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Species list

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Species seen in New Zealand

Southern Brown Kiwi

Of the 5 species of Kiwi, none are nailed on to see, due mainly to their scarcity and nocturnal habits. One of the best places for a decent chance is Stewart Island, where this species is relatively common, and where Stewart Island Experiences can run evening trips from Oban to see them. Unfortunately, my trip was cancelled due to bad weather, but the same weather front kept us on the island for a day longer (still no trips though), and I was lucky enough to see one on the rugby pitch at Oban well after darkness had fallen (around 9.25pm)

Cape Barren Goose

Any records of these in New Zealand can be of dubious origin, since vagrant birds can reach here, particularly in winter, but there are also regular records of escapees. The 3 I saw in Motueka were likely to have been the latter (A single bird was a surprise grazing in a field next to Goodman Recreation Park, Motueka, along with Paradise Shelducks and Swamphen. The following day, 3 birds in field adjacent to Motueka Recreation grounds)

Canada Goose

Occasionally seen in flocks - presumably of introduced birds originally in the early 20th Century (~30 Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway

Black Swan 

The numerous birds seen throughout are from introduced ornamental collections, but strictly speaking this should be termed reintroduction, since apparently this species was abundant in New Zealand before Europeans emerged and wiped them out (2 on River during Huka Falls; ~8 Lake Taupo waterfront, Taupo; At least 50 birds Aratiatia Dam; 2 Elterwater Wildlife Reserve, between Picton and Kaikoura; ~16 Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway, most being on tidal lagoon; 4 Motueka Inlet Walkway; 2 Journey from Motueka to Hokitika; 4 on large lake Journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef; ~12 on route to Oamaru Penguin Colony from Dunedin; ~20 Otago Peninsula; 2 Akaroa Peninsula)

Paradise Shelduck

This is apparently one of the few New Zealand birds which has actually thrived since Europeans arrived. They tend to like grazing, so the wholesale levelling of the forests in favour of farmland has been to their liking. The result is a very common and widespread bird (Pair in open fields from Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 2 in field Journey from Taupo to Napier; 1 female in fields Journey from Taupo to Wellington; ~10 Kapiti Island; 2 Elterwater Wildlife Reserve, between Picton and Kaikoura; 2 behind Brook House B&B, Kaikoura; Pair on rock pools at Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; Good numbers totalling anywhere up to 40 birds on the cultivated grassy land between High Street and the coastal walk Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; Regularly seen thoughout Journey from Motueka to Hokitika; Common and regular Journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef; Small numbers in fields Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka; ~30 Milford Sound; 5 Doubtful Sound Cruise; ~6 Oban Town, Stewart Island;  6 on Stewart Island Golf Course; Field with 100-200 birds on way to Oamaru Penguin Colony from Dunedin; ~16 Otago Peninsula; Small groups Akaroa Peninsula, 2 Akaroa Town)

Australasian Shoveler

Only seen in small numbers to the North of the South Island (At last 3 birds Elterwater Wildlife Reserve, between Picton and Kaikoura; Pair on a small creek alongside Thorp Street, Motueka; ~12 Motueka Inlet Walkway)

Pacific Black Duck

May have been a little more common than the recorded numbers suggest, but the abundance of Mallard negated searching through all occurrences of the latter to find this species (Up to 10 in singles and pairs on River during Huka Falls; Few birds Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; 2 at Mirror Lakes Te Anau to Milford Sound)

Mallard

Under-recorded due to abundance perhaps, and also due to the inclusion of many feral or semi feral birds (4 Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; Quite common Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; ~20 Oban, Stewart Island; Quite common Akaroa Town)

Grey Teal 

Not as common as expected (At least 2 birds Elterwater Wildlife Reserve, between Picton and Kaikoura; ~20 Motueka Inlet Walkway; 1 Otago Peninsula)

New Zealand Scaup

As opposed to Grey Teal, this was a much more common and widely distributed bird than had been thought. As opposed to the marine loving Greater Scaup of Europe, this species seems to be most often seen on fresh water, from small ponds and rivers to large lake edges (3 on river during Huka Falls; Groups of up to ~30 birds Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; Small numbers Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; 4 Motueka Inlet Walkway; ~20 on Lake Wanaka from The Outlet Track, Wanaka; 4 at Mirror Lakes Te Anau to Milford Sound ; ~50 Lake Te Anau)

