Trip Report and Annotated List: New Zealand and Chatham Islands Nov 12-Dec 9, 2013

Ross Silcock, NZ Land & Pelagic Bird Tours


Nov 12: Puketutu Causeway, Muriwai Beach, wenderholm Park, Waiwera Sewage Lagoons, Straka's Lagoon, Waiwera Beach.
Nov 13: Tawharanui Reserve, Ormiston Road Pond, Wairoa River, Trounson Forest.
Nov 14: Waipoua Forest, Wairoa River, Mangawhai Estuary, Waipu Estuary.
Nov 15: Hauraki Gulf Pelagic, Matakana Rd.
Nov 16: Tiritiri Matangi Island.
Nov 17: Tiritiri Matangi Island, Miranda.
Nov 18: Whangamarino Swamp; Whitianga Pelagic.
Nov 19: Pureora Forest.
Nov 20: Wairakei, Turangi, Pohangina Totara Reserve.
Nov 21: Hokowhitu Lagoon, Foxton Beach, Manawatu Estuary, Lake Horowhenua, Otaki Sewage Ponds, Wellington Harbour, Cook Strait, Marlborough Sounds.
Nov 22: Blumine Island, Renwick, Grasmere Salt Ponds, Kaikoura Postman's Road.
Nov 23: Kaikoura Pelagic, Kowhai Bush, Kaikoura.
Nov 24: St Anne's Lagoon, Ashley Estuary, Arthur's Pass Village, Hokitika Sewage Ponds, Okarito Forest.
Nov 25: Fox Glacier, Haast Pass.
Nov 26: Homer Tunnel, Hollyford River, Lake Gunn Trail.
Nov 27: Milford Sound Cruise.
Nov 28: Te Wae Wae Bay; Wakapatu Beach, Bluff Harbour, Foveaux Strait Ferry, Ulva Island, Ocean Beach Kiwi Trip.
Nov 29: Half Moon Bay, Bench Island, Big Reef Pelagic.
Nov 30: Foveaux Strait Ferry, Shag Point, Bushy Beach.
Dec 1: Lake Poaka, Glentanner, Mt John, uataniwha Wetland.
Dec 2: Cooper's Lagoon.
Dec 3: Waitangi, Chatham Islands.
Dec 4: Awatotara River, Waitangi West Beach, Te Whaanga Lagoon, Hapupu.
Dec 5: Mangere Island, South East Island, Pyramid, Pyramid Pelagic.
Dec 6: Waitangi.
Dec 7: Ocean Mail Reserve, Te Whaanga Lagoon, Horns Pelagic.
Dec 8: Sweetwater Covenant.

Daily Journal

Nov 12 (Tuesday): Plan was for me to drop my rental car at the airport and collect the three 7.15 am arrivals from LA- Terry, Sandy, and Lois. The plane was on time but the very particular customs service finally released them around 8 am. As we left to go to the parking lot to meet Sav, here he came with the others, whom he had rounded up at the 2 motels. Perfect timing! We loaded at the bus stop which got the security folks a bit excited; a policeman actually took a cell phone pic of the van’s registration. Maybe we’ll get a call soon! Anyway, we headed off for a leisurely first day; first stop, of course, the Mangere Sewage Works, great for waterfowl and shorebirds etc, then to the amazing gannet colony at Muriwai, Wenderholm Park, Waiwera Sewage Lagoons (of course), Straka’s Refuge, and Waiwera Beach. Group was getting bit tired, so we headed back around 4.30 and set up dinner for 6.30. Had fun at dinner at Muldoon’s Irish Pub; I had a great burger with Portobello mushroom and a couple Speight’s Gold Medal beers. As they say, hydration is important. Back to the room for the day’s list- pretty respectable 53, including quite a few endemics and a Curlew Sandpiper. Divided up Sav’s grocery haul for breakfast and decided to depart in the morning at 8 am, quite respectable, but we will be out late tomorrow looking for kiwi.

Nov 13 (Wednesday): Leisurely start around 8 am. Headed north to Tawaharanui Reserve. Great predator-fenced place that has a couple of very hard-to-get species elsewhere that are easy here. Pair of Banded Rails wandering along the shore with their 2 black fluffy chicks and a nice group of Brown Teal. Brown Teal are beautiful small ducks that are very susceptible to cats, stoats, etc but thrive in predator-protected areas. On to Waipu Estuary for the critically endangered NZ Fairy Tern- only about 50 exist. We had pretty good views of one on the estuary. On up into the hills for Australasian Little Grebe at Ormiston Road. The pond owner has allowed shrubs to grow up between the road and the pond, so visibility is getting worse. But after a few minutes a pair of the grebes appeared and we all saw them well. Strangely, no NZ Dabchicks were seen, usually present here. Next on the list was a twitch for Sav- the Australian Pelicans that have been hanging around the Wairoa River for about a year, between Dargaville and the Kaipara Harbour. We checked all 5 access points, but no luck. Guess what we’ll be doing on our return trip south tomorrow??? Luckily, I saw 2 at Ruawai on my way north a few days ago, so they are around somewhere. Passed through Dargaville and on to the Holiday Park’s beautiful camping and cabin area near Kaihu. It was truly a wonderful place to be. We went down to the Kaihu Pub, a traditional NZ Pub. It was very quiet though, hardly any locals there, so we had our nice meal in peace! I had grass-fed beef steak- very nice for a change from corn-fed. Might be the last beef I eat though- NZ fish is too good to pass up! After dinner we took off around 8.15 pm to Trounson Forest Reserve for our kiwi search. Very capable young lady Sara was our guide, and it’s clear that Dept of Conservation (DOC) is allowing her to actually look for kiwi, rather than the canned walk that we hadn’t found kiwi on. We usually had to re-do the walk ourselves, often meaning that we didn’t make it home until midnight ot later. However, Sara knew her stuff and found us a cool male kiwi that stood around in the open for 5 mins, very unusual for a kiwi in the bush. Folks were able to get good pics. Sav actually heard the bird walking in the litter just before Sara did! A very happy group returned to the campground around 10.30 pm- earliest I’ve ever gotten back from looking for kiwi! We divvied up breakfast supplies and called it a day.

Nov 14 (Thursday): Very slow start after the kiwi night- did the list for yesterday, then left at 9.30 for a leisurely drive to Warkworth. But first we went up to Waipoua Forest to see the giant Kauri tree Tane Mahuta. Still there! But what was new was a young lady who did a handstand on top of the railing (just like the beam women do in the Olympics) so her friends could get a photo. Quite spectacular! I’m sure she was an ex-gymnast (from Europe it seemed from the language). Next stop was the wonderful Kauri Shop at Donnelly’s, near Kaihu. The group dropped a few bucks there, to say the least. Had lunch at Dargaville then resumed the twitch for Australian Pelican. Our first stop was Tokatoka, where we didn’t see them, but a guy was mowing the lawn there and we asked him if he’d seen the “big white pelicans”. With his great Northland Kiwi accent, he said “Yeah, big white pelicans. Saw them this morning, bro- just down the road where there’s a picnic table, bro”. Sure enough there they were- we counted 7. Just as we counted them, they flew down river out of sight. So- a tick for Sav!! He was pretty excited to be back ahead of his business partner in Wrybill Tours, Brent Stephenson, by two! Next we headed over to Mangawhai, to see what was around, but very little. We were hoping for a Fairy Tern, which we found a little later at Waipu; these are 2 of the only 3 known breeding sites. On to Warkworth, where we landed at the Walton Park Hotel for a two-nighter. I needed to do laundry, but needless to say the ladies got there first. But I’ll catch up- maybe later tonight. Left for dinner at 6.30, but made a quick pass looking for Kookaburra before dinner, but no luck. Had a delicious meal at our favorite Bridge House restaurant- had an entree (big enough!) and dessert (I’m not saying what it was). Did the list and off to bed. Big boat trip tomorrow- 10 hours on the water! Trip list 65; no misses yet.

Nov 15 (Friday) Got up at 6.30 am, ready for 7 am departure for breakfast in Warkworth (bacon, eggs, hash browns), then on to Sandspit for 8 am departure with Brett Rathe, skipper of the great boat “Assassin”. Brett is legendary for many things, but threw out a new one this morning- we assembled for his legally-required Safety Talk, which consisted of “There are bugger all rules. Life jackets up there, and if I fall in, don’t follow me.” As usual, he did an outstanding job chumming, skippering, etc. Weather was beautiful, but not really breezy enough for the smell of the chum to carry very far and attract birds. Went out about 5 miles past the Mokohinau Islands, perhaps 35 miles out in all. We got all the expected species, including 9 NZ Storm-Petrels, considered extinct until re-discovered on a pelagic operated by Wrybill Birding Tours (Sav’s company) in 2003. After 10 great hours on the water, ending with a good look at 2 wekas at the Mansion House on Kawau, we did the 10-minute fresh-up, and back to the Bridge House for dinner again. I had the roast pork belly, tasted better than it sounds, and a couple of Speights Old Dark beers. Good stuff, that. Back to the room for this list update- now on 81, but haven’t got Kookaburra yet. Hopefully we can knock it off first thing in the morning. If not, I suppose we’ll take one Ozzie bird, the pelican, in place of another. Boat across to Tiritiri Matangi at 9.30 am, so should be a fun day and night on the island.

