Zealand trip report
6 - 23 November 2002
Tour leader: Philip Maher
Spotted Kiwi Apteryx owenii seen on Kapiti Island prior to
Stewart Island Brown Kiwi Apteryx australis lawryi
Two of these primitive recluses seen briefly (including a "wee
chick") in forest at The Neck on Stewart Island. E
Fiordland-crested Penguin Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
Two seen well on the Stewart Island pelagic trip and at least 12 on
the Milford Sound boat tour including some swimming alongside the boat.
Yellow-eyed Penguin Megadyptes antipodes
One seen briefly by some of the group at Shag Point and another by most
of the group at Moeraki; two seen well onshore, and swimming around
the boat off Stewart Island. E
Little Blue Penguin Eudyptula minor
A few in the nest boxes on Tiritiri Matangi Island; six from the Marlborough
Sound boat trip; common around Stewart Island.
5. New Zealand Dabchick Poliocephalus rufopectus
Four seen at Motuoapa Harbour, Lake Taupo. E
Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
A few seen on Lakes Tekapo and Benmore
Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans
One immature seen from the Interislander (Cook Strait) ferry; another
unidentified giant albatross seen while we were seawatching south of
Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora
At least three of the northern subspecies sandfordi flying over
us while we were having coffee at the Royal Albatross Centre, Otago
Shy Mollymawk Diomedea cauta
Two seen (by those still standing) during the extremely rough crossing
of the Foveaux Strait; at least 12 during the pelagic trip off Stewart
Island and around 30 seen at Knight's Point.
Salvin's Mollymawk Diomedea cauta salvini
Three seen during the Cook Strait ferry crossing.
Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus
12 Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli
Giant petrels were seen from the Cook Strait ferry; from the wharf at
Kaikoura; Moeraki; Foveaux Strait; Stewart Island pelagic trip; and
Knight's Point. The northern giant petrels seen while on the Stewart
Island pelagic were the only ones close enough to determine specific
Cape Pigeon Daption capense
Many observed from shore, due to rough weather out at sea. Cook Strait;
around the wharf at Kaikoura; at several points south of Kaikoura; at
least 20 following a fishing boat around the bay at Moeraki; and during
the pelagic trip off Stewart Island.
Mottled Petrel Pterodroma inexpectata
One distant bird in Cook Strait.
Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur
Hundreds seen during the Cook Strait crossing.
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
Sightings on the Cook Strait crossing; Foveaux Strait crossing; and
Stewart Island pelagic.
Hutton's Shearwater Puffinus huttoni
Hundreds in the bay at Kaikoura and at points south of Kaikoura. E
Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia
Cook Strait crossing and on the boat tour in Marlborough Sound. E
Common Diving Petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix
Good numbers seen in Foveaux Strait and on the pelagic off Stewart Island
Australasian Gannet Morus serrator
Seen from the Tiritiri Matangi ferry; Marlborough Sounds; and on the
pelagic off Stewart Island.
Little Black Shag Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
Just a few seen at Lake Taupo NI
Great Black Shag Phalacrocorax carbo
Seen at many localities in low numbers on the North and South Islands.
Pied Shag Phalacrocorax varius
Moderately common around the coast on North, South and Stewart Islands.
King Shag Leucocarbo carunculatus E
Two birds seen in the Queen Charlotte Sound, which was lucky because
we were not able to get out to the nesting area at White Rocks due to
Stewart Island Shag Leucocarbo chalconotus
Sightings Moeraki; Shag Point on South Island; good numbers on the pelagic
off Stewart Island at the nesting islands; and a few seen from the Foreaux
Strait ferry. E
Spotted Shag Stictocarbo punctatus
Good numbers nesting on cliff faces down the east coast of the South
Island; also at Punakaiki on the west coast. E
Little Pied Shag Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
Common and widespread in low numbers
White-faced Heron Ardea novaehollandiae
Common and widespread throughout open farmland
Reef Heron Egretta sacra
One seen during boat trip in Marlborough Sounds
Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus
One calling in the swamps north of Haast.
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia
About 30 at Lake Ellesmere, south of Christchurch.
Black Swan Cygnus atratus
Common on lakes on North and South Islands.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Moderately common on lakes, mainly on the South Island.
Paradise Shelduck Tadorna variegata
Common throughout, mainly in open farmland. Seen almost every day of
the tour. E
Blue Duck Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos
We were fortunate to see two pairs of this unusual duck, including one
with a large young near Ruatiti on the North Island. E
Grey Teal Anas gracilis
Seen at a couple of localities on North and South Islands.
Brown Teal Anas aucklandica (Anas chlorotis)
One seen briefly on a dam on Tiritiri Matangi Island. E
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Common throughout North, South and Stewart Island; seen on almost everyday
of the tour; also many Mallard/Black Duck hybrids.
Black (Grey) Duck Anas superciliosa
Common throughout North and South Islands, although not as common as
Australasian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis
A few at Lakes Taupo, Ellesmere, Tekapo, and Benmore.