Yellow-eyed Penguin

Some authors regard this as the rarest of the penguin species, although in truth it is probably second to the much more range limited Galapagos Penguin. Regardless, it is endemic to New Zealand and is in very low numbers. It tends to breed on some of the outlying islands, but since some bird also favour the Otago peninsula and a few other mainland sites, the former is the best place to see them. It is always possible to come across them if visiting the correct areas (such as the few we saw from the known cliff top lookout at Oamaru), but for really close encounters, going with a company such as Elm Wildlife Tours is worth the cost (4 birds on beach  at Oamaru Penguin Colony; 15 Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula)

Little Penguin 

This is one of the more widespread penguin species, and there is a bit of an industry in both Australia and New Zealand to build viewing areas around natural colonies, which is how we saw ours. They tend to feed at sea during the day and viewing areas such as the one such as that at Oamaru base views on the birds returning to their nesting burrows after dusk. Bad news for the photographers is that they do not allow imaging in any form (including sneaky mobile phones!), and flash photography anywhere is a big no. Just turn up, watch and enjoy - they are a very entertaining bird. 54 were seen during our visit

Wandering Albatross

The best (and only definite) place to see these is on a paid trip from Kaikoura. And are they worth the money! As soon as the boat stopped and the bait was dropped, these massive birds dropped straight in for an eye to eye encounter (4 Albatross Encounter)

Southern Royal Albatross

As with the Wandering Albatross, the best spot for really good views of these is on the Albatross Encounter from Kaikoura, where they are pushed out a little by their larger cousins. However, searching through the expected Northern Royals on the Otago Penisula also picked up a couple of Southerns by the distinctive upper wing pattern (1 Southern Royal Albatross past stern of boat on Kaikoura Whalewatch - two more large Albatross seen while at speed in boat; 3 Albatross Encounter; 1 past Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula, 1 past Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula)

Northern Royal Albatross

The mirror image of the Southern Royals, which were the expected species on the Kaikoura trip, but where one Northern Royal was seen flying by. They are much easier to see at Taiaroa Point on Otago, where there is a small breeding colony, with some birds still present when we visited (1 Albatross Encounter; At least 6 around Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula)

Shy Albatross

In New Zealand, this species is still referred to as White-capped Mollymawk, which seems to be a subspecies of the Shy Albatross group. Salvin's Albatross has also been separated as a species, and close views of both on the Kaikoura Albatross trip could easily separate the two. Birds could often be seen gliding by over the waves, and the black notch at the base of the fore-underwing was usually easy to see (4 birds Ferry from Wellington to Picton - 2 flying past ferry, 2 on sea; The most common Albatross seen on Kaikoura Whalewatch; Probably over 30 birds in total 8 Albatross Encounter; 4 Doubtful Sound Cruise; 1 Stewart Island Ferry; ~6 followed the ferry from Ulva to Stewart Island; 1 bird next to ferry dock, Oban, Stewart Island; 2 past Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula)

Salvin's Albatross 

Best views were of birds on the sea with the closely related Shy on the Kaikoura Albatross encounter (Difficult to separate at sea from Shy, but at least 3 birds seen with diagnostic dark spot at base of bill tip on Kaikoura Whalewatch; 5 Albatross Encounter)

Buller's Albatross

After the first birds were seen on the Doubtful Sound cruise, they became one of the more common albatrosses from Oban, Stewart Island and also from the Otago Peninsula. All underwings were scanned for Grey-headed to no avail (3 Doubtful Sound Cruise; 2 Stewart Island Ferry; ~6 Oban, Stewart Island out from harbour; 1 in Oban Harbour; 4 birds next to ferry dock and ~10 flying by, Oban, Stewart Island; 4 past Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula and Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula)

Northern Giant Petrel

All Giant Petrels seen were of this rather than Southern species. It was usually the all dark colouring which was the clincher - red bill tip only really obvious on the birds which landed near to the boat on the Kaikoura trip (5 Albatross Encounter; 1 past Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula, 3 past Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula)