Nov 16 (Saturday): Left the motel in Warkworth and drove to the Gulf Harbor mall for breakfast and to pick up supplies for Tiri. Usually we use a café beside the grocery store, but this time tried a different café. What a mess. The folks took our breakfast orders, gave us each our number, then proceeded to bring out the breakfasts as they were ready and called out the breakfast ie bacon, 2 eggs, etc. No-one remembers exactly what they ordered, so a couple of breakfasts were eaten by the wrong persons and one had to be re-ordered. Anyway, we finally got under way and barely made the ferry, which left at 10 am. Ride over was good, only 30 mins and we were on Tiri. This is the only place on our trip where the overnight is basic- most of us don’t even take a change of clothes, or even shower. We have sleeping bags (with new inners!) and most of us slept in the bunkhouse (guys in one room, gals in another) with our clothes on. A few of us slept outside- beautiful, but a bit damp from the dew. When we arrived we walked up to the bunkhouse on Wattle Track, finding most of the common bush birds plus a couple of good looks at Kokako- the island gem, a large blue-gray, nearly flightless crow-like bird that climbs up trees like a squirrel then glides to the next tree. It has a haunting organ-like song. Wonderful. Got to the bunkhouse and had delicious cheese and bread (NZ bread, NZ cheddar) for lunch. After lunch we still needed Takahe and Spotless Crake, and of course Little Spotted Kiwi, which we will look for after dark. We trudged the 3.5 mile round trip to the crake ponds at the north end of the island, ran into a couple of Takahe, and bingo- a cooperative Spotless Crake showed us his red eye and legs and black plumage in the sunlight- magical. So we (fairly) happily wandered back to the bunkhouse but were cheered by those Chefs Extraordinaires, Saville and Silcock, who conjured up a delicious meal of barbecued lamb or chicken breast, new potatoes, green salad, and some brand of Ozzie red wine. Satisfied and happy, we prepared to go after the kiwi after dark, around 8.30 pm. We used the usual strategy of spreading out along the road near the buildings (no more walking!), and waiting to hear some rustling sounds made by a kiwi as it wanders around feeding. Well, we waited, and waited, until 2 hours later Sav flicked on his light, we rushed over, and there was a kiwi in full view. Great bird for all, except the unfortunate 3 who had tired of the whole exercise and turned in. Went to bed outside in the sleeping bag- beautiful clean air. Couldn’t sleep for a while because my rugby-damaged hips were sore from the walk, but did get some rest. Tiri is a magnificent place- not to be missed.

Nov 17 (Sunday): Clean up day on Tiri. Mostly poked around looking for a few birds some folks had not seen or seen well; most folks wanted a better look at a Fernbird. Walking down the road to the wharf we suddenly saw a loudly-singing Fernbird teed up on a twig giving the best views I (and the group!) have ever had of this usually secretive species. Our water taxi arrived at 11.10 am and hauled us rapidly back to Gulf Harbour, where we tried the inside café this time- almost as bad, but we weren’t in a hurry, although we were pretty tired from Tiri. Off to Miranda, about a 90-min drive. Arrived around 2.15 pm, settled into our nice lodgings at the Holiday Park, with about 2 hours of leisure time before the high tide and shorebird time. I took a dip in the wonderful hot mineral pool, then battled my computer; something weird going on with it- lost the daily blog I had almost finished. Nothing for it but to re-do it (yesterday’s blog). At 4.30 pm we gathered and headed for the Stilt Pond and hide at Miranda, always a very cool spot. Thousands of godwits, knots, oystercatchers, white- fronted terns, and black-billed gulls. First birds we saw, at the Stilt Pond, were Wrybills, and the group got good, close views of the strange rightward curved bills. With the Wrybills was the long-staying Marsh Sandpiper, lifer for most, 5 Curlew and 6 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, and major surprise- a SHORE PLOVER! We were able to read his leg bands, so it will be very interesting to see where he came from. There are only about 250 Shore Plovers in existence, most on the Chatham Islands, but some have been translocated, as this bird undoubtedly was, all of which are banded. On to the shell bank area, where we picked up Ruddy Turnstone and Red-necked Stint, along with the colony of Black-billed Gulls, one of only a couple of breeding colonies in the North Island of this usually South Island breeder. Sav, NZ’s top birder, picked out a couple terns sitting beside the 2000 or so White-fronted Terns on the shellbank, and we looked them over carefully, deciding that they were pretty obviously Common Terns (from Asia). Great spot by Sav. Our remaining target was a breeding-plumaged bright orange Black-tailed Godwit previously reported here. Sav and I assiduously searched for an hour or so through the 5000 or so Bar- tailed Godwits with no success, until I finally spotted it. Great bird to see. Shades of the “wet godwit” escapade where Sav and I were searching for a Hudsonian Godwit on the trip that Lyn was on, until we pretty much gave up. But Lyn looked up from her book, said “what’s that brown one over there? It looks wet.” It was the Hudsonian Godwit. How embarrassing for us so-called experts. Anyway, very happy that we had found such an esoteric group of rare shorebirds, we headed for Kaiaua. We decided to order fish and chips for the group from the National Champ F & C Shop, and while we were waiting, went over to the pub next door and had a round of beers to celebrate. The F & C were ready, we picked up a case of Speights, and headed back to the park to have dinner at a couple of picnic tables. Fabulous! We did the lists for 2 days, doled out breakfast and set an 8 am departure- we’ll all need a good sleep after Tiri!

Nov 18 (Monday): We left the enjoyable Miranda Hot Springs Holiday Park at 8 am and drove over to the Falls Road overlook onto Whangamarino Swamp. There is a high point on the road which allows us to scope the swamp from above, an unusual way to locate Australasian Bittern! We ended up finding two, one of which gave everyone a good look. The group was needing coffee badly, so we stopped at Kopu and solved that problem, getting back onto the road to Whitianga pretty quickly. Over to Whitianga, with a stop at Tairua to look for Reef Heron, but no luck there or after we arrived at Whitianga around 12.15 pm. Quick check in to motel, grabbed some tearoom lunch, and onto the boat at 1pm for a boat trip for Pycroft’s Petrel. The strategy is to go out to about 120-150 meters depth, chum for a while, look at the many Cook’s Petrels going north past us, hopefully picking out a Pycroft’s or two, then going back in towards Red Mercury Island where Pycroft’s breed, and then waiting as they return in the late afternoon. A higher percentage of the petrels passing by here are Pycroft’s. This we believe is a good way to see Pycroft’s, very difficult to separate from Cook’s Petrel at sea. The identification requires some experience and so is hard to show a group how this is done, mostly ending up with “that’s one there, I think”. Anyway, we usually end up with 2-3 birds that we think meet the criteria for Pycroft’s, after perusing a hundred or more Cook’s/Pycroft’s types. New for our trip were the only albatross on the boat trip, a White-capped, the Pycroft’s, 4 or so Grey-faced Petrels,a briefly-seen Sooty Shearwater, Aust. Bittern, a Dunnock at the overlook on the way to Whitianga, and a nice bonus: the Reef Heron that flew over the boat as we neared the harbor on our return around 7.15 pm. We disembarked and left for our motel for the 10-minute spruce up and a nice dinner at Dino’s Italian Restaurant. Did the list, now at 109. At this stage we’re in the hunt, but it will be tough going. Only miss so far is Kookaburra, but we replaced that with Aust Pelican.

Nov 19 (Tuesday): Plan today was to drive from Whitianga the 3.5 hrs or so to Pureora, in the center of the North Island, where the bush birds and the ancient forest with massive 2000-year-old trees are a sight worth seeing. We arrived at Whakamaru Dam around noon, quickly picked up Eurasian Coot for the trip list, grabbed lunch at the Dam Café (great name), and headed up to Pureora. Toughest bird here, and main target, is Long-tailed Cuckoo, probably easier here than anywhere else. Just as we arrived, Sav heard one calling and we piled out. Sav found the bird in a pine (they are very difficult to find due to their cryptic coloration and streaks and habit of perching lengthwise on a branch). Sav got the scope on the bird, but it flew. After checking the campground, where our cooler fell out of the back of the van, breaking 7 of our beer bottles, leaving only 3 intact and 2 “injured”, a potentially serious happening, we continued to the canopy tower area where we had great looks at a Kaka and tomtit, and then resumed the search for LT Cuckoo. We had one calling at the end of Plains Road, but couldn’t find it in the trees. Sometimes they fly out to check us out, but not this bird. After a quick look at old logs buried by the Taupo volcanic eruption 2000 years ago, which flattened the forest and tells us that the current forest is 2000 years old, we went back to the spot where we first heard the cuckoo. Sav played the tape and the bird immediately flew out of the trees, calling vigorously, and hovered over us, giving us all the best look you could imagine. Amazing. It started to rain pretty hard, so, our job done at Pureora, we drove to Taupo to spend the night. We ate at the very good Jolly Roger (I had lamb shanks, delicious, and a nice Fuller’s beer), did the list, and doled out breakfast (bagels, cream cheese, yoghurt, orange juice) for a 7.30 am start tomorrow. With the 7 new trip birds today, we are at 116, pretty respectable and within reach of a record. Today’s rain was the first we’d had; the weather has been amazingly pleasant. We’ll see what tomorrow brings!

