Category: Wellington

Red-necked Stint at Foxton


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.


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.

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.



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.

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.

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.