|Pukeko in my daughters garden|
Somehow I had managed to bring my binoculars and camera with me, and had also obtained a New Zealand Field Guide. It was quite refreshing to look at a bird and not have a clue what it was ( still get like this in England at times) and then consult the book and try; first put it into a family; and then identify it. It was school all over again and I must admit I enjoyed the challenge of it all, even though I constantly cocked up.
|White Faced Heron|
My transport for getting around the North Island was a 4 litre 4x4, a bit of a gas guzzler but a pleasure to drive, trips out with the family and birding excursions became even more enjoyable driving this beast.
One of the 1st birds I noticed, naturally looking up for raptors on the trip was Australasian Harrier, they are a widespread abundant native species that also soars looking for prey or carrion. They reminded me of Common Buzzards when you drive down to Cornwall, our equivalent would be Marsh Harrier. The only other bird of prey, there are only 2 species that are native, was New Zealand Falcon, I got a brief view of one at distance and that was the only sighting.
One species that seemed to be everywhere was Pukeko, very similar to Purple Gallinules, we even had one in my daughters and son in laws garden.
Whilst I was there I decided to go out on a pelagic, a little expensive but well worth it just to see the Ocean, we were heading out to the Hauraki Gulf, hopefully for Whale sightings.
|White Fronted Tern|
|Red Billed Gull|
|Black or Parkinson's Petrel|
|Flesh Footed Shearwater|
Dolphin pods had now joined the Catamaran and at one point there must have been close to 50 near the ship with at least 4 constantly ‘ riding’ the bow wave, if I remember correctly, they were called Striped Dolphins. After an hour we caught up with a Whale, it was identified as a Brydes Whale and was around 30 metres long. What was quite strange to me was the fact that we were miles out, could not see land, and there were Blue Penguins popping up every now and then, very hard to photograph as we were moving at speed.
Summing up, a very enjoyable visit made even more special by giving my daughter away, and the reception we received from Shaun and his family.
|Auckland and the Tower|