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Chlidonias' 2010 list of things (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Due to last year's excesses of the monetary kind I shall no doubt be restricted to New Zealand this year and my birding restricted to weekends, and hence I estimate 2010's year list to total only about 80 or so bird species (as opposed to last year's 535). Shamelessly stealing the idea from a couple of other members, this will be a thread of not just my birds but also mammals, herptiles and anything else that takes my fancy.

First morning before work I took a short stroll around the Bexley Wetland and estuary edge in Christchurch:

1) Little pied shag Phalacrocorax melanoleucus
2) Black-backed (kelp) gull Larus dominicanus
3) House sparrow Passer domesticus
4) Common starling Sturnus vulgaris
5) Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
6) Spur-winged (masked) plover Vanellus miles
7) Paradise duck Tadorna variegata
8) Australian magpie Gymnorhina tibicen
9) European goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
10) European blackbird Turdus merula
11) Welcome swallow Hirundo tahitica (neoxena)
12) White-faced heron Ardea novaehollandiae
13) Red-billed gull Larus scopulinus
14) Canada goose Branta canadensis
15) NZ pied (white-headed) stilt Himantopus leucocephalus
16) NZ scaup Aythya novaeseelandiae
17) Grey teal Anas gracilis
18) Black-billed gull Larus bulleri
19) Black shag Phalacrocorax carbo
20) South Island pied oystercatcher Haematopus finschi
21) Pukeko (purple gallinule) Porphyrio porphyrio
22) Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
23) European greenfinch Carduelis chloris

Outside my place of employment I saw the exceedingly rare...
24) Feral pigeon Columba livia


Well-known member
2 January

Second day of the year, again before work, I went to Hagley Park to see if I could spot a little owl, something which somewhat to my surprise I actually achieved; then I took a wander round the Botanic Gardens next door and found a few more of the common Christchurch birds:

25) Song thrush Turdus philomelos
26) Little owl Athene noctua
27) Waxeye Zosterops lateralis
28) Common chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
29) Redpoll Carduelis flammea
30) Hedge sparrow (dunnock) Prunella modularis
31) NZ pied fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa


Well-known member
5-7 January

Getting my hands on some cheap bus tickets I took a weekend (well, three days) trip down to Dunedin. It wasn't really a bird trip but I saw a few species. The bus ride down wasn't any good, with the only "new" birds for the year being harrier, skylark and spoonbill, as well as a few hares (but no rabbits). The garden of my lady friend yielded numerous native pigeon, bellbird, tui and eastern rosella (the latter two unavailable around Christchurch so that was good), while a hitchhike to the albatross colony at Taiaroa Head provided northern royal albatross, spotted and Stewart Island shags, variable oystercatcher and NZ fur seal. On the bus back to Christchurch some black swans were seen on the bay near Waitati

32) Australasian harrier Circus approximans
33) Skylark Alauda arvensis
34) Royal spoonbill Platalea regia
35) NZ pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
36) Eastern rosella Platycercus eximius
37) NZ bellbird Anthornis melanura
38) Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae
39) Variable oystercatcher Ostralegus unicolor
40) Northern royal albatross Diomedea sanfordi
41) Stewart Island shag Leucocarbo chalconotus
42) Spotted shag Stictocarbo punctatus
43) Black swan Cygnus atratus

1) European hare Lepus europaeus
2) NZ fur seal Arctocephalus forsteri


Well-known member
13 January

Another weekend but only a couple of hours to spare. I was going to go to both the Styx Mill Reserve and the coastal suburb of Sumner to find a scattering more of the common local birds but I never made it to Sumner in the end. A surprise at Styx Mill was a (presumably confused) young hedgehog sneaking across a lawn in the daylight. There's not many mammal species found round Christchurch so it was a welcome third on the list:

44) Common coot Fulica atra
45) Grey (Pacific black) duck Anas superciliosa

3) European hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus


Well-known member
20 January

this weekend I did get out to Sumner after all, where a visit to the Charlesworth Reserve by the estuary provided me with a flock of roosting godwits and banded dotterels as well as a couple of terns and a pied shag which is something I should by rights have got on the very first day of the year (something I could also say of the NZ shoveller, which as yet remains stubbornly unobtained)! A return visit to the Styx Mill Reserve did not gain me any Californian quails...year lists are fun but also very stupid, chasing after very common birds that you've seen a million times before but which you absolutely cannot find if you actually go out specifically looking for them! I did see a little bunny wabbit though, varmints though they are.

46) Bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica
47) Banded dotterel Charadrius bicinctus
48) Caspian tern Sterna caspia
49) Pied shag Phalacrocorax varius
50) White-fronted tern Sterna striata

4) European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus


Well-known member
27 January

getting a bit sick of not having NZ shoveller on my year list yet, I headed this morning to the Travis Wetland where they are normally abundant. Not today, naturally. There were a few around but nowhere near the numbers there usually are. I'm not sure where they're all hiding. There was also, however, a pair of brown teal paddling around right in front of the hide which can't be sniffed at. On the walk home I passed by Lake Kate Shepherd where there was a little black shag perched on the jetty. These aren't at all common around Christchurch (or most of the rest of the South Island) but they've just recently started breeding over at the Sewage Ponds. I've never seen one close enough in good enough light to see the eyes before - they are fantastic!

51) Brown teal Anas chlorotis
52) New Zealand shoveller Anas rhynchotis
53) Little black shag Phalacrocorax sulcirostris


Well-known member
17 February

my list isn't exactly rocketing upwards, but the regular glossy ibis returned to Travis Wetland from Australia last week so I went along to tick it off. He's a bit earlier this year than previous (usually he appears in March sometime). Glossy ibis of course aren't a normal NZ bird but there's one or two every year turning up for the winter somewhere in the country. This or another ibis has been coming to Travis since 1999!

54) Glossy ibis Plegadis falcinellus
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Well-known member
9 March

February was an almost total bust, with the only bird going on the list being the glossy ibis. However pelagic trips are good for increasing the year list and simultaneously emptying the stomach, so I headed up to Kaikoura in an effort to add some for March. Sadly the boat ride was probably the most disappointing of any I've done off Kaikoura. No more than about twenty albatrosses of just four species (one of which, the northern royal, I'd already seen this year down in Dunedin) and just a couple of handfuls of petrels and shearwaters.

55) Northern giant petrel Macronectes halli
56) Hutton's shearwater Puffinus huttoni
57) Cape petrel Daption capense
58) Gibson's wandering albatross Diomedea gibsoni
59) Salvin's mollymawk Thalassarche salvini
60) NZ white-capped mollymawk Thalassarche steadi
61) Sooty shearwater Puffinus griseus
62) Westland black petrel Procellaria westlandica
63) Buller's shearwater Puffinus bulleri
64) Black-fronted tern Sterna albostriata

Off the boat, the seal colony about a half-hour walk from town yielded nothing out of the ordinary, but over the canal in town I spotted a kingfisher (and about time too!)

65) Sacred kingfisher Todiramphus sancta
66) Grey warbler Gerygone igata

In the canal under the kingfisher's perch an eel went sliding gracefully past. I've never kept a year list for fish before and I can't really see it going anywhere as most fish have of necessity to go unidentified, but here's number one:

1) Short-finned eel Anguilla australis

A rummage around in some discarded rubbish revealed the year's first and potentially only reptile.

1) Common skink Oligosoma polychroma


Well-known member
24 March

utilising a day off work when I unusually had nothing else to do, I popped over to Lyttleton Harbour and took a wee ride on the Black Cat Wildlife Cruise. Honestly, not much was seen bird-wise outside of the usual shags and gulls apart for a northern giant petrel (which I'd already seen earlier in the year up at Kaikoura). But I ride for free so can't complain, and the main reason I went was to see the Hector's dolphin, one of the smallest in the world and also one of the rarest. They're pretty reliable but they ones we saw today didn't want to hang around and play, and we didn't actually see much of them except for a few seconds of dorsal fins. I'll head over to do the wildlife cruise on Akaroa Harbour at some stage soonish (also for free) where there is more chance of seeing white-flippered penguins and killer whales amongst other nice denizens of the briny depths.

5) Hector's dolphin Cephalorhynchus hectori


Well-known member
7 April

6) House mouse Mus musculus

they come inside as the weather starts getting colder in autumn. I knew there were some in the house because other people were seeing them, but I was waiting till I got a look at one so I could add it to the year list before I started trapping them :D


Well-known member
5 May

so I did get over to Akaroa this week. I was going to go a couple of weeks ago and go out on the boat but never got round to organising it -- then saw on the local news that a blue whale had been seen from the Black Cat that very day! Talk about gutted!!

I had to wait a couple more weeks till the school holidays were over, then headed over on the shuttle between Christchurch and Akaroa. I had three hours to wait till the boat went out, so hung around the patch of bush at the Old French Cemetery. Plenty of bellbirds, waxeyes and fantails, and even a pair of tui, but none of the brown creepers I was looking for.

The weather was cold, and it was windy, but at least it wasn't raining. There were quite a few Hector's dolphins dodging around the bow, and I also spotted the bird I was after, the white-flippered penguins (a local form sometimes treated as a seperate species from the little blue penguin, but not by me). Six or seven Buller's albatrosses added another new species for the year. And best of all, my little girl's stomach held up to the sea and I didn't throw up. Yay for me.