Cape Petrel 

Apart from one bird seen flying past Otago, all others were off Kaikoura, either on the whale watch or albatross trips. They tend to come near to the boats in groups, chattering constantly (Group of 5 birds at bow of boat on Kaikoura Whalewatch ~40 Albatross Encounter; 1 past Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula)

White-chinned Petrel

2 Albatross Encounter, Kaikoura

Westland Petrel 

When seen well, which was in fewer rather than more occasions, the black tip of the bill compared to White-chinned above was obvious (3 Albatross Encounter)

Buller's Shearwater

Even when seen at middle distance, these birds have a very distinctive colouration across the upperwings, which is quite different from any of the other petrels, or even shearwaters, seen on the water (1 bird which was most probably this species Ferry from Wellington to Picton; 6 Albatross Encounter)

Sooty Shearwater

Around most of the South Island, this was by far the most common dark shearwater/petrel seen, sometimes occurring in quite large lines and flocks (~100 Doubtful Sound Cruise; ~40 Stewart Island Ferry; Small numbers past Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula and Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula)

Flesh-footed Shearwater

A few dark shearwaters could be seen with the distinctive pink based bill of this species (1 bird which was most probably this species Ferry from Wellington to Picton; all dark Shearwaters of this type seemed to be Flesh-footed on Kaikoura Whalewatch - probably >10 birds)

Hutton's Shearwater

We passed by the area where a colony of these is being encouraged at Kaikoura. Predictably, this wasn't much of a help in seeing the birds, but quite often large groups could be seen passing by near to the shore (Small Shearwaters had the duskier underwing of this rather than Fluttering - 5+ identified, although a large flock was passed at speed of one of these two species on Albatross Encounter, Kaikoura; ~40 flying past shoreline of Kaikoura Penisula Walkway)

Common Diving Petrel

Only one bird seen - flying away from the Interisland Ferry as we passed where it must have been resting on the sea before being flushed

New Zealand Grebe

This species is almost exclusively found on the North Island, so it was no surprise that the only birds seen were a few close to the shore of Lake Taupo (2 together in amongst Scaup Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; 5 including juveniles Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo)

Great Crested Grebe

As opposed to the New Zealand Grebe, this species is only found on the South Island, which is indeed where we saw our few birds (Pair Elterwater Wildlife Reserve, between Picton and Kaikoura; 1 on Lake Wanaka from The Outlet Track, Wanaka)

Royal Spoonbill

There was a modicum of disappointment when we were told that the breeding colony on Kapiti Island had finished their parental chores early this year and departed the island. Not all was lost, though, and the northern part of the South Island turned up some small collections in what were presumably wintering homes (6 birds at back of lake Elterwater Wildlife Reserve, between Picton and Kaikoura; 9 birds on the exposed mud Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway, and ~45 on the tidal lagoon at Motueka)

Great Egret 

1 bird in field at Hokitika; 1 Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka

White-faced Heron

This is THE heron seen thoughout New Zealand, and can be quite tame and closely approached. Apparently quite rare up until the 1960's, there is now almost no avoiding seeing them (4 separate birds Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 4 Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; Very common Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway, with birds in all habitats from field to coastal lagoon - ~25 total; 1 Motueka Inlet Walkway; 1 at Milford Sound; 1 Ulva Island; 2 birds in Oban harbour, Stewart Island; 5 Otago Peninsula; 1 Akaroa Town, 2 Akaroa Peninsula)

Australasian Gannet

1 flying past Napier; 3 birds seen from Ferry from Wellington to Picton as it entered Queen Charlotte Sound; 1 Albatross Encounter, then 3 flying past Kaikoura Penisula Walkway)

Little Pied Cormorant

1 pied individual on river during Huka Fall; 4 Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 3+ Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; ~6 Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; 1-2 Kapiti Island; One past Whalewatch office ay Kaikoura; 1 juvenile on rocks at Kaikoura; ~16 birds at the mouth of the tidal lagoon, Motueka; 12 in tree adjacent to Motueka Recreation fields; 4 on Lake Wanaka from The Outlet Track, Wanaka; 1 at Milford Sound; 1 Doubtful Sound Cruise; 1 Oban Harbour, Stewart Island; ~15 Akaroa Town

