Trip Report - Kapiti Island, New Zealand

Subject: Trip Report - Kapiti Island, New Zealand
From: Gil Langfield <>
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 10:42:08 +1000
I worked in New Plymouth, New Zealand in late August and since I was returning to Melbourne via Wellington, took the opportunity to spend a day and night on Kapiti Island, which is about 60 km to the NNW of the city.

From an advertisement in the Birds Australia "Wingspan" magazine, I contacted John Barrett, who runs Kapiti Nature Lodge near the north end of the island. Because I had a 'plane to catch at 1600 the following day, I only had 24 hours in total there.

I arrived at Paraparaumu Beach on Friday evening after a one-hour drive from Wellington and booked into a motel John had arranged for me. The following morning at 0900, John met me at the ferry point and with about 20 day-trippers we crossed to the island by boat in about 15 minutes. I got off at the Department of Conservation landing point while John and my luggage continued to the lodge.

After a DOC briefing by one of John's staff, the day-trippers took off up the mountain while I started to watch birds in the DOC area before the one-hour hike along the coast to the lodge. I was the only guest in the lodge which has a few basic but clean rooms and good food and wine. I watched the rain for most of the afternoon and went out later to the wetland area. That night, John took me out to find Little Spotted Kiwis, of which there are about 1,500, the major remaining population. The following morning, John took me in his outboard back to the DOC site to await the 1000 boat back to the mainland.

Interesting birds seen were:

Little Spotted Kiwi:  about 4 around the lodge at 9 PM.
Australasian Gannet
Paradise Shelduck
Brown Teal:  there are about 15 on the island
Eastern Reef Egret
New Zealand Falcon:  1, near the DOC landing site
Weka:  lots
Takahe: I think there are about 6 on the island including a family group near the lodge
Variable Oystercatcher
Black-winged Stilt
Kaka: common around the lodge
Red-crowned Parakeet:  common to abundant
Grey Warbler
Bellbird:  common
Tui:  common
Saddleback: truly beautiful. John showed me a group of 3 just behind the DOC landing site.
New Zealand Robin
Whitehead:  abundant
Australasian Pipit

Apparently, Kokako and Stitchbird are to be found near the top of the mountain on the island but I did not have time to look. King Shags have started to breed on the island - we saw the empty nests only.

Near the mainland ferry port, at Waikane, New Zealand Dabchick can be seen near the south end of their range, at the Sewage Treatment Works, as well as Scaup and Redpoll, if they count. Please contact me if you need directions.


Gil Langfield
Melbourne, Australia

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