Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 2, 2011

Otago Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 6:07 am

Birds of Otago.

The Sinclair Wetlands was my first stop off after I left Balclutha on my way to the Otago Peninsula. These wetlands are on the western side of Lake Waihola. They are doing a great job regenerating the bush back to native plants and trees. The area was covered in scottish heather which may look pretty but does not belong there.


Birds of Otago video

I just went for a wander around the edges of the waterways and happened upon some Redpoll (Carduelis flammea) which is an introduced Passerine from Europe. The Redpoll is the smallest of the finches that were introduced from Britain in the 1860’s. They are now very common throughout New Zealand. They were feeding together and as soon as I got a bit close they would all take off together. Up on the hill I managed to get a fairly wide shot of a New Zealand Shoveler (Anas rynchotis variegata). There are two subspecies, the nominate rhynchotis ( Australasian Shoveler), breeds in Australia and the New Zealand variegata breeds in New Zealand. They inhabit lowland swamps, lagoons and lakes. They feed on seeds, insects and earthworms.

On the eastern shores of Lake Waihola near the picnic area I finally managed to get some footage of the Black-billed Gull (Larus bulleri). The Black-billed Gull inhabits inland lakes, rivers and estuaries. They have a thinner bill than the similar Red-billed Gull and a slimmer build. And of course they have black bills and black feet. As I was walking back I saw this Blackbird (Turdus merula) chick that must have fallen out of its nest. I had a look around for its parents but it seemed to have been abandoned. The Blackbird is an introduced passerine from Europe and they are very common in parks and farmlands.

When I got to the Otago Peninsula this morning, it was windy and raining. I was not impressed. I went and had a look inside the Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head and then went outside to the cliff top, hoping to see some Albatross, but no luck. I did manage to get some great footage of some Spotted Shag (Stictocarbo punctatus), a New Zealand endemic bird. If you look closely at the video, you will see small spots all over the back feathers. I guess that is why it is called Spotted Shag, doh!

Otago Bird list

Chaffinch
Redpoll
Mallard
Blackbird
Paradise Shelduck
New Zealand Shoveler
New Zealand Scaup
Black Swan
Yellowhammer
Welcome Swallow
Canada Goose
Red-billed Gull
Black-billed Gull
Spotted Shag
Little Shag

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