Nov 20 (Weds): We started the day in Taupo by going to a mountain bike course adjacent to the famous Wairakei Golf Course just north of Taupo. Why a mountain bike course, you ask? Birders go to where the birds are, in this case the iconic NZ Falcon, a bush falcon that has adapted to flying through forests, so has broader, rounder wings for more maneuverability (wow, spell checker left that alone). We wandered around the various trails and finally up popped the agitated pair, giving us great views. Back to the motel to pick up our stuff, and we drove the 45 mins or so to the south end of Lake Taupo and searched a couple of places along the Tongariro River, one virtually in the town of Turangi, where we found a single Blue Duck, and then to the Red Hut Pool area where we found a pair. The male was remarkably aggressive, chasing a male Mallard-Black Duck type around in large flight circles until the Mallard type disappeared. Strangely, he didn’t bother a hen Mallard type with 3 ducklings poking around in his territory. So we had great looks at 3 Blue Ducks and some insight into their daily life! Most Blue Ducks merely sit on a rock while we get excited. Since we saw the Blue Duck so quickly, we decided to try for the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos near Pohangina, in the Totara Reserve. Strangely, we didn’t hear or see any of these normally obvious birds. We did tape out 2-3 very excited Shining Cuckoos, which put on a show for us, as did an Eastern Rosella that sat out in the open for 15 minutes! There were also 2 falcons that flew over- interesting at this location. Back to Palmerston North with a couple of free hours before we go to Sav and Jodie’s for dinner! Dinner was awesome- roast lamb, new potatoes, salad, giant strawberries, lemon cake, beer and wine. Fun time- a highlight of our trips. Huge thank you to Sav and Jodie for putting this on. Back to the motel, doled out breakfast, and on to bed. Another great day.

Nov 21 (Thursday): Hit the road at 8 am for a long day, ending on the South Island! We took a quick look at Hokowhitu Lagoon in Palmerston North, a sure site for Mute Swan, but NO- first time ever we’ve missed this bird here. We might pick it up later near Christchurch, though. Off to the excellent Manawatu Estuary, where we hope for a NZ tick, the White-eyed Duck, a straggler from Australia that has been here a while, along with golden-plovers and unusual terns. First stop the “White-eyed Duck pond”, and there he was, too easy! Tide at the estuary was out, but rising quickly, so most birds were getting into roosting mode and moving closer to the roost site near us. Found a tern that we carefully identified as a Common, followed by a Little Tern. Soon the plovers showed up, 3 Pacifics and the putative American. Doing well! We moved on to Levin and Lake Horowhenua, where there are very cool-looking Feral Chickens that even look quite a bit like their Red Jungle-Fowl ancestors. Also a target here is Little Egret; one has been hanging around. After quite a bit of scoping, Paul finally found the egret moving in and out of rushes about a half mile away. The bird’s actions were typical of Little Egret, but we wanted a better look, so drove down Hokio Beach Rd to access the south end of the lake. Walked up onto the marae and there was the Little Egret! Good views had by all. Only one target remained- Black-fronted Dotterel at the Otaki Sewage Ponds. Arrived there, scoped for a while, but no luck, until Sav suddenly said- there it is- about 20 yards away! It had been sitting quietly in some brownish growth and was very hard to see. Much relieved, we loaded up and headed for the ferry terminal at Wellington. The ferry was about an hour late, and we sat around on the nearby rocks enjoying the sun, while managing a Spotted Shag (new for the trip), and several Fluttering Shearwaters out in the harbor along with a giant-petrel. Trip over to the South Island was very calm, with few seabirds, other than hundreds of Fairy Prions which came close to the ferry for good looks. Did see Westland Petrel, new for the trip, though. Uneventful trip down to Picton and docked at 7.30 pm. Over to the motel and our dinner reservation for 8 pm at the Old Barn. Delicious dinner- I had roast pork, roasted and steamed veggies. Did the list, doled out breakfast, and called it a day. Did collect 10 new birds, for a total of 127. Still on target for a record!

Nov 22 (Friday): Ready to roll at 8.15 am- down to the dock for our cruise up Queen Charlotte Sound to look for King Shag and some endemic South Island bush birds that are protected on a couple of predator-free islands, Blumine and Motuara. We found King Shag easily at a small rock roost and headed for Blumine, where Orange-fronted Parakeets have been re-introduced. These are very rare on the mainland- perhaps 200 survive. We arrived on Blumine, where the skipper drives the boat far enough up onto a sandy beach to put down a ladder- no wet feet! The parakeets have been hanging around the landing area, so we had high hopes. Unfortunately, there was no sign of them for about an hour until two shot past us at a high rate of speed about head high. I saw that they were a bright emerald green, which is a good way to identify them vs Yellow-fronted Parakeet, which is more yellow-green (and lives on Motuara Island, only about 2 miles away!) Sav and Candy managed a quick look later and actually saw the orange band across the forehead. A highlight for me was to spot a single Yellowhead, a rare species just recently released on Blumine. A couple of others in the group saw it too. Because it took so long to try to see the parakeets well, we didn’t go to Motuara, but expect to see its specialty, South Island Saddleback, on Ulva Island. Back to Picton after a look for Hector’s Dolphins without luck, grabbed lunch, and on to the the Black Kite spot near Renwick. This single bird has been there for 18 years- must be getting lonely after being blown over from Oz. Luckily we soon spotted it and it flew by us at a friendly distance, giving us all great looks at likely the only Black Kite in NZ. We took off down the beautiful coast towards Kaikoura, with a brief stop along the road by Grassmere Salt Ponds, where we picked up a Double-banded Plover. Next stop was at the large NZ Fur Seal colony at Ohau Point. Quite a bit of colony life going on- young pups, a large bull doing the rounds of his harem, etc. Quite interesting. Arrived in Kaikoura and had an hour or two at our motel before checking for Cirl Bunting above Kaikoura on the peninsula. Saw a male on the telephone wires, but before the group could get off the van he flew. We had a dinner reservation so had to leave, planning to check the spot tomorrow. Dinner was wonderful- Thai cuisine. I had prawns and cashews- anything with cashews I like, plus a Speights Old Dark beer. Doesn’t get much better than that. After dinner, drove along Postman’s Rd and back and just as the light was fading, Terry spotted our target, a Little Owl on a fence post. It gave us good looks, for a nice addition to our list. Just for that, Terry bought the evening’s beers! List now at 134 right on target.

Nov 23 (Saturday): This was the morning of the Kaikoura pelagic, usually an amazing spectacle of albatrosses right beside the boat. We were skippered by Gary (Gaz) Melville, who is outstanding- really knows where to look for the birds. Went out a short distance and parked by a fishing boat that had a few birds, including our first Wandering Albies and Westland Petrels, but not much else. We then headed out a mile or so to another fishing boat that had lots of birds around it. We picked up the 4 big albies, NZ Wandering, a magnificent Snowy, and the two Royals. Also lots of Salvin’s and a couple of White-capped. Moved out further to another fishing boat and hung around out there in deep water, finally picking up a Black- browed adult (dark eyes etc), and big surprise, a Buller’s Albatross! The Buller’s alby acted just like they do at the Chathams- swam beside the boat looking up at us like a dog begging. Very cool birds. Kaikoura lived up to its reputation as the alby capital of pelagic birding. Also had a good number of White-chinned Petrels out in the deep water. Got back to town and re-checked the Cirl Bunting spot but no luck. Ate lunch at the fabulous fresh seafood grill on the way to the point of the peninsula. I had a delicious whitebait fritter; some of the group had paua (abalone) fritters- delicious also. The group then took a couple hours break for shopping etc. At 4.30 pm we took off for a look at Kowhai Bush at the end of Schoolhouse Road and in minutes had attracted a couple of Brown Creepers (Pipipi), an endemic small bush bird restricted to the South Island. Off then for another shot at Cirl Bunting at the spot we had the male the day before and after an hour or so we were about to leave when Sav spotted a pair feeding on some grass- most all of us got good looks at these elusive birds. Dinner was at Tutis, a nice restaurant operated by an Indonesian family. I followed up on the prawn theme by having prawns in a delicious sauce with rice. Very tasty. Back to the hotel, did the list, and doled out breakfast. List now at 143, still on target to beat the record by one.

Nov 24 (Sunday): This was a long driving day- some 560 km (345 miles) from Kaikoura down to near Christchurch, across to Hokitika, and down to Franz Joseph Glacier (yes, that’s the name of the town as well as the nearby glacier). Sav’s expert driving got us there in great time, with several productive stops. We drove first to St Anne’s Lagoon and picked up a couple of the resident Cape Barren Geese (adult and youngster), and then to the Ashley River Estuary, where Brent’s Wrybill Tours group a couple of days ahead of us had found two rare shorebirds, a Whimbrel and a Far Eastern Curlew. After figuring out how to access the estuary we were disappointed by the rising tide and some light fog that made viewing difficult. We finally decided to bag it, even though these two birds would have put us up over Brent’s group by 3 species. As Sav says, it’s just a number! Yeah, right. Anyway, we headed inland and over the spectacular Porter’s Pass road; the pass, although tussock- and matagouri-covered, is higher than Arthur’s Pass. We arrived at Arthur’s Pass Village and immediately were treated to the Kea spectacle. Several were at the restaurant where crowds of tourists were photographing them at point-blank range. One swooped in and picked up one lady’s entire hot pie. The bird soon dropped it near our parked van, under which the birds hid, darting out to grab a piece of the now-forlorn pie and eating it under the van. Kea are indeed hilarious to watch, but they also count as a tick on our trip list. After finishing our own lunch, we headed across the pass, pausing to admire the amazing engineering feat of the Otira Viaduct. On down to Kumara Junction, where we turned south, heading for Hokitika and a stop at the greenstone (NZ jade) store. Of course we had to stop first at the Hokitika sewage ponds just north of town; no rarities, but a nice variety of waterbirds, including the long-staying Cape Barren Goose (an escapee) and a Weka. After leaving Hokitika, we hammered down to Franz Joseph, arriving around 5.15, allowing us a bit of free time before our 6 pm dinner reservation, after which we were to head out looking for kiwi. Dinner was nice- I had spare ribs. After dinner we headed back towards Okarito and the parking lot where we met Ian Cooper, the Okarito Kiwi (aka Rowi) expert. Ian is indeed a magician. He lines us up in a likely spot on a well-formed track in a kiwi territory, then uses telemetry to give him an idea which direction a kiwi is travelling and where it will pop out onto the track. He is uncanny. Tonight though, the bird (Beaumont, the female of a nesting pair) headed straight north away from us so we hustled back down the track and onto a side track that is graveled. Kiwi hear very well, and I thought we were doomed to failure with 11 of us walking quickly and noisily along the gravel track following Ian. At one point he whispered to me “I think we’ve lost her, Ross”. However, magician that he is, he suddenly stopped, pointed his light at a spot, and there was the kiwi in full view, seen by all of the group but one. It popped out onto the track, paused, and took off running up the track and around a corner. While we were rushing along the track before seeing the kiwi there was thud behind me, and later I found out that is was L---, who had toppled off into the vegetation (unhurt, thank goodness). The happy group returned to the parking lot and thanked Ian profusely. We were back at our motel around 10.30 pm, likely a record for finding an Okarito Kiwi! We’ll do the list tomorrow night (2 days’ worth), but tally is 152- which is a good tally for a 21-day trip. I figure we still have 17 likely possibilities, for 169, a new record!

