cook Strait

N Bullers Cook St 2015-05-02

We did a pelagic out into Cook Strait with a local fishing charter, and you don’t need to go very far before the Albatrosses turn up.  We also had White-capped, Salvin’s, Royals and Black-browed.  This is a Northern Buller Mollymawk.  The bill is strikingly colourful.