67) Little blue (white-flippered) penguin Eudyptula minor
68) Southern Buller's albatross Thalassarche bulleri


Well-known member
6 June

a bunch of us headed back over to Akaroa to see the Hector's dolphins again today; nothing new on the boat ride, bird-wise - some white-fronted, black-fronted and Caspian terns, spotted and pied shags, and singletons of Cape petrel, southern Buller's albatross and NZ white-capped albatross (no penguins). On the way back to Christchurch we stopped off at Price's Valley to see the resident cockatoo flock, now standing at 40-something birds (introduced - "plastic" - birds obviously, but that don't bother me none)

69) Greater sulphur-crested cockatoo Cacatua galerita


Well-known member
30 June

#70 a female ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus at the Styx Mill Reserve. The list keeps rocketing onwards......|^|


Well-known member
3 August

off for my only overseas trip of the year, to sunny New Caledonia, courtesy of some cheapish airfares. The plane was delayed in Auckland due to fog (they couldn't find the plane....) so I arrived in New Caledonia later than anticipated. First bird of the trip was, as may have been expected, common mynah at the airport, followed by spot-necked doves and an Australasian harrier on the ride into Noumea. I had been going to book the bus to Yate for the next day to get me to Riviere Bleue but the ticket booth at the bus station was already closed, however while wandering round town I came across various other introduced birds (house sparrow, feral pigeon and red-vented bulbuls), some local forms of other birds (silver gull, glossy swiftlet and rainbow lorikeet), and also a couple of endemics, the unimaginatively- (and rather inappropriately-) named dark-brown honeyeater and the green-backed white-eye. This last one had me worried because the field guide suggested it should only be in the forests, yet it was common all over Noumea. I thought maybe the local subspecies of silvereye looked really odd and that that's what I was seeing but no I was right the first time (although in fact I saw very few silvereyes anywhere, somewhat surprisingly). In a patch of wasteground next to the Noumea Aquarium was a small flock of common waxbills. I was staying at the only cheap option in Noumea, the Auberge de Jeunesse (Youth Hostel), in the bathroom of which were introduced house geckos.

71) Common mynah Acridotheres tristis
72) Spot-necked dove Streptopelia chinensis
73) Silver gull Larus novaehollandiae
74) Glossy swiftlet Collocalia esculenta
75) Red-vented bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
76) Rainbow lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
77) Dark-brown honeyeater Lichmera incana
78) Green-backed white-eye Zosterops xanthochroa
79) Common waxbill Estrilda astrild

2) House gecko Hemidactylus frenatus


Well-known member
4 August

A storm blew through in the night and so, as I'd heard that Riviere Bleue closes up when it rains, I booked a bus instead for tomorrow to get me to Farino. For today I visited the Aquarium and then took a wander in the drizzle around the Ouen Toro forest park in the south of the town, where I saw a few new birds for the year. A white-faced heron flying over the city added to the trip list but not the year list.

80) Grey fantail Rhipidura albiscapa
81) Fan-tailed gerygone Gerygone flavolateralis
82) Rufous whistler Pachycephala rufiventris
83) Shining cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus


Well-known member
5 August

There's no bus specifically to La Foa anymore but most of the buses heading north pass through there so its not a problem and there are several options for times. No tourist travels by bus in Noumea, they all hire cars, and it soon became obvious why - the buses don't go anywhere near the places you want to get to! From the Fonwharry junction a couple of kilometres past La Foa, where the bus drops you off, you have to get a further 5 or 6km to Farino, and then the Refuge de Farino is another few km further on from there. Hitching is supposed to be easy in New Caledonia, but not on this day. I walked a long time uphill with my gear before what must surely have been the hottest girl in the country stopped to give me a lift. On the plus side of the walk was that I saw a New Caledonian crow. I set up my tent in light drizzle at the Refuge's campground, while New Caledonian myzomela, horned parakeet and striated starling played in the surrounding trees. Once the tent was up I set off for the 8km walk to the Parc des Grandes Fougeres, seeing cloven-feathered dove, white-throated pigeon and New Caledonian friarbird along the way. Also along the way was my first experiences with New Caledonian dogs. These are NOT pleasant! Everywhere I walked in New Caledonian I was threatened and several times physically attacked by dogs. I dislike dogs at the best of times, and I was pretty much freaked out for half of my trip. It really did put a severe damper on my enjoyment of the holiday! Once past the dog section of the walk and onto the unpaved road leading from the bridge junction up to the park, I got in sightings of New Caledonian whistler, red-throated parrotfinch, brown goshawk and long-tailed triller. The park itself was already closed by the time I got there, as I had known it would be; I was merely trying out the walk for time. Did I mention today was my birthday? Nine new species was a nice present. [non year list birds seen today that were new for the trip list were silvereye, sacred kingfisher, purple gallinule and Pacific black duck]