Spotted Shag

4 on sea stacks at Pancake Rocks; 1 near to Ulva Island on sea; 1 bird in harbour, Oban, Stewart Island; Into 3 figure numbers at Oamaru Penguin Colony; Small numbers around Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula

Little Black Cormorant 

1 on the end of one of the piers in Auckland harbour; 1 with Great Cormorants Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; Single bird on wetland in field, Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway

Australian Pied Cormorant 

~16 Kapiti Island; Few birds from Ferry from Wellington to Picton along Queen Charlotte Sound; ~10 on rocks at Kaikoura; One past Whalewatch office at Kaikoura; 4 adults on rocks and in trees at Kaikoura, then 4 Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; 2 at Milford Sound; 2 Akaroa Town

Great Cormorant 

1 Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 6 Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; 1 on Lake Wanaka and 1 on Cluther River from The Outlet Track, Wanaka; 1 at Milford Sound

Otago Shag

While the white wing bar is useful in identifying this species, care should be taken with the bronze (all dark) form, which is quite common around the Otago area (4 on rocks at Ulva Island; 1 bird in harbour, Oban, Stewart Island; Into 3 figure numbers at Oamaru Penguin Colony; Small numbers around Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula and colony from Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula)

Swamp Harrier 

Since New Zealand Falcon is uncommon and obvious, any large raptor seen is nailed on this species. It is seen everywhere, and is another of the select few species which has actually benefited from the arrival of the Europeans and their introduced rodents for prey (3 separate birds Tongariro River Trail, Turangi, with one on return to Taupo; 4 Journey from Taupo to Napier; 2 Journey from Taupo to Wellington; 6 birds seen on journey from Picton to Kaikoura; One to rear of accommodation in Kaikoura; 5 on journey from Kaikoura to Motueka; 2 birds Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; 9 Journey from Motueka to Hokitika; ~14 Journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef; 5 birds Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka; 1 over Wanaka from accommodation; 4 Te Anau to Milford Sound; 6 on journey from Te Anau to Bluff; 6 on way to Oamaru Penguin Colony from Dunedin; At least 6 on Otago Peninsula; ~16 Akaroa Peninsula)

Weka

We thought we were privileged with our first and confiding views of Weka on Kapiti Island, but this was dashed when passing many on roadsides and even seen in car parks (5 on Loop Walk Kapiti Island, and 2 at the Lodge Kapiti Island; 1 in car park at Pancake Rocks, with subsequent 3 from car Journey from Motueka to Hokitika; ~10 Journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef, feeding at side of road; 2 birds shortly after setting off Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka; 1 crossing road at Milford Sound outside of cafe; 10 on Ulva Island - 3, 3, and 2 on separate beaches)

Australasian Swamphen

As with Weka, seeing a group of Pukaku on Kapiti was our first and we thought limited sighting. That is until we started passing fields full of them on the South Island (5 near to the Lodge, Kapiti Island; 4 birds together at rear of Brook House B&B, Kaikoura; Abundant in the fields between High Street and the Coastal walk, Motueka (at least 60 birds); ~6 Motueka Inlet Walkway; Very commonly seen from car, sometimes in good numbers in one field, Journey from Motueka to Hokitika; Very common in fields Journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef; ~10 on way to Oamaru Penguin Colony from Dunedin; 6 on Otago Peninula; 5 Akaroa Peninsula)

South Island Takahe

The only truly wild Takahe now occur in almost inaccessible locations in Fjordland. Some have been introduced on to some of the rewilded islands. We had one on the lawn at Kapiti Island, one of two here apparently both of which are a bit of an age and likely to be beyond breeding potential 

Eurasian Coot 

2 on river on Huka Falls; ~6 Taupo harbour

South Island Oystercatcher

Some excellent views of this species next to dark Variable for structure comparison were had. Most pied oystercatchers were of this species, and could usually be told easily by the delineation between black and white breast (One flew past Whalewatch office at Kaikoura, and ~12 with Masked Lapwings to rear of accommodation in Kaikoura; Large collections of roosting birds on the shoreline Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway, numbering into 3 figures; 1 Otago Peninsula; ~10 with Variable Oytercatchers Akaroa Town)

