I owe those of you who responded to my request for
information, a report of what we saw in NZ. Many thanks for all the advice that
came my way.
In true style however, the holiday turned out to be
a rather non-birding affair and we spent most of our wildlife time in the
company of whales, dolphins, seals and sealions.
The land-birding was good, but not great. In fact
it was quite disappointing on the terrestrial front. We saw stacks of Brown
Creepers, Riflemen, Tomtits and Bellbirds and a few Tuis. We spent some time in
habitat for the alpine parrots but saw none. I was a bit surprised that I didn't
pick any up flying around the treeline - maybe we were just unlucky. I felt that
this was probably not a great time of year. We dipped Yellowhead at Haast Pass.
Went to Glenorchy for an afternoon and except for a single fly-over
Yellow-crowned Parakeet, I picked up no new birds. To be fair, we didn't go out
of our way much but I got a taster and I am intent on a future trip with more
The seabirds were great however. We did not do a
pelagic (waits for shock response from aussie and NZ birders) but I did see
quite a bit from the coast and got a few nice ticks sailing around over the
backs of Dusky Dolphins, Hector's Dolphins and Sperm Whales. My world cetacean
list has just passed the quarter century mark so I am quite chuffed.
The following seabirds flew by while
Giant Petrel sp.
Bullers Shearwater - what a great looking
Sooty Shearwater (there were large wrecks on the S.
coast while we were there)
Common Diving Petrel
poss Antarctic Fulmar (sadly only one view of a
bird flying away while doing 30 knots in Kaikoura - couldn't rule out pale Cape
Pigeon, however unlikely)
poss Grey-faced Petrel
Little Blue Penguin (incl. White-flippered
Also saw the odd Pterodroma and no doubt missed a
couple of species of Prion.
If anyone is interesting in reading my
whale-watching trip report which is much more comprehensive than this effort,
then I can forward it. Or you could sign up with UKCetnet (a fantastically
informative listserver....that, er...incidentally, I run...) at www.yahoogroups.com - it's in the
archive and you can choose to read messages online rather than receive them in
Simon Mustoe - Director
AES Applied Ecology Solutions Pty Ltd.