Nov 25 (Monday): This was basically a travel day from Franz Josef Glacier to Wanaka, which worked out well as it rained the entire drive down the West Coast. Still we were able to see the Fox Glacier, at least what is left of it, from a little-used but signed road. The upper part looks great, but the bottom has pretty much melted away. We made the usual stops at Hunt’s Beach and Knight’s Point, with great scenery at both, including a well-populated seal colony in the distance at the latter. We stopped to enjoy the scenery at Gates of Haast, and ran into a scary scene a little further up the hill. There was a sign back at Fox Glacier that the highway through to Wanaka would be closed at 6 pm, and we could now see why. The section of road in question traverses an essentially vertical cliff, and a couple weeks ago there had been a major landslide, taking most of the road with it. Those amazing road guys had repaired it enough to open one lane, and were allowing one vehicle by the bad spot at a time, making sure they hurried. When we went through we stopped to look back and see what things looked like. There was a huge boulder perched precariously above the road that actually had a lookout guy in a tent perched in the trees above it- the road crew was apparently very worried that the boulder might come down. By its size, it will take the road out again when it decides to fall. It looks to us as though they’ll have to blast it out, which would mean closing the road entirely. Closing the road would be a major problem, as the next road across the mountains is about 200 miles to the north! Lots of unaware or inattentive tourists would have to turn around, essentially making a 400-mile detour! At the top of the Haast Pass we looked in the beautiful beech forest for Yellowhead, but it was drizzling and rather cold, so the birds were not at all active. We cut our losses and headed to Makarora for lunch, arriving around 2 pm, to find all the hot pies were gone! We made do however and carried on down to Wanaka, arriving there at a very respectable time that let us spend a couple hours relaxing before dinner. Went down to Ashraf’s Indian Restaurant, a block from our motel. Ashraf and his wife operate the business themselves, specializing in Kashmiri cooking, and receive rave reviews about the food, even from Kashmiris! I had Chicken Tikka Masala, delicious. The food has been very good on this trip. Updated the list and gave out breakfasts. Planning on a 7 am start for the drive down to Te Anau and our first attempt at NZ Rock Wren, usually the toughest bird on the trip. The list is at 153, with 17 very likely species left, so the record is in jeopardy!

Nov 26 (Tuesday): This being a punctual group, we headed out on time at 7 am, aiming for Te Anau with enough time to give us a good first look for the iconic NZ Rock Wren. Drove up to Cardrona for photo ops at the famous old hotel, then up to the overlook at the Crown Range peak. We could see Queenstown in the distance- beautiful view from the lookout, which at 1076 meters is the highest point on a paved road in NZ. We safely negotiated the hairpins on the descent into Frankton, where we turned south, thankfully avoiding Queenstown itself. The drive to Te Anau was uneventful, and we arrived around noon. We picked up lunch to go and zipped up the Milford Sound road, but only to Homer Tunnel, just above the tree line, and the only place in NZ where one can drive to see NZ Rock Wren, which inhabits boulder fields on mountain scree slopes. Because the area where they live was roped off due to rock fall concerns, we stood at the barrier and waited, watching the rocks for sign of movement. After about an hour, one popped up and performed in style for us, bouncing and bobbing on the tops of the rocks. It finally disappeared after about 5 minutes- a great look for all! We headed back down the road towards Te Anau and stopped along the Hollyford River and bingo- two Blue Ducks were sleeping on the rocks, blending in almost perfectly- their backs are exactly the same color as the rocks. Rather unusual to see Blue Duck on both North and South Islands. We saw a couple of Tomtits, showing their yellowish South Island breasts (North Island birds are just black and white), and tried unsuccessfully at Lake Gunn (Cascades) Trail and Kiosk Creek for Yellowhead. The beautiful green mossy beech forest was rather quiet, with very little bird activity. Back to Te Anau around 5.30 pm. Dinner was at the Ming Restaurant, where the Chinese food (a good variety of different dishes) is served on a turntable that we turn to get the food we want. Very good- must have been, as there were a lot of (presumed) Chinese folks there. Gave out breakfast, did the list. With only one new addition, but a key one, the NZ Rock Wren, list is now 154.

Nov 27 (Weds): Since we saw Rock Wren yesterday, today becomes mostly a sightseeing day, with the cruise out to the mouth of Milford Sound (actually a fjord, as it was carved out by a glacier). We left the motel at 8 and stopped to get lunch to eat later. Headed out for the 2-hour drive to Milford Sound, with first stop a good view of the pretty Black-fronted Terns hawking over a pasture. Next was a short and unsuccessful look at Knob’s Flat for bush birds- very quiet. We decided Cascade Creek (Lake Gunn Nature Trail) would be best. Spent some time here looking for Yellowhead, and heard at least one singing for some time, but could not see it. Just a couple of tantalizing quick flights, after which the bird seemingly disappeared. Frustrating, but we should see them well on Ulva Island tomorrow afternoon. Did get great looks at a Kaka and South Island Robins. Headed on up the Eglinton Valley, crossed the Divide into the Hollyford Valley and ever upward to Homer Tunnel, site of the Rock Wren. We didn’t stop though, just waved. On down the hill to Milford Sound, and onto the boat for a Nature Cruise. It was good, especially because the skipper took some time looking for Fiordland Crested Penguin, a new trip bird. We saw only one, and that very briefly, on rocks inside the sound. However the sea was calm, so we went out quite a way into the ocean and had great looks at 2 bunches of Fiordland Crested Penguins (8 and 4) loafing on the surface. Very good views had by all. Cruise ended around 4 pm, and we motored back to Te Anau, observing some bewildering driving by a few obviously foreign tourists. One guy passed on a double yellow line, took off like a rocket, then as he got to town, stopped in the middle of the highway. Oh well. So a quiet day birdwise, but world-class scenery in perfect sunny weather. Adding the penguin brings our list to 155, still with 15 reasonable possibilities, and a couple of good finds by Brent on his group’s Stewart Island pelagic today heightened our anticipation!

Nov 28 (Thursday): Thanksgiving Day! Well, actually tomorrow in the US. We didn’t celebrate or do anything different. Today we drove from Te Anau to Bluff to catch the ferry to Stewart Island at 11 am. We had time with a 7 am start to stop at Te Wae Wae Bay, where the resident Hector’s Dolphins (4-5 of them) showed well- you only get to see the paddle-shaped dorsal fin usually. Very cool little things, but seriously endangered. Quick stop at Wakapatu Beach in hopes of Arctic Tern yielded almost no terns at all, but there was a flock of Feral Geese swimming around on the salt water. Arrived at the Bluff ferry terminal around 10.30 am, sorted our luggage for the 2-night stay on Stewart Island and left the rest in the van, parked in a secure lot near the terminal. We put our bags in aluminum bins that the crew loads onto the back of the ferry, a large wide catamaran that really moves. Foveaux Strait, normally fairly rough, was flat calm, really unusual. Saw a few good things going over though: Brown Skua, Yellow-eyed Penguin (the ferry actually pulled over close to an island and I managed to spot one at the back of the beach), and Stewart Shag. Ferry arrived in Oban around 12.15 pm, we grabbed our boxed lunches, ate them on picnic tables at our motel, then walked or rode over to Glory Bay to catch a water taxi for the 5-minute ride to Ulva Island, another predator-free island. Ulva is a refuge for endemic South Island birds, just as Tiritiri is for the North Island. Our main goal was South Island Saddleback, and luckily a family was hanging around close to the wharf. We also wanted better looks at Yellowhead which performed very well, giving the group great looks at these beautiful birds. Good looks at Yellow-fronted and Red-crowned Parakeets as well as Brown Creeper were had by those needing them. The water taxi came back to get us at 4.15 pm and we rested up until dinner at 6.30 pm at the famous South Sea Hotel. I had battered blue cod and chips (aka high class fish and chips)- blue cod here on Stewart Island is the best in the world. A few beers, and a short nap, and on to the Kiwi Trip. Philip Smith has done this since 1989 and rarely fails to find a kiwi, usually on the beach where they eat sandhoppers and are easy to see. However they’ve been a bit tough lately, and it took some walking up and down the beach, such that a few of our group tired walking in the soft sand and decided to return to the boat with Sav. Murphy’s Law kicked in for them unfortunately, and our next pass down the beach after they left yielded a great close look at a big young male. We watched him from about 30 ft for 5 minutes as he fed on sandhoppers, then he realized we were there and trotted off into the bush. The group also was lucky to see a Mottled Petrel spotted by our kiwi guide and held in his spotlight. Good to get this one as they can be tough to get on pelagics. I missed the Mottled, but heard one later as it flew over Oban on our return to the hotel. All in all a great day; looking forward to the all-day pelagic tomorrow and hopefully a NZ tick for me, Antarctic Tern! List now at 161, still projecting a new record of 170!