Variable Oystercatcher

While the dark variation becomes much more common the further South you travel in New Zealand, occasional pied birds were seen and needed care, although they usually had some dark spotting on the white of the breast (3 Paraparaumu Beach; 3 Kaikoura Penisula Walkway on rocks; 5 birds on the shoreline and 3 at the marina, Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; 2 Motueka Inlet Walkway; 2 in field next to accommodation at Hokitika      ; 4 at MIlford Sound, which included 3 light phase birds; 2 Oban, Stewart Island; 5 black phase and 5 pied phase on Stewart Island golf course; 4 birds Oban, Stewart Island; ~8 Portobello on Otago Peninsula; Quite common Otago Peninsula (including mid Pied); ~25 Akaroa Town)

Pied Stilt

3 on pools Hawke's Bay; 1 bird Elterwater Wildlife Reserve, between Picton and Kaikoura; 3 birds on the coastal path lagoons and ~50 on the tidal lagoons, Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; ~30 Motueka Inlet Walkway; ~6 Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula

Masked Lapwing

Overall, common and widely distributed, although it is likely that the highest numbers were seen from the car while travelling (6 birds in open cultivated fields Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 3 Aratiatia Dam; 3 Journey from Taupo to Wellington; ~20 to rear of accommodation in Kaikoura; 3 + 3 Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; 2 in Motueka Recreational fields; ~5 Hokitika; 2 on a main street during the  journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef; 1 field during Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka contained; ~20 birds; 2 Milford Sound; Field with ~60 birds on journey from Te Anau to Bluff; 1 on way to Oamaru Penguin Colony from Dunedin; 2 Otago Peninsula; 1 Akaroa Town, 3 Akaroa Peninsula)

Bar-tailed Godwit 

~30 Motueka Inlet Walkway

Silver Gull

Very common and widely distributed, and often checked for Black-billed Gull without success (Reasonable numbers at Devonport and fewer at the harbour in Auckland; ~100 Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; Quite common Paraparaumu Beach and Kapiti Island; Very common in Queen Charlotte Sound an Kaikoura; ~10 Albatross Encounter, common around Kaikoura; Common Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; ~12 at Milford Sound; 3 Doubtful Sound Cruise; ~20 Oban, Stewart Island; ~10 on beach at Ulva Island; Common Akaroa Town)

Kelp Gull

Lesser numbers than Silver Gull on the coast, but usually much the commoner gull, often in large flocks, in the interior (Small numbers on the shore at Devonport; 3+ Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; 3 Lake Taupo Waterfront, Taupo; Quite common Paraparaumu Beach and Kapiti Island; Occasional birds Ferry from Wellington to Picton; The commonest Gull species on Kaikoura Whalewatch, although not many and mainly juveniles; ~30 Albatross Encounter; Occasional fields full of this species Journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef; Occasional fields with good numbers Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka; 1 Milford Sound; ~10 Doubtful Sound Cruise; Fields with large flocks in on journey from Te Anau to Bluff)

Caspian Tern

1 bird flew towards town on the tidal lagoon, Motueka; 1 Portobello, Otago Peninsula

White-fronted Tern

Small numbers on the shore at Devonport; Group of ~30 birds on Paraparaumu Beach; Small flock on rocks at Kaikoura; 1 Stewart Island Ferry; ~10 on sea around Ulva Island; 3-4 birds Oban, Stewart Island; 2 Otago Peninsula; Regularly seen past Taiaora Point, Otago Peninsula and Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula; Large group of roosting birds on jetty at Akaroa Town

Black-fronted Tern

A single bird was a bit of a surprise when it was picked up hawking over a cut grass field behind the accommodation in Kaikoura

New Zealand Pigeon

Best views were of very close birds on Kapiti Island, most other sightings were in flight (Commonly seen on Kapiti Island, with good numbers of birds around the lodge; 2 over hills at Pancake Rocks; 1 Franz Josef Glacier walk; 1 bird in mountains flew across road Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka; 5 separate birds flying over forest Te Anau to Milford Sound; 1 Doubtful Sound Cruise; 1 in tree and 4 overhead Oban, Stewart Island; 5 singles on Ulva Island; 1 over Akaroa Town)

Pacific Long-tailed Cuckoo

1 in bushes next to river on Huka Falls

Sacred Kingfisher

Quite often seen perching on wires at the side of main roads, but highest number was during a walk along the shoreline at Motueka (1 on telegraph wires Journey from Taupo to Napier; 1 flew over main highway Journey from Taupo to Wellington; 1 near to the Lodge on Kapiti Island; 22 birds in total from Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway to the tidal lagoon, Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; 1 Motueka Inlet Walkway   1 at Pancake Rocks; 1 on rugby posts, Oban, Stewart Island; 1 Akaroa Town, 1 Akaroa Peninsula)

New Zealand Falcon

1 flew along river course in front of bunjy on Huka Falls; 1 flying over forest Te Anau to Milford Sound

Kea

One of the best places to see Kea is at the cafe on Arthur's Pass, which runs high across the Western mountains between Christchurch and Greymouth. However, this wasn't on our route, so we decided to rely on other sites. Another good one is on the Te Anau to Milford Sound road, with Monkey Creek being a good recommendation for both Kea and Blue Duck. The weather when we there was abysmal, with poor visibility. However, another good spot is around the northern entrance to the Homer Tunnel. As you leave Milford Sound and ascend the hairpin curves towards the tunnel, either prey for a long red light to delay entry or find a pull in - the birds are often here enticing tourists to throw them food. 6 were stalking the cars waiting for access to the tunnel

New Zealand Kaka

Not as easy to spot as thought, with the best views being on Kapiti Island, although they can also be pinned down around Oban on Stewart Island (1 on Loop Walk, and at the Lodge, Kapiti Island; 1 at dusk flew into roadside tree, Oban, Stewart Island; 1 bird on deck of accommodation, Oban, Stewart Island, 2 flying over and 1 on house deck, Oban, Stewart Island)

Red-crowned Parakeet

Ironically, this is the less common of the two crowned parakeets in New Zealand, but the only one we saw. It's possible that some of the flying birds on Stewart Island were Yellow-crowned, but couldn't be seen well enough for positive ID (At least 6 birds seen flying from perches, with only one red crown seen, Kapiti Island; 1 Ulva Island)

Rifleman

2 separate birds at Lake Gunn, Te Anau to Milford Sound

Tui

This is a very common and widespread species, and the variations in calls are a delight to hear. Despite the regularity of hearing it, it was very difficult to get tired of listening to it (~10 birds in singles and pairs along Huka Falls; At least 3 singing after dusk near apartment in Wellington, with further 2 flying over during late afternoon; ~20 birds on Kapiti Island; 6 birds Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; 2 juveniles Franz Josef Glacier walk; Commonly seen and heard Oban, Stewart Island; ~10 Ulva Island; ~6 Oban, Stewart Island)

New Zealand Bellbird

Quite common and well distributed. They were often more obvious on call at first than sight due to very well camouflaged plumage (2 birds seen bathing in a small stream along the Huka Falls, with a further with subsong on the return; 1 seen Tongariro River Trail, Turangi, with others only heard; 1 singing Aratiatia Dam; ~8 birds Kapiti Island; 1 The Outlet Track, Wanaka; 1 at Milford Sound, and 1 Lake Marian trail, Te Anau to Milford Sound; 1 Doubtful Sound Cruise; 2 Oban, Stewart Island; 2 Ulva Island; 1 feeding on cultivated fuchsia on deck of accommodation, Oban, Stewart Island; 1 calling Akaroa Town)

Grey Gerygone

1 from balcony of accommodation in Taupo; 1 above bunjy jump in bushes at the end of Huka Falls; 2 separate birds The Outlet Track, Wanaka; 1 Ulva Island

South Island Saddleback

After the disappointment of not seeing the North Island species on Kapiti, the two birds on Ulva Island more than made up, particularly the second bird which was found just before leaving at the boat dock and stayed in view for quite a while