84) White-breasted woodswallow Artamus leucorhynchus
85) New Caledonian crow Corvus moneduloides
86) New Caledonian myzomela Myzomela caledonica
87) Horned parakeet Eunymphicus cornutus
88) Striated starling Aplonis striata
89) Cloven-feathered dove Drepanoptila holosericea

90) White-throated (metallic) pigeon Columba vitiensis
91) New Caledonia friarbird Philemon diemenensis
92) New Caledonian whistler Pachycephala caledonica
93) Red-throated parrotfinch Erythrura psittacea

94) Brown goshawk Accipiter fasciatus
95) Long-tailed triller Lalage leucopyga

on the walk to Farino I started up several rusa from by the side of the road. These deer are very common in New Caledonia. I had also seen a house mouse in Noumea this morning, but I'd already seen one of those this year.

7) Rusa Cervus timorensis


Well-known member
6 August

today was spent at the Parc des Grandes Fougeres. I gave up on the imaginary bird known as the New Caledonian grassbird and instead scored with New Caledonian flycatcher, Melanesian cuckoo-shrike, streaked fantail and yellow-bellied robin, none of which were imaginary at all. Really there didn't seem to be many birds around in the park that day, it was pretty quiet overall.

96) New Caledonian flycatcher Myiagra caledonica
97) Melanesian cuckoo-shrike Coracina caledonica

98) Streaked fantail Rhipidura spilodera
99) Yellow-bellied robin Eopsaltria flaviventris


Well-known member
7 August

it rained and rained and rained all of the day, so I sat in my tent and did absolutely nothing. It got so bad that all the other campers packed up and drove off, until all that were left were me and an Australian/New Caledonian family. That night their tent caved in and freezing water cascaded through onto them, so they also left. The one new animal for the day were several fish in the nearby stream that I believe to be Awaous guamensis

2) Awaous guamensis


Well-known member
8 August

I got back to Noumea quite easily today with a ride from near the Refuge to La Foa with a gentleman who had five words of English to go with my five words of French, and then a further ride to Noumea with a huge dreadlocked Kanak who spoke not a jot of English but did set a new land-speed record for reaching the capital. Hitching really is very easy in New Caledonia, even if you don't speak a lick of French. A walk round the Ouen Toro forest park in Noumea yielded nothing new bird-wise.

I saw a lot of skinks in the forests but even with the help of the New Caledonian field guide almost all of them had to remain unidentified. However one individual of common litter skink was distinct enough at Ouen Toro to allow me to count it:

3) Common litter skink Caledoniscincus austrocaledonicus


Well-known member
10 August

although Riviere Bleue is closed on Mondays I took the Yate bus yesterday (Monday) to the turn-off to the park. There's only one bus a day to Yate and it doesn't leave till 11.30am, so I figured it would make sense to go there the day before and camp at the nearby site of Les Bois du Sud so as to be on hand to enter the park first thing in the morning. Have I mentioned no tourists travel by bus? To get to Riviere Bleue without a car you take the bus for an hour out of Noumea, get off on the highway, walk 2.4km to the park HQ then its a further 10km to Pont Perignon where you can get a shuttle to the camping area of Pont Germain. Why the shuttles don't just run all the way from the HQ I don't know. Fortunately, as has been said before, hitch-hiking is easy in New Caledonia, and I got a ride in a passing car to Pont Perignon. But before that, on the walk out from Les Bois du Sud campsite in the dawn I saw my first New Caledonian parakeets, very much like the NZ red-crowned kakariki from which they've been split, but with noticeably yellower plumage. Then right near the junction of the highway and the road running to the park HQ I saw my first barred honeyeaters and a whistling kite, as well as various other birds I'd already seen (rainbow lorikeets, friarbirds, rufous whistler, etc). After getting dropped off at Pont Germain by the shuttle I set off along the road to look for birds, of which I found plenty. The Grand Kaori trail was particularly productive, giving me my first southern shrikebill in a birdwave of local passerines. I finally also managed to find New Caledonian imperial pigeons, reputedly the largest arboreal pigeon in the world (their specific name is goliath which speaks for itself). Finally for the day, after I'd set up my tent and was writing up notes, a kagu came wandering out of the forest and started feeding on the campsite lawn. Being late afternoon the light was failing so I only got quite poor photos but never mind. Honestly the kagu was a bit of an anticlimax as it had a wierd "familiar" look to it, like a cross between a seagull and a spur-winged plover. I thought at the time it was my 1000th bird but it later turned out that I hadn't seen long-tailed triller before so in fact the kagu comes out as number 1001 (on my current list, until taxonomic changes shuffle it again). A kagu I found the next day in the forest - where it should be seen - was a much better experience, so I think the campground surroundings had something to do with the unexciting aspect to today's kagu.

100) New Caledonian parakeet Cyanoramphