Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 14, 2011

A Day out in Christchurch

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — steve_happ @ 10:00 am

Christchurch Birding.

This morning I went for an early trek to Englefield Reserve which is in the suburbs to the North-west of Christchurch. It is a nice little park but was devoid of birds except for Blackbirds and Song Thrush. That was a bit disappointing so I trekked on down to the Supa Centa and caught a bus into the City Center. I had a Bus pass which allows you as many trips in a day for $4.60, so I went out to the airport to suss it out for my departure to Australia.

New Zealand Scaups video

Then it was back to the city center and off to the Botanic Gardens which are behind the museum. They are quite large and there are lots of exotic plants and a few ponds.

Christchurch Botanic Garden
Botanic Gardens pond

I saw a few ducks and the ubiquitous Blackbirds and Song Thrush. I got to one pond and a pair of New Zealand Scaup (Fulica atra) were feeding right in front of me, sometimes coming to about a meter away from me. I got some great footage and you can see it in the video above. The male New Zealand Scaup has a yellow eye, while the female does not, but has a white face patch during the breeding season. On the way back I took a few photos of the beautiful flowers and foliage.


I was blown away by the green of these leaves. I have no idea what it was.

green leaves
Green leaves

Then I took a photo of this really old gnarly pine tree. It was like something out of the Lord of the Rings, where the forest comes alive.

old pine tree
Old pine tree

I also saw a pair of Silvereye and they looked remarkably like the Tasmanian sub-species. I had better check that out later. Its later now and I did do a search but could not find anything. I will have to look into it a bit further. It does seem that Silvereyes did migrate naturally from Australia and were not introduced. I did find it after all, and it seems I was right. I found this on a website at

“The Silvereye is an adaptable bird capable of spreading to new habitats with ease. In the 1830s they turned up in New Zealand, apparently after being blown off course when crossing Bass Strait from Tasmania, and they are now common in that country. There are several races of Silvereyes, but it’s only the Tasmanian race that performs the incredible migration across Bass Strait and up the east coast of Australia. Other races do migrate and cover considerable distances, but they don’t compete when it comes to this annual long-distance migration.”

Christchurch Birds

Song Thrush
Paradise Shelduck
New Zealand Scaup

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