Nov 29 (Fri): Today was the much-anticipated Stewart Island pelagic, an all-day adventure mainly centered around Wreck Reef, or as I prefer, Big Reef, which is off the easternmost point of Stewart Island. The reef causes mixing and upwelling, bringing nutrients to the surface and attracting seabirds. It’s a great area for a large number of birds, given enough wind to allow the smell of our chum to travel. Unfortunately today was mostly very calm, and without wind, seabirds don’t fly. So we plugged away, went out about 8 miles past Big Reef, tooled around looking for birds, and finally returned to Big Reef for a final chumming session. Although the day seemed to go slowly, we had some exciting parts, and put together a good list, including great looks at both Grey-backed Storm-Petrel and Mottled Petrel, two sought after specialties off Stewart Island. We arrived back at Oban around 5.30 pm, had dinner at 6.30 pm, and retired. Dinner at the South Sea Hotel was good- lobster and blue cod patties, nice salad. However there was a table of teenage girls and the racket was almost intolerable. When they finally departed it was eerily quiet, spooky even. Because we missed Broad-billed Prion and Campbell Albatross, it’s unlikely we’ll beat the record of 168, but could well tie it. If we get lucky and have one of the 2 seabirds we missed today on the ferry ride back to Bluff in the morning, we’ll be in good shape. As I write this it’s blustery and rainy in Oban, so the ferry ride could be quite exciting!

Nov 30 (Saturday): After breakfast at 7 am, got packed up for the ferry ride back to Bluff on the mainland. Checked with my binoculars and the sea looked pretty nasty! Anyway, we took off with the hammer down as usual on these ferries. The boat is a large, low-slung, wide catamaran, maybe 60 ft long, 40 ft wide. In the center of Foveaux Strait the swells were around 10-15 ft, so an exhilarating ride. Best thing about Foveaux Strait is the swells are almost always roughly parallel to our direction of travel (north or south) and so we roll rather than bounce, which is by far more pleasant. The boat maintains top speed all the way, around 20 knots, so quite a bit of fun. Didn’t add any new birds on the crossing (we were trying hard for Broad-billed Prion), but made it safely to Bluff. Main goal today was to drive to Oamaru (about 250 miles) and check a couple of spots for closer looks at Yellow-eyed Penguin, considered the world’s rarest penguin in terms of numbers. We had seen a couple on Bench Island near Stewart Island, but rather distantly. We stopped first at Shag Point, about 30 miles north of Dunedin , where the wind was so fierce we could hardly stand up. Nice colony of Stewart Island Shags, but no penguins in sight. We then headed for Bushy Beach near Oamaru, where there is a nice viewing site high above the beach. One bird was visible for a while when we arrived, but it soon went into the bush to climb up to its nest. After a while another surfed in and provided great scope views for a few minutes. Happy with the looks, but feeling pretty cold (high temp was around 50 with stiff wind blowing) we headed into Oamaru. I was amazed by the incredible number of beautiful limestone buildings in the downtown area- the stone is quarried nearby and earlier in its history Oamaru must have been a very wealthy town. Last time I was in Oamaru I was 8, but don’t remember these remarkable buildings (what 8-year old would?) Had dinner at a nice restaurant, Capo; I had NZ roast dinner and a huge pile of veggies. Great meal. Caught up the last 4 days of our list. No new birds today, so list is at 163. We will see how tomorrow goes, but likely will end up on 167, one short of the record for a 21-day trip.

Dec 1 (Sunday): Just found out that Iowa beat Nebraska on Friday (go cousin Nate Meier!) and Penn State beat Wisconsin on Saturday!! And Alabama lost by a crazy finish. Go Missouri, too! Who says Missouri can’t play in the SEC? Enough football though. Started out from Oamaru for the short 80-mile drive to Omarama in the Mackenzie Basin, a high flatland at elevation around 4500 feet in the central South Island. We dropped our stuff at our motel and proceeded on a big loop north to look for Black Stilt, Chukar, and Baillon’s (Marsh) Crake. First stop was Lake Poaka near Twizel, a fairly regular spot for Black Stilt, but no luck. On then to Glentanner, where the species is generally reliable, but when we arrived the water level was up and we only noticed a single Pied Stilt. Soon however, sharp-eyed Terry saw two immatures in some sedgy vegetation near us. Soon, a few more arrived and we were treated to good looks at 6 immature Black Stilts. They were all banded, the best field mark for Black Stilt (!), as all birds in the wild have been released at some point in the last 20 years or so. DOC collects all eggs laid in the wild by the 20 or so breeding pairs remaining and rear them past juvenile stage and then release them. However, we decided these youngsters weren’t enough and that we needed to see an all black adult Black Stilt. We drove up to Lake McGregor and quickly found a beautiful black adult feeding along the edge of the lake. We ate our lunch there in warm sunshine while the bird worked its way out of sight. A necessary stop is adjacent Mt John, where the introduced game bird Chukar is established. We soon found one which flew over and joined two more, so we all got good looks at these birds. Probably the biggest challenge of our 3 targets today is Baillon’s Crake, a widespread but very elusive eastern hemisphere rail, reputedly easiest found in its entire range at just the spot we were heading for, the Ruataniwha Wetland on the Ohau River delta. The strategy, which hasn’t failed in all of my previous trips here, is to spread out along the edge of the wetland and watch for one to come wandering along or at least to respond to our tape of its calls. Well, turns out this would be the first time I didn’t see one, but fortuitously Sav and Candy were standing together and heard one call briefly. The rest of us missed it, but we can count it for our trip if at least 2 people see it or hear it. Close call. We drove back to Omarama, and seeing it was our last night as a group, had some delicious smoked salmon on crackers (and a beer, of course) and talked about the trip. We then went to dinner at a very nice winery nearby, Ladybird Hill. I had blue cod yet again, still delicious (and a beer, of course). List now at 166, tied with Brent’s trip total, but we have that secret weapon in hand, Mute Swan! Unfortunately the record of 168 seems safe.

Dec 2 (Monday): Today we had a rather easy drive from Omarama to Christchurch, where Mary Jo and Lois were scheduled to fly out at 4.30 pm and Eric and Jackie, Terry, and Sandy were going at 7.30 pm. We only had one birding stop to make, Cooper’s Lagoon, south of Christchurch on the coast, to pick up Mute Swan. Easy- there were at least 13 of them floating around, all big and white. From there we drove into Christchurch to the airport, and had our last meal together, lunch at the nice Antarctic Center. Sav drove us all back to the Airport Lodge Motel where Doug and I and Candy and Paul are staying. We said our goodbyes, and off they went to the airport again. A great trip and a fun group. Final tally 167, one better than Brent’s trip but one short of tying the record. Sandy and Paul leave at 6.30 am tomorrow for Australia (alarm at 3.45 am!) and then come back to NZ for a trip to the subantarctic islands (I’m jealous, and they’re tough). Doug and I head out to the Chatham Islands with 2 others for 5 nights- we have a plan, but it’s a tentative one, as all plans are on the Chathams. We hope to be able to land on a small island and look for Chatham Snipe- a new adventure for our Chathams trips (this will be my fifth). We’ll also try for the other 12 or so species found only on the Chathams or that only breed there. We fly out of Christchurch at 1 pm on Dec 3 for the 2-hour flight in the old but trusty Convair.

Dec 3 (Tuesday): Leisurely start to the day- had toast for breakfast in our room, then shuttled to the airport at 10 am to check in for our 1 pm flight to the Chats. All went smoothly until at 1 pm we realized we were now on Chathams time- plane didn’t leave until almost 2 pm. Flight over was only 1 hr 45 mins and as smooth as it could be other than a little bouncing as we descended through clouds just before landing. Always interesting arriving over the huge lagoon covered with thousands of Black Swans. Val Croon was there to collect us and take us to Hotel Chatham, where we four were allocated our tiny but comfortable single rooms each. Toilets and showers down the hall. We discussed our plans with Val- we will do main boat trip Thursday in Val’s boat. We will attempt Mangere, Rabbit Island, Pitt, Southeast, and Pyramid last until near dark. We’ll see how we do on this day then possibly do a half day for what we missed. Before dinner we walked over to the shag colony just a bit south of Waitangi, and saw both Chatham and Pitt shags, both endemic to the Chathams. Tomorrow we’ll do the main Chatham land birding; ordered box lunches so we should be good to go. Dinner was --- ----- blue cod! Served in a tasty sauce with small prawns, potatoes, and salad. And a Tui beer. A good start..

Dec 4 (Weds): Left after breakfast for a long driving day- birding and tourism. Took our delicious boxed lunch and first we went south to Awatotara for the bush birds- soon had a Chatham Gerygone that responded well to my pishing and sat up for us, then a few Chatham Pigeons (Parea). A family of Weka (the “Buff Weka”, now extinct on the mainland, but successfully introduced to Chatham, where they are everywhere) entertained us for a while. Had a good study of the common endemic Chatham Pipit, then went back north and all the way to Waitangi West beach at the northwest corner of Chatham Island and walked along the beach only about 400 yards before we found 2 pairs of the endemic Chatham Oystercatcher. Beautiful beach- we enjoyed the sun and the sea for a while and then headed on the long trek to the northeast corner via the north side of the huge central lagoon. We checked all the likely shorebird spots, but no sign of any shorebirds. But the huge numbers of Black Swans on the lagoon were pretty obvious. Turned off the main road to go south to Hapupu, site of the ancient Moriori dendroglyphs- tree carvings. They are intriguing to see, and to see that the kopi (karaka) forest is regenerating well after fencing it to keep sheep out. We returned to the “highway” and took a quick spin through Kaingaroa, the northeasternmost settlement on the island. It is a fishing village perhaps with 100 residents. We found some Pitt Shags on the rocks at the west end of “town” and a couple of Salvin’s Albies in the harbor. Then it was the bone-rattling ride on the gravel roads back to Waitangi. Chatham is a big island; we probably drove more than 100 miles in all. Finally back to our rooms with the usual high-class dinner to come! I had roast pork with kumara (NZ sweet potato) mash, a small ice cream sundae, and a couple of Tui beers. Wonderful! Tomorrow is the big day on the boat- prob a 15-hour extravaganza.