Australian Magpie

7+ in open fields Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 1 on way to Aratiatia Dam; 7 by roadside; Up to 5 Journey from Taupo to Wellington; 1 on journey from Picton to Kaikoura   ; 2 birds to rear of accommodation in Kaikoura; 1 Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; 1 Journey from Motueka to Hokitika; 5 separate birds Journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef; 1 Te Anau to Milford Sound; ~6 in fields on journey from Te Anau to Bluff; 2 Portobello, Otago Peninsula; 6 Akaroa Peninsula

Yellowhead

A flock of ~6 birds Ulva Island

Whitehead

~15 in mixed flock with Fantails, Kapiti Island

Pipipi

2 separate small flocks Ulva Island

New Zealand Fantail

One of the most regularly seen and heard bird species throughout New Zealand. They are also very bold, and often fly in touching distance (Up to 10 birds on singles to a trio along Huka Falls; Common and regularly seen Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 1 at lunch stop Journey from Taupo to Wellington; Common along Loop Walk, Kapiti Island; 3 birds in grounds of accommodation in Kaikoura; 1 Kaikoura Penisula Walkway;3+ birds Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; Occasionally seen Journey from Motueka to Hokitika; Small numbers Franz Josef Glacier walk; Occasional birds flew across road Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka; Occasional birds The Outlet Track, Wanaka; Seen regularly Te Anau to Milford Sound; Fairly common Oban, Stewart Island; ~6 Ulva Island; 2 Akaroa Town)

Tomtit

2 birds flew over road Journey from Hokitika to Franz Josef, and 3 separate birds Franz Josef Glacier walk; 2 separate birds flew across road Journey from Hokitika to Wanaka; 1 flew across Cluther River, The Outlet Track, Wanaka; Very regular Te Anau to Milford Sound, with at least 5 Lake Gunn; 3 Milford Sound, 2 Lake Marian Trail; 1 Ulva Island

North Island Robin

2 adults and separate juvenile on Kapiti Island 

South Island Robin

Male in grounds of accommodation in Kaikoura; Male at side of road though upland forest Journey from Motueka to Hokitika; 3 birds together at Lake Gunn, Te Anau to Milford Sound; 4 Ulva Island

Eurasian Skylark

1 calling above accommodation in Kaikoura; 1 Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; 1 on journey from Te Anau to Bluff; Common Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula

Welcome Swallow

3-4 Journey from Auckland to Taupo; 4+ over open fields Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 5+ at Napier; Regularly seen over Kapiti Island; Quite common at Kaikoura; ~15 Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; At least 12 birds Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; 2 Akaroa Town

Silvereye

Next to, or even alongside, Fantail in how common and widespread they seem to be. Also just as bold at times (A common sight during Huka Falls, with birds usually in small flocks; Common and gregarious in woodland Tongariro River Trail, Turangi; 1 in grounds of accommodation in Kaikoura; At least 10 birds Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; 2 birds Franz Josef Glacier walk; Regularly seen along The Outlet Track, Wanaka; Small groups Akaroa Town

Common Myna

Small numbers at Devonport; Regular Journey from Auckland to Taupo; Occasional birds seen on Huka Falls; Quite common around Taupo; Occasional birds Journey from Taupo to Napier

Common Starling

Very common in most areas

Common Blackbird

Common in most areas

Song Thrush 

1 Kaikoura; 1 Motueka; 1 Milford Sound; 5 on village lawn in Te Anau

House Sparrow

Common to abundant throughout

Dunnock

1 to rear of accommodation in Kaikoura; 2 The Outlet Track, Wanaka

New Zealand Pipit

Despite declining numbers, these birds are supposed to be seen more regularly on farmland and open land. It was this surprising that only two separate birds were seen, both on the shores of islands (Kapiti & Stewart) - 1 on boat landing, Kapiti Island; 1 on beach, Oban, Stewart Island

Common Chaffinch

Regularly spotted throughout

European Greenfinch

2 at lunch stop calling Journey from Auckland to Taupo; 2 Kapiti Island

Common Redpoll 

Group of ~8 young birds at a small pool during Huka Falls; 1 Kapiti Island; 1 Lake Mistletoe, Te Anau to Milford Sound

European Goldfinch

4 Kapiti Island; Quite common in small flocks Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; Small flocks Motueka Coastal and Inlet Walkway; 4 Akaroa Town