New Zealand Scaup Aythya novaeseelandiae
Common on lakes and other bodies of water. Highest numbers on Lakes
Taupo, Tekapo and Benmore. E
Australasian Harrier Circus approximans
Common throughout North and South Islands in open farmland; seen on
every day of the tour except while we were on Stewart Island.
New Zealand Falcon Falco novaeseelandiae
Pair seen up close and personal (swooped by female which nearly took
my hat off) at Mapara Reserve and another seen in Pureora Forest. None
seen on South Island. E
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
Seen on most days in open farmland on North Island; few on South Island,
south of Christchurch.
California Quail Callipepla californica
A few sightings near Te Kuite and south of Turangi on the North Island
and one sighting near Queenstown on the South Island.
Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
An adult male seen near Ruatiti, North Island.
Weka Gallirallus australis
At least 10 trusting Wekas were seen on Ulva Island, including one with
a chick. On the South Island, between Greymouth and Arthur's Pass, a
large Weka ran across our path. All were of the Brown subspecies. E
Spotless Crake Porzana tabuensis
Two, heard only, Ngaroto Lake, North Island.
Purple Swamphen (Pukeko) Porphyrio porphyrio
Common throughout most of North and South Islands, seen most days of
Takahe Porphyrio mantelli
At least four of these primitive beasts seen on Tiritiri Matangi Island,
one bathing in a trough of water while we lunched. E
Australian Coot Fulica atra
Seen only on Lakes Taupo, Tekapo and Benmore.
South Island Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
On the North Island, seen only at Miranda; common and widespread, mostly
in open farmland, on South Island.
Variable Oystercatcher Haematopus unicolor
Common and widespread in low numbers around the coastline on the North
and South Islands; highest numbers south of Kaikoura. E
Pied Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Common and widespread in low numbers on the North and South Islands.
At least one hybrid Pied/Black seen on Lake Benmore.
Black Stilt Himantopus novaezelandiae
One sighting only, a single banded bird on the west side of Lake Tekapo.
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
Common and widespread in open farmland on North and South Islands.
New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus
Three only, seen on the shell banks of Miranda. E
Banded Dotterel Charadrius bicinctus
Birds in full breeding plumage seen from south of Kaikoura to the Twizel
area. At least four pairs nesting in braided riverbed of Ohau River
near Twizel. E
Wrybill Anarchynchus frontalis
Around 20 birds, some in breeding plumage, seen only at Miranda. E
Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sightings at Miranda, Kaikoura and near Bluff.
(Red) Lesser Knot Calidris canutus
Hundreds seen, only at Miranda.
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis
Around six, seen at Miranda.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata
Four, seen at Miranda.
Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
One at Miranda.
Skua Catharacta antarctica
Around two seen while on the pelagic trip off Stewart Island.
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
One brief sighting while we were on the boat trip on Marlborough Sounds.
Kelp (Black-backed) Gull Larus dominicanus
Common and widespread, seen on all but one day of the tour.
Red-billed Gull Larus novaehollandiae
Common and widespread, seen on most days of the tour.
Black-billed Gull Larus bulleri
Moderately common, good numbers at Miranda; at the Hurunui River mouth,
south of Kaikoura; and at several other inland lakes. E
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Sightings en route to Tiritiri Matangi Island; Miranda; and near Bluff.
Tern Sterna striata
Common and widespread, seen in most coastal areas of North, South and
Stewart Islands; nesting in several localities.
Little Tern Sterna albifrons
At least one bird on the shell banks at Miranda.
Black-fronted Tern Sterna albostriata
Moderately common in the Twizel area; also seen south of Kaikoura; and
a few in the Egglington Valley. A handsome bird. E
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Common around cities and towns.
New Zealand Pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
Widespread in low numbers, seen on 11 days of the tour. Best numbers
seen at Mapara Reserve and Ruatiti on the North Island and on Stewart
Island. Close views on Tiritiri Matangi Island. E
Kea Nestor notabilis
Sightings at Mt Cook; Homer Tunnel; and The Chasm near Fox Glacier.
Mischievous bird, not to be trusted near a car. E
Kaka Nestor meridionalis
Around five of the North Island subspecies seen in the Pureora Forest;
common on Stewart Island; delighted us with their strange calls on Ulva
Island where they were extracting grubs from trees. One of the rare
South Island subspecies was seen about 20 kms north of Haast. E
Red-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae
Two seen briefly on Tirtiri Matangi Island and at least 50 seen on Ulva
Island where they appear to be thriving.
Yellow-crowned parakeet Cyanoramphus auriceps
Around eight seen in Pureora Forest with some nice views up close. Just
a single bird seen on Ulva Island with the Red-crowns.
Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximus
A pair was seen in the Te Kuite area.
Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidas
One seen very well, hawking insects over the river at Ruatiti; another
calling at the Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki
Long-tailed Cuckoo Eudynamys taitensis
Two of these furtive birds seen, mainly in flight at Mapara Reserve
; also a pair in flight at Pureora Forest (NI). A good view was finally
had of a perched bird, which had flown in silently, at the Haast Pass
summit (SI). E
Morepork Ninox novaeseelandiae
Two of these cute owls in the spotlight, up close, in the forest near
Haast. Several calling on the kiwi trip on Stewart Island.
Little Owl Athene noctua
One distant bird heard in Hagley Park, Christchurch; Fresh pellets found
under willow trees along the Ohau River near Twizel probably belonged
to this species.
Sacred Kingfisher Todirhamphus sanctus vagan
Moderately common on North Island; just a few sightings on South Island.
Rifleman Acanthisitta chloris
Surely one of the cutest birds in the world! A pair seen briefly in
Pureora Forest and in Kaimanawa Forest on the North Island. Excellent
views were had on the South Island at Mt Cook, including one pair feeding
young in a nest, down low in a tree hollow. Pairs seen at Kious Creek
and Lake Gunn nature walk; and around three pairs at Haast Pass summit.
Rock Wren Xenicus gilviventris
Only one of these little gems seen in the rock scree near Homer's Tunnel.
Seen by a minority of the group due to the rough terrain. E
Skylark Alauda arvenis
Common and widespread, particularly on the South Island.
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena
Common and widespread, particularly on the North Island.
New Zealand Pipit (Aust) Anthus novaeseelandiae
Some nice looks at several birds along the Desert Road between Turangi
and Waiouru; also a couple of sightings in the Twizel area.
Dunnock Prunella modularis
Many sightings on South and Stewart Islands.
Blackbird Turdus merula
Abundant and widespread, seen on every day of the tour.
Song thrush Turdus philomelos
Although not as abundant as Blackbird, this species was seen on all
but one day of the tour.
Fernbird Bowdleria punctata
Some nice looks in the swamps south of Haast where we saw about four
birds and heard a couple of others calling. E
Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa
Many sightings of his friendly species on the North Island, not so many
seen on the South Island but still common in some areas, such as between
Haast and Greymouth. One of the black form seen at Haast Pass summit.
Tomtit E Petroica macrocephala
Sightings on North Island at Mapara Reserve and Pureora Forest. On the
south Island, a pair feeding flying young at Mt Cook; a pair at Kious
Creek; several along the road to Milford Sound; Haast Pass summit; Lake
Moeraki and Ulva Is.
New Zealand Robin Petroica australis
Sightings on North Island on Tiritiri Matangi Island and Pureora Forest.
On South Island on Motuara Island and Kious Creek; also on Ulva Island.
Whitehead Mohoua albicilla
Sightings on Tiritiri Island; Mapara Reserve; Pureora Forest; and a
few in Kaimanawa Forest. E
Yellowhead Mohoua ochrocephala
Only one sighting, which was at the Haast Pass summit. This species
is severely threatened on the mainland by stoats predating the nests.
Several populations have been removed to offshore islands in a bid to
save the species. E
Brown Creeper Mohoua novaeseelandiae
Sightings on Ulva Island; Kious Creek; and Haast Pass summit. E
Grey Warbler Gerygone igata
Common and widespread on North and South Islands and Ulva Island. E
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis
Common and widespread on North and South Islands
Stitchbird Notiomystis cincta
Doing well on Tiritiri Matangi Island, about 10 birds seen. E
Bellbird Anthornis melanura E
Common and widespread in areas of bush on North, South and Stewart Islands.
Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae
Common and widespread in forested areas on North, South and Stewart
Islands; their haunting call often heard. E
Kokako Callaeas cinerea
An unexpected sighting of one bird, up close, feeding on leaves on Tiritiri
Matangi Island. Another pair seen and the melodious calls heard at Mapara
Saddleback Philesturnus carunculatus
Many of these delightful birds seen on Tiritiri Matangi Island. Just
one of the South Island subspecies seen on Motuara Island where the
population has declined dramatically. E
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen
Common and widespread in open farmland.
Myna Acridotheres tristis
Common and widespread around towns and open farmland on the North Island.111.
Starling Sturnis vulgaris
Common and widespread, seen every day of the tour.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Common and widespread, seen every day of the tour bar one.
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Common and widespread, seen every day of the tour bar one.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Common and widespread on the North Island and in parts of the South
Redpoll Cardulelis flammea
Several sightings on North, South and Stewart Islands.
Goldfinch Cardulelis carduelis
Common and widespread on the North and South Islands.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Common and widespread in open farmland on North and South Islands.
Nice views of a pod, up close, while we were on the boat trip on Marlborough
A couple feeding in the surf near Moeraki Boulders
NZ Fur Seal
Many colonies seen along the coast of South Island and on Stewart Island.
About three of these great characters seen while on the pelagic trip
off Stewart Island.
New Zealand birding tour itinerary