Dec 5 (Thursday): Our big day motoring around the islands. Val’s boat, very fast and stable- good for getting around and seeing things, was parked at Owenga. We drove over and got aboard NZ style- we climb onto the boat while it’s still on the trailer and they back the boat into the water. I like the system- no slippery dock steps and doesn’t matter where the tide is. Skipper was a young guy Matt McKenzie who turned out to be a good skipper- very cooperative, even though we were out for 14 hours or so and it was his birthday! Luckily we got back before the pub closed! He and his deckie, Jake, kept us in good shape for chum by catching Blue Cod easily and cutting them up. We started by zipping down to Rabbit Island at the northwest tip of Pitt Island where we hoped to land and look in the small forest there for Chatham Snipe. We circled the small island and could have got ashore (with some difficulty and some cohones), but couldn’t see a way up the cliffs to the top. So we bagged that idea, although the forest looks good- not just scrub, but a canopy that would seem to provide good snipe habitat. Oh well- on to Mangere where we park off Black Robin Bush and stare at the undergrowth hoping for a robin to appear. I’ve seen one there once before, and this time got lucky again- I had a good look at one as it skipped across between two bushes at the southernmost viewing spot. Interestingly, Doug and Detlef had brief glimpses also just a few yards to the north, so apparently a territory there, with the same bird accounting for the two sightings. We also had good looks at Forbes’s Parakeets, Chatham Tomtit, and Chatham Gerygone from the boat. An eye- testing 4 hours, but as good a look as can be expected. We then motored (quickly- the boat is very fast!) around to Southeast and no sooner did we arrive, but there were a couple of Shore Plovers. In all we saw about 12 as we circled the island, all on the east and south (more or less). The ones I looked at closely were unbanded. We tried for Black Robin at a couple of overhanging bush sites, but no luck. Next we headed south to Pyramid where we planned to stay until dark with the idea of doing some chumming in a couple of spots south of Pyramid and waiting to see Fulmar Prions returning to the Pyramid. We arrived earlier than I thought we would, with no landing on Rabbit and a fast boat, so had a very relaxing few hours poking around. As usual, we saw no Chatham Albies until near enough to Pyramid to see them circling around that amazing rock. Hundreds of them in the air and all over the rock- an amazing sight! We could see that the Chat Albies were streaming up from the south in a narrow corridor, with a couple of large rafts of birds apparently waiting to go ashore, so we steamed slowly south down “albie corridor” to see if anything else was around, planning to chum whenever something different appeared. We stopped about 3 km south of Pyramid and chummed for a while- Three N. Royals, and a bit surprisingly a nice rather old Southern Royal (extensive white inner forewings, no black in tail), several Buller’s Albies, lots of Sooty Shearwaters, only one stopping behind the boat, Cape Petrels, but no White-chinned or storm-petrels. Rather bland, which has been my experience chumming south of Pyramid in the past. However we moved back to the Pyramid and chummed again, when suddenly appeared a Yellow-nosed Albie, certainly one of the pair that nests on Pyramid. First thought as it approached a couple hundred yards away was Black-browed/Campbell, with the rounded white head, but we soon realized that the bill was different. The bird was in high plumage with bright yellow upper bill turning bright red at the tip. We decided that the reason we could have seen one bird of only two in the area was the species’apparently strong attraction to boats. It sat around for several minutes, allowing Detlef to get good pics, then flew off with a Blue Cod head in its bill. As it got later, the action heated up with fly-bys. We saw a couple of Pterodromas, one of which I saw really well, including the underside. It had no dark shading on the head, and immaculate white underparts including the underwing. I believe it was a Cook’s, but there are no prior records from the Chats. The only expected cookilaria types here are Black-winged and Chatham, both of which should show obvious blackish in the underwings, and possibly Mottled, which, with the look I had, is easily ruled out. Another flew by that Detlef saw best and he believed it to be a Cook's Petrel also; a third was best seen by Ian and also identified as a Cook's. After a while we saw a couple of prions that flew by lazily in the manner of Fairies, but we wondered why we hadn’t seen more prions. Then, around 8 pm, suddenly there were good numbers of prions around us, flying around more like Pterodromas than Fairy Prions. The jizz was notably different to Fairy Prions in flight that we see in the Hauraki Gulf for example. Wind conditions were low ie not much wind at all, but these prions seemed a bit “lankier”, with more pointed wings and longer tail than my impression of Fairy Prions. Later, Detlef’s photos showed gray shading on the abdomen, a good point in favor of Fulmar Prion. Given our location, time of day, and flight jizz, we agreed that these were beyond reasonable doubt Fulmar Prions. We were still hoping for Magenta Petrel, but no luck there. As it was getting harder to see we decided to head north and back to Owenga. After about 30 minutes we realized we were surrounded by storm-petrels, so we stopped the boat (cutting into Matt’s birthday celebration time, but he was good about it), and took only a minute or two to see that the birds were all Grey-backed Stormies, obviously gathering before returning to their various nesting sites on the islands in the area. So- things happen mostly in the last hour or so before dark! We then powered back to Owenga- arrived at 10.40 pm, so not so bad after hanging out at Pyramid until nearly dark. Drove back to the hotel and into bed by 11.45 or so. Another great day on the water; we tried some new things and learned a lot. What we did would have been very tedious with a slower boat- amazing how much extra birding time one has with a fast boat. So now we only have Chatham Snipe (no chance it seems), Magenta and Chatham Petrels to see. Pretty good really. We will are discuss our options tomorrow for the petrels, but it looks like we’ll do the late afternoon –evening Magenta Petrel watch off the Horns.

Dec 6 (Friday): This was a great rest day. Weather did not allow a boat trip to the Horns (Cape L’Eveque) to watch for returning Magenta Petrel, and Liz Tuanui was unavailable for her Tuku Tour. Had breakfast as usual, with enjoyable group discussion of our great seabirding day yesterday and reviewed our identifications. Caught up on my blog journal and actually finished the Southern Great Plains write-up (without Oklahoma). Lunch was ordered at the pub- delicious fish and chips with a ginger beer. Made arrangements with Val to leave on his boat for the Magenta Petrel watch at 4 pm tomorrow, then arranged with Liz Tuanui to do her tour at 11 am tomorrow also. Then actually took a 45-min nap, waking up in time for dinner. Bluenose (a very tasty local fish) in a leek sauce with prawns was great. We joked that it was the endemic Chatham Island Leek (not true, of course). Not sure if I can stand this hard work much longer. Weather permitting we should finish our serious birding tomorrow and, with a Magenta Petrel sighting, will have cleaned up except for snipe.

Dec 7 (Sat): Liz Tuanui called early to cancel the Tuku Tour because of fog. We’ll do it tomorrow (Sunday). The weather is supposed to get better- I did some laundry and my clothes have been on the line for 2 days and are still wet. The air is very wet, but not raining. We did stuff until about 11 am, when we took a drive up to Ocean Mail Reserve, checking the lagoon shoreline for shorebirds. Not a single migrant, but did see a Chat Oystercatcher and a few Pied Stilts. Back around 2.30 to pick up our pre-ordered pizza- delicious pepperoni, but they put barbecue sauce on it! Got used to the different taste, but I prefer my pizza pretty basic. Took off on Val’s boat with skipper Matt and deckie Jake, same guys as two days ago. Idea was to poke around about 1-2 km sw of the Horns and hope for a Taiko (Magenta Petrel). Only took 30 mins to get there from Waitangi- Matt doesn’t mess around. Had plenty of chopped up blue cod for chum; Jake hooked a big blue cod, but when he pulled it up, only half was there- the back half had been chomped off likely by a shark. Had a pretty good afternoon before it got later and into “Taiko Time”, the period before darkness when Taiko return to the nesting area in the Tuku Valley. They wait off shore, circling around, then go inland to their burrows at dusk. So we wait offshore until dark too- although this strategy on our part has worked before, no luck this time. Did have some good birds, though- lots of Grey-backed and White-faced Stormies and Fairy Prions. Around 10 pm we decided to head home, and Matt “Hammer Down” MacKenzie ripped on back to Waitangi. Exciting ride. We’ll see what tomorrow brings in the Tuku Valley! Through today, we are missing only Magenta Petrel, Chatham Petrel, and Chatham Snipe, so doing very well.

Dec 8 (Sun): Drove down to the Tuanui home in the next valley south of the Awatotara River and Liz was ready around 9 am. We got into her sturdy 4WD pickup and began the long, very steep up and down, but fascinating ride south to the Taiko Camp. The valley of the Tuku River is very deep, and the drive through gave great views. We passed the Tuku camp in the distance (we’ll stop on our way back) and headed a bit further to the Sweetwater Covenant area and the Taiko Camp, where both Magenta Petrel and Chatham Petrel have been translocated. The predator fence was built by the Tuanuis and is 705 meters long. It reminded me of the fence around Maungatautari, but doesn’t have the trip wire tree-fall warning system. We went in on the rather short track accompanied by Liz and Judeen, a local volunteer. We were taken to the burrow area for both petrel species and were really impressed by the equipment and technology being used to track the birds, including video recorders and telemetric equipment. Liz and technician Joss informed us that there were 3 burrows being used, one by a female that had just laid her egg and would soon be replaced by a male that would do the incubation, another burrow with its incubating male in place, and a burrow occupied by an un-mated male. Another interesting and encouraging sign was that 2 of the 3 burrows were freshly dug by the birds, rather than using the adjacent artificial burrows. According to Covenant rules, we are allowed to be shown one non-breeding Magenta Petrel. Fortunately, our timing was perfect, as the aforementioned un-mated male was shown to us. This extremely rare bird was an amazing sight to see indeed, and we felt greatly privileged. The window for un-mated males to be viewable is very short, and in some years, none are present. The technology for the Chatham Petrels was not as extensive, but their numbers are higher than Magentas, and they have another successful translocation site at Caravan Bush on Pitt Island. We were shown a cooperative Chatham Petrel, and were even able to see its extensively black-marked underwings and axillars. After our exciting visit, we returned to the Tuku Camp and were told of its fascinating history and shown photos of the interesting people who had been there over the years. One photo showed Detlef and Carol, who visited with busload of folks organized by Chris Gaskin. How they got the bus there I don’t know, as the road was apparently in much worse shape than it is today. To my amazement, one photo showed my Latin teacher at Kings College, Mr Sibson- he was an officer in the Ornithological Society of NZ at the time I assume. We had a great lunch around the picnic table at the camp, talking with Bruce and Liz Tuanui, their daughter Katrina, who is planning to married in late Dec at the Tuku Camp, and technicians Joss and Judeen. Nice sunny day and very pleasant and interesting conversation at a hallowed site in NZ ornithology. Back to Liz’s home and drove on back to Waitangi. Had a few beers before dinner, traditional NZ roast (must have had a half pound of very tasty grass-fed beef). Just had to have an ice-cream sundae since we were celebrating. Went to bed and slept like a log after an exciting and emotional day. The Chathams have a way of bringing out the Kiwiness in me.

Dec 9 (Tue): Departure day! Sad, but exciting in that soon I’ll be seeing my Houston grandchildren and Lyn for the first time in a month. At least it will be warm there! Air Chats flight left on time at 10.30 (well, only 15 mins late) and flew uneventfully to Wellington, which was as unwindy as I have ever seen it. Usually Wellington is very windy and bouncy coming in or going out. Said goodbye to Ian as he was flying to Napier, and Doug, Detlef, and I left for the very short 45 min flight to Auckland. Detlef was flying to Bay of Islands so we said goodbye to him too. It has been a convivial group visiting the Chats! As I write this Doug and I are waiting for our flight leaving at 10.45 pm.

Dec 9 (Tue): Arrived in Houston at 1 am, after our flight from LAX was delayed 2 hours (no plane!???). Auckland to LA was uneventful, and of course we gained a day- still Dec 9. Total elapsed time from Chathams was around 34 hours, so a bit tiring. Did get 5-6 hours sleep on the flight over the Pacific, though. Thanks to my daughter and wife who patiently waited at Houston Bush to pick me up. Into bed of course ASAP; we'll see what jet lag will do to me the next few days. Flying eastward across time zones is the pits.

