Not a great photo, but enough to show the Little Egret back at Lake Omanu near Foxton Beach. There were also two White Heron (Great Egret) – one at Lake Omanu and one at Foxton Estuary itself. We’ve seen Little Egret in almost every country we have visited, and there seems to be always a few that winter over in New Zealand each year.
A group of us visited Foxton Beach today, and Lake Omanu. Generally, we thought that waterfowl numbers were down on Lake Omanu, though there are always plenty of Canada Geese. We did find two White Heron there. On Foxton Beach there was a Red-necked Stint feeding with the Wrybill (about 17 Wrybill). It is a bit early for Stints to appear, and this individual had plenty of red breeding plumage around the neck.
A Wilson’s Phalarope (non-breeding plumage) turned up at Westshore, Napier causing great excitement for NZ birds. The bird appears quite settled on a little pond with Pied Stilts, Banded Dotterel and a few Grey Teal for company. We enjoyed a good long look at it. It was first mistaken for a Marsh Sandpiper, but it’s legs are not as long and it feeds quite differently (and has a distinctive white rump in flight). This is the 4th NZ record for the species.
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.
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.
This bird turned up at the Gannet colony at Muriwai in December 2014. Only a couple of these birds turn up around the New Zealand mainland each year.
These birds are reasonably common on lakes and ponds in the far north. A pair had a nest on a small pond on a private property on Ormiston Road near Ruakaka. They are a bit shy, diving if you get too close and swimming off.
Seen on a trip to Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds, where these rare parakeets have been introduced and are breeding well. It is quite hard to see the faint orange above the bill unless these birds are at close quarters. Otherwise they are similar to the Yellow-Crowned Parakeet.
The Kaikoura pelagics always pick up a good range of Albatross and Shearwater species. This is the Gibson’s Wandering Albatross, the one most commonly found in NZ waters. There is a lot of confusion over the “Wandering” Albatross species. The Antipodean Albatross is very rare in NZ waters, as is the much paler Snowy Albatross – all of which are generically referred to as “Wandering”.