Monday, 25 February 2013

New Zealand Storm Petrel

Birding has been somewhat limited recently with me undertaking loads of work on our new house. I've got a very sore neck from painting four ceilings today! Anyway, you can't beat a good bit of reminiscing to take you away from the hum-drum of such exciting chores.

With news today that at least one breeding site of the recently re-discovered New Zealand Storm Petrel has finally been tracked down I thought I'd share some of my photos from a wonderful visit into the Hauraki  
Gulf on the 29th October 2005 with Chris Gaskin of Pterodroma Pelagics

The species was thought extinct as it had not been recorded for over 100 years then Brent Stephenson and Sav Saville saw one off the Coromandel Peninsula in January 2003. To read about the efforts undertaken to establish where the birds breed click here

We were lucky with the weather on on the day and we saw at least one New Zealand Storm Petrel. I'm not always great on small boats but the pelagics in New Zealand were so good that I didn't have time to feel sea-sick!

Here's a selection of my photos of the bird of the moment:

New Zealand Storm Petrel - Hauraki Gulf 29th October 2005

What a treat!

We only saw one albatross on this particular trip but it was this stunning Salvin's

Salvin's Albatross

One of my favourite photos of the trip was of this Buller's Shearwater in a slightly odd pose:

Buller's Shearwater

Happy Days!!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


After several kerb-crawling visits to Hamworthy searching for the Hoopoe in vain, I finally caught up with it this morning. I did say to myself yesterday that I wouldn't try again as it's not a particularly fun experience driving/walking around a housing estate with bins and a camera as understandably some residents feel as though you are up to no good!

As this morning was probably my last chance for a while, as we are due to get the keys to our new house today, then I thought I'd nip down there for an hour or so after dropping the children off at school. The past couple of days the bird has been in front gardens along Freshwater Drive, somewhere I have checked on numerous occasions, so I initially drove around here a couple of times with the usual outcome. I then thought I would change tack and walk around the road as it might not actually look quite so bad as slowly driving around but was prepared for the confrontations which may ensue. I parked in Carisbrooke Crescent and started to walk down to Freshwater Drive, as I neared the junction of the two there it was on the pavement across the road. As I lifted my camera it took flight and landed on the roof of 48 Freshwater Drive where I managed to get a couple of shots before it flew off to the small green. It alighted in a silver birch so I thought I'd nip back and jump in the van to use it as a hide so as not to flush the bird. Another birder present stayed with the bird but predictably it had flown off over some houses towards the play area and we couldn't relocate it.

Happy that I had seen it and got some photos, although not the ones I really wanted, I thought I'd head home especially as it started to snow and the light for photography completely went.

The estate agent has just called to say the keys are ready - today is a good day!