Annotated Trip List

001. Apteryx mantelli North Island Brown Kiwi: 2 heard, 1 seen Trounson Kauri Park.
002. A. australis Southern Brown Kiwi (Southern Tokoeka): 1 seen Ocean Beach, Stewart Island.
003. A. rowi Okarito Brown Kiwi (Rowi): one seen and heard Okarito Forest.
004. A. owenii Little Spotted Kiwi: 3 heard, 1 seen, Tiritiri Matangi I.
005. Anser anser Feral (Graylag) Goose: widespread.
006. Branta canadensis Canada Goose: widespread, but mostly South I.
007. Cereopsis novaehollandiae Cape Barren Goose: 2 at St. Anne's Lagoon.
008. Cygnus olor Mute Swan: 13 at Cooper's Lagoon.
009. C. atratus Black Swan: widespread.
010. Tadorna variegata Paradise Shelduck: widespread.
011. Hymenolaimus malacorhynchus Blue Duck: 3 on Lower Tongariro River; 2 on Hollyford River.
012. Anas platyrhynchos Mallard: widespread, but most are hybrids and back-crosses with Pacific Black Duck.
013. A. superciliosa Pacific Black Duck: phenotypic Pacific Black Ducks scarce and localized.
014. A. rhynchotis Australasian Shoveler: widespread in small numbers.
015. A. chlorotis Brown Teal: 8 at Tawharanui, 3 on Tiritiri Matangi I.
016. A. gracilis Grey Teal: widespread.
017. Aythya novaeseelandiae New Zealand Scaup: widespread.
018. A. australis White-eyed Duck: one on pond at Foxton Beach.
019. Callipepla californica California Quail: widespread.
020. Meleagris gallopavo Wild Turkey: widespread open farmland, mostly North I.
021. Alectoris chukar Chukar: 3 on southwest slope Mt. John.
022. Coturnix ypsilophora Brown Quail: 8 on Tiritiri Matangi I.
023. Gallus gallus Feral Chicken: NZ listers count population at Lake Horowhenua.
024. Phasianus colchicus Common (Ring-necked) Pheasant: widespread.
025. Pavo cristatus Indian Peafowl: one on Kawau Island, also central North Island.
026. Eudyptes pachyrhynchus Fiordland Penguin: 14 outer Milford Sound, 2 Halfmoon Bay.
027. Megadyptes antipodes Yellow-eyed Penguin: 1 on Edwards Island, 2 on Bench Island, 3 at Bushy Beach.
028. Eudyptula minor Little Penguin: widespread; 3 subspecies by range.
029: Diomedea chionoptera Wandering (Snowy) Albatross: 1 off Kaikoura.
030. D. antipodensis antipodensis, T. a. gibsoni New Zealand Albatross: several off Kaikoura.
031. D. epomophora Southern Royal Albatross: 2 off Kaikoura, 1 off Stewart I, 1 off Pyramid.
032. D. sanfordi Northern Royal Albatross: 6 off Kaikoura, 2 off Stewart I, 2 off Pyramid.
033. Thalassarche melanophris Black-browed Albatross: 1 off Kaikoura, 1 off Stewart I.
034. T. cauta steadi White-capped Albatross: seen all pelagic trips in good numbers; only 2 Chatham Is.
035. T. salvini Salvin's Albatross: seen most pelagic trips; abundant off Stewart I, 4 off Pyramid.
036. T. bulleri Buller's Albatross: one off Stewart I.
037. T. chlororhynchos Yellow-nosed (Indian) Albatross: One off Pyramid.
038. Garrodia nereis Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 3 off Stewart I, abundant near dusk Chatham Is.
039. Pelagodroma marina White-faced Storm-Petrel: common Hauraki Gulf and off Whitianga; abundant near dusk Chatham Is.
040. Pealeornis maoriana New Zealand Storm-Petrel: 8 in Hauraki Gulf.
041. Macronectes giganteus Antarctic (Southern) Giant-Petrel: one off Stewart I, one Chatham Is.
042. M. halli Hall's (Northern) Giant-Petrel: one or a few most pelagic trips; 30 off Kaikoura, 30 Chatham Is.
043. Daption capense Cape Petrel: widespread Kaikoura southward, abundant Chatham Is. All capense.
044. Puffinus bulleri Buller's Shearwater: common Hauraki Gulf, a few off Whitianga, none elsewhere.
045. P. carneipes Flesh-footed Shearwater: Common Hauraki Gulf, Whitianga, 1 Cook Strait.
046. P. griseus Sooty Shearwater: only a few north, but common Foveaux Strait and Chatham Is.
047. P. tenuirostris Short-tailed Shearwater: 2 Hauraki Gulf, one Whitianga.
048. P. gavia Fluttering Shearwater: abundant Hauraki Gulf, Whitianga, Queen Charlotte Sound. 8 Stewart I (rare there).
049. P. huttoni Hutton's Shearwater: one Cook Strait, abundant Kaikoura, 2 Stewart I (unusual).
050. P. assimilis Little Shearwater: 5 Hauraki Gulf, 2 Whitianga.
051. Procellaria aequinoctialis White-chinned Petrel: 1 Cook Strait, 4 Kaikoura, one off Pyramid.
052. P. parkinsoni Black (Parkinson's) Petrel: 6 Hauraki Gulf, 2 Whitianga.
053. P. westlandica Westland Petrel: 2 Cook Strait, numerous Kaikoura.
054. Pachyptila vittata Broad-billed Prion: 3 Chatham Is.
055. P. turtur Fairy Prion: abundant (est 50,000) Hauraki Gulf, common Cook Strait, a few seen other pelagic trips, incl Pyramid.
056. P. crassirostris Fulmar Prion: Common near dusk off Pyramid.
057. P. axillaris Chatham Petrel: One at Sweetwater Covenant.
058. P. inexpectata Mottled Petrel: 4 off Stewart I.
059. P. cookii Cook's Petrel: abundant Hauraki Gulf, common Whitianga, 3 off Stewart I, 3 off Pyramid.
060. P. pycrofti Pycroft's Petrel: 20+ off Whitianga; many intermediate birds unidentifiable.
061. P. macroptera Great-winged (Grey-faced) Petrel: 2 off Whitianga.
062. P. magentae Magenta Petrel: one at Sweetwater Covenant.
063. Pelecanoides urinatrix Common Diving-Petrel: Common throughout.
064. Morus serrator Australasian Gannet: Common in north, none south of Kaikoura (1).
065. Phalacrocorax melanoleucos Little Pied Cormorant: widespread.
066. P. varius Pied Cormorant: widespread around coasts.
067. P. sulcirostris Little Black Cormorant: North I only, widespread in low numbers.
068. P. carbo Great Cormorant: widespread; several Chatham Island.
069. Leucosticte carunculatus Rough-faced (King) Shag: 7 Queen Charlotte Sound.
070. L. chalconotus Stewart Island Shag: colony Shag Point, common Foveaux Strait area.
071. L. onslowi Chatham Islands Shag: small colony near Waitangi, distant view Matarakau colony.
072. Stictocarbo punctatus Spotted Shag: 1 Wellington Harbor; common Marlborough Sounds, West Coast.
073. S. featherstoni Pitt Island Shag: fairly common Chatham Is.
074. Pelecanus conspicillatus Australian Pelican: 8 near Tokatoka, Wairoa River.
075. Tachybaptus novaehollandiae Australasian Little Grebe: 2 at Ormiston Rd pond near Waipu.
076. Poliocephalus rufopectus New Zealand Grebe (Dabchick): North I only; fairly common on lakes.
077. Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe: scattered South Island lakes.
078. Platalea regia Royal Spoonbill: widespread at estuaries in low numbers.
079. Egretta alba Great Egret (White Heron): 1 southern West Coast.
080. E. sacra Pacific Reef-Egret: one Whitianga, one Kaikoura.
081. E. novaehollandiae White-faced Heron: common and widespread.
082. E. garzetta Little Egret: one at Lake Horowhenua.
083. Botaurus poiciloptilus Australasian Bittern: 2 at Whangamarino Swamp.
084. Milvus migrans Black Kite: one at Waihopai Valley Road.
085. Circus approximans Swamp Harrier: widespread.
086. Falco novaezeelandiae New Zealand Falcon: pair at nest near Wairakei Golf Course; 2 at Pohangina Totara Reserve.
087. Gallirallus australis Weka: one on Kawau I, fairly common West Coast, common Ulva I, abundant Chatham Island.
088. G. philippensis Buff-banded Rail: 4 at Tawharanui.
089. Porzana pusilla Baillon's (Marsh) Crake: one heard at Ruataniwha Wetland, Ohau Delta.
090. P. tabuensis Spotless Crake: one at North Pond, Tiritiri Matangi I.
091. Porphyrio porphyrio Purple Swamphen: widespread; several Chatham Island.
092. P. hochstetteri South Island Takahe: 4 Tiritiri Matangi I.
093. Fulica atra Common Coot: Whakamaru, L Taupo near Turangi, St Anne's Lagoon, Te Anau.
094. Haematopus finschi South Island Pied Oystercatcher: widespread, at estuaries North and South I. and inland South I.
095. H. unicolor Variable Oystercatcher: widespread at estuaries and on beaches.
096. H. chathamensis Chatham Oystercatcher: 2 pairs Waitangi West Beach.
097. Himantopus leucocephalus White-headed (Pied) Stilt: widespread, incl Chathams.
098. H. novaezelandiae Black Stilt: 7 immatures at Glentanner, one adult Lake McGregor outlet.
099. Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden-Plover: 5 Manawatu Estuary.
100. P. americana American Golden-Plover: one putative Manawatu Estuary.
101. Charadrius bicinctus Double-banded Plover: widespread at estuaries and riverbeds; a few Chatham Island in dry grass areas.
102. C. (=Anarhynchus) frontalis Wrybill: 20 at Miranda, 1 at Manawatu Estuary.
103. C. obscurus Red-breasted (New Zealand) Plover: 23 from Waipu Estuary south to Miranda.
104. Thinornis novaeseelandiae Shore Plover: one banded Miranda; 13 South East Island.
105. Elseyornis melanops Black-fronted Dotterel: one Otaki Sewage Ponds.
106. Vanellus miles Masked Lapwing: widespread, incl Chathams.
107. Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit: one breeding plumage Miranda.
108. L. lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit: widespread.
109. Tringa stagnatilis Marsh Sandpiper: 1 at Miranda.
110. Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone: a few at each estuary and at Kaikoura.
111. Calidris canutus Red Knot: common at North I. estuaries.
112. C. ruficollis Red-necked Stint: 4 at Miranda.
113. C. acuminata Sharp-tailed Sandpiper: 3 Miranda, 2 Mangere.
114. C. ferruginea Curlew Sandpiper: 2 at Mangere, 2 Miranda.
115. Catharacta antarctica Brown Skua: 6 Foveaux Strait area, common Chatham Islands.
116. Stercorarius parasiticus Parasitic Jaeger: fairly common around North I. and in Marlborough Sounds.
117. Larus dominicanus Kelp Gull: widespread.
118. L. scopulinus Red-billed Gull: widespread.
119. L. bulleri Black-billed Gull: widespread, including colony at Miranda; common inland South I.
120. Sterna caspia Caspian Tern: widespread in small numbers.
121. S. striata White-fronted Tern: widespread.
122. S. albifrons Little Tern: 1 at Manawatu Estuary.
123. S. nereis Fairy Tern: 1 at Waipu Estuary.
124. S. albostriatus Black-fronted Tern: inland South I. riverbeds; 20 Eglinton Valley.
125. Columba livia Rock Pigeon: widespread; often away from human habitation.
126. Streptopelia roseogrisea Barbary (African Collared-) Dove: abundant in north Orewa at Orewa House.
127. Streptopelia chinensis Spotted Dove: 6 at Puketutu I., Mangere; a few elsewhere in north, south to Miranda.
128. Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae New Zealand Pigeon: widespread.
129. H. chathamensis Chatham Island Pigeon: common Awatotara and Tuku.
130. Nestor notabilis Kea: Arthur's Pass, Homer Tunnel; total 15+.
131. N. meridionalis Kaka: 5 at Pureora. Several South I. and common at Oban.
132. Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae Red-crowned Parakeet: Common Tiritiri Matangi I; 3 Ulva I.
133. C. auriceps Yellow-crowned Parakeet: a few at Pureora, Motuara I, Fiordland, Ulva I.
134. C. malherbi Orange-fronted Parakeet: 3 on Blumine Island.
135. C. forbesi Forbes's Parakeet: 15 on Mangere Island.
136. Platycercus eximius Eastern Rosella: common northern North I, south to Pohangina Totara Reserve.
137. Chrysococcyx lucidus Shining Bronze-Cuckoo: widespread, responds well to tape.
138. Urodynamis taitensis Long-tailed Cuckoo: one well-seen at Pureora; 3 more heard.
139. Athene noctua Little Owl: Only sighting Postman's Road, Kaikoura.
140. Ninox novaeseelandiae Morepork: heard whenever we were out after dark.
141. Halcyon sanctus Sacred Kingfisher: widespread northern North I, 50+ first 2 days, fewer elsewhere.
142. Acanthisitta chloris Rifleman: 2 Tiritiri Matangi I; widespread South I. beech forests.
143. Xenicus gilviventris New Zealand Rock Wren: one well seen at Homer Tunnel.
144. Notiomystis cincta Stitchbird (Hihi): common at Tiritiri Matangi I.
145. Anthornis melanura New Zealand Bellbird: common at Tiritiri Matangi I., 2 Tawaharanui Reserve, and from Pureora south through South I.
146. Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae Tui: widespread except for southern North I. and northeastern South I., where none seen. Several Awatotara Valley, a few Mangere Island and South East Island.
147. Gerygone igata Grey Gerygone (Warbler): widespread.
148. G. albofrontata Chatham Island Gerygone: common Awatotara Valley, one on Mangere Island.
149. Callaeas cinereus Kokako: 6+ on Tiritiri Matangi I.
150. Philesturnus carunculatus South Island Saddleback: pair and fledgling Ulva I.
151. P. rufasater North Island Saddleback: Common Tiritiri Matangi I.
152. Gymnorhina tibicen Australasian Magpie: widespread.
153. Mohoua ochrocephala Mohua (Yellowhead): 10 Ulva I.
154. M. albicilla Whitehead: common Tiritiri Matangi I., a few at Pureora.
155. M. novaeseelandiae Pipipi (Brown Creeper): widespread South I.
156. Rhipidura fuliginosa New Zealand Fantail: widespread North and South Is.
157. Petroica macrocephala New Zealand Tomtit: widespread in low numbers North and South Is; one on Mangere Island.
158. P. australis South Island Robin: widespread South I.
159. P. longipes North Island Robin: common Tiritiri Matangi I., Pureora.
160. P. traversi Black Robin: two sightings of a single bird at south end of Black Robin Bush, Mangere Island.
161. Hirundo neoxena Welcome Swallow: widespread North I. and South I., numbers lower towards south.
162. Alauda arvensis Sky Lark: widespread.
163. Bowdleria punctata Fernbird: 5 Tiritiri Matangi Island; one near Okarito.
164. Zosterops lateralis Silver-eye: widespread.
165. Acridotheres tristis Common Myna: widespread North I.; southernmost near Wellington.
166. Sturnus vulgaris Common (European) Starling: widespread.
167. Turdus merula Eurasian Blackbird: widespread.
168. T. philomelos Song Thrush: widespread, most common in north.
169. Passer domesticus House Sparrow: widespread.
170. Prunella modularis Dunnock: widespread, but in low numbers northward.
171. Anthus novaeseelandiae New Zealand Pipit: widespread North and South Is., but somewhat localized by preferred habitat.
172. A. chathamensis Chatham Islands Pipit: common Chatham Islands.
173. Fringilla coelebs Chaffinch: widespread.
174. Carduelis chloris European Greenfinch: widespread North and South Is.
175. C. carduelis Eurasian Goldfinch: widespread.
176. C. flammea Common Redpoll: widespread, especially to south.
177. Emberiza citrinella Yellowhammer: widespread North and South Is.
178. E. cirlus Cirl Bunting: 3 at Kaikoura.