New Zealand, Miranda, Coramandel and Rotorua, 28-29/10/11

We left Orewa beach this morning, retracing our journey back to Auckland and then on to the Miranda Bird Observatory, on the Firth of Thames. We arrived at lunchtime  and had short walk up to the small observation hide.It was low tide so most of the waders were some way off. Despite this, I managed to pick out my first Wrybills out on the mud, then, to my surprize one individual dropped in behind the hide. It clearly had a broken leg. Knowing that a return visit in the morning at high tide would be more productive, we left to check into the Miranda Holiday Park.


Bird video grabs from my New Zealand 2011  DVD 
(see "Trip DVDS For Sale" tab at top of page)

We spent the afternoon driving up the beautiful Coramandel peninsula coast road seeing Spotted Shags in good numbers.

Spotted Shag

Birds seen at Miranda:
Paradise Shelduck 4
Gray Teal 30
Wild Turkey 20
Pied Cormorant 1
White-faced Heron 20
Swamp Harrier 10
Wrybill 30
South Island Oystercatcher 20
Variable Oystercatcher 8
White-headed Stilt 100
Marsh Sandpiper 1
Bar-tailed Godwit 4000
Ruddy Turnstone 1
Red Knot 1000
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 6
Black-billed Gull 200
Red-billed Gull 20
Kelp Gull 20
Gull-billed Tern 2
Caspian Tern 5
White-fronted Tern 10
Eurasian Skylark 20
Welcome Swallow Common
Australasian Magpie 5
Common Myna Common
European Goldfinch 10
House Sparrow 10

A memorable highlight back at Miranda Holiday Park was taking a dip in the thermal pool. 

The first couple of hours the following morning were spent at the hide at Miranda waiting for high tide. Thousands of Bar-tailed Godwits and several
hundred Red Knots made up the bulk of the wader flock. 6 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and about 30 Wrybill and my only Gull-billed Terns of the trip were also present.  To my disappointment, the high tide left the birds largely on the far side of the distant exposed spit and not in front of the hide as
hoped for. 

We then set off to Rotorua, famous for it's geysers and thermal springs. We spent the afternoon Te Puia, with about a million other people trying their best to get on the soundtrack of my video. We did enjoy the geysers though!

Lake Rotorua provided nice views of the endemic New Zealand Scaup and nice opportunities to video both Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants.

Birds Seen at Lake Rotorua:
Black Swan 4
Pacific Black Duck 1
New Zealand Scaup 40
Little Black Cormorant 4
Little Pied Cormorant 30
Purple Swamphen 10
Red-billed Gull Very Common
Kelp Gull 30
Caspian Tern 1

We stopped overnight at the Thermal Springs Holiday Park in Rotorua.