Yellowhammer

1 female Aratiatia Dam; 2 Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; Small group of ~5 birds Te Anau to Milford Sound; 1 Akaroa Town

 Species seen in Singapore

Red Junglefowl

One pair seen in the wet vegetation of Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore. They were more regular in the Botanic Gardens, quite often feeding on or next to paths

Grey Heron

One flying over Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore

Brahminy Kite

Perhaps the most common raptor in Singapore (the only one to be identified with 4 birds)

White-breasted Waterhen

One picked out in the wet vegetation at Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore

Baillon's Crake 

One picked out in the thick wet area vegetation of Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore

Zebra Dove 

A few birds were very tame and approachable in Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore

Pink-necked Green Pigeon

Only one seen in Singapore on the outbound visit, but a small group were feeding on fruits high up in the Botanic Garden on return

Asian Koel

Another bird more often seen than heard in Singapore, only one was picked out perching, with another flying past

White-throated Kingfisher

A single bird was seen flying up from the roadside to alight on a garden wall in a suburban street in Singapore

Collared Kingfisher

2 seen at Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore, and 1 the next day flying along the river

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Seen occasionally both along the river and at Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore

Black-naped Oriole

Another occasional sound in Singapore. As usual with this type of Oriole, the bright yellow plumage wasn't always the help it should have been to see against green leaves, but some could be picked out in the centre of town and also the Botanic Garden

House Crow

Regularly seen in Singapore

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Occasional in Singapore

Pacific Swallow

Seen now and again along the river and adjacent banks/land in SIngapore

Asian Glossy Starling

2-3 feeding in high palms in the Botanic Garden

Common Myna

Most of the Mynas seen in Singapore were Javan, but occasional birds proved to be this species

Javan Myna

Quite easily the most commonly seen (and heard) bird in Singapore. They were everywhere, including hanging around restaurantsí looking for scraps

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Only one female at Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore, with an additional male in the Botanic Gardens

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Quite a few Flowerpeckers were heard (very sharp metallic call), but only one was pinned down to this species in Marina Bay Gardens

Olive-backed Sunbird

More commonly heard in Singapore than seen, the metallic chips of these birds was a giveaway. They could, however, be regularly seen when feeding lower down in flower bearing bushes

Crimson Sunbird 

Two males seen feeding on the heliconia flowers in the Botanic Gardens

Eurasian Tree Sparrow 

These may have been almost as common in Singapore as Javan Myna, but the constant sound of the latter made it seem as though the Mynas were much more of a presence than the Sparrow

Mammals seen

Plantain Squirrel 

1 seen well in open urban area od Singapore, with one or two others in Botanic Gardens

Australasian Fur Seal

To the uninitiated, the differences between these and the NZ Sea Lion seem to be minimal, and in truth care has to be taken. However, we were given a couple of useful pointers which in practice seemed to bear fruit. If they are lounging on rocks, they are likely to be fur seals (sand or grass for sea lions). Also, fur seals walk with both back flippers moving at the same time (sea lion alternate) - 1 on rocks as boat approached landing, Kapiti Island; Good numbers on rocks on the shore about 20km North of Kaikoura; 2 at sea during Kaikoura Whalewatch; ~40 on rocks along Kaikoura Penisula Walkway; Colony at Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula

New Zealand Sealion 

Numbers of this once endemic (small numbers have now reached Australia) are low, and they tend to be found in waters south of Dunedin. The ones we saw were on the same beach as emerging Yellow-eyed Penguins, and contrary to our beliefs, don't tend to go for the penguins on land (1 Ulva Island; 1 in harbour, Oban, Stewart Island; At least 12 hauled out Papanui Cove, Otago Peninsula)

White-tailed Deer 

2 on rugby pitch, Oban, Stewart Island

Dusky Dolphin

Pod of at least 30 during Kaikoura Whalewatch

Bottlenose Dolphin

Pod of at least 15 following Ferry from Wellington to Picton in Queen Charlotte Sound

Sperm Whale

This is the main target whale species from Kaikoura. While they tend to dive for about an hour, once found they can be on the surface for 5-10 minutes before the next underwater foray. The one we saw was a little longer at 12 minutes, but when we returned an hour later for a second look it had clipped that time and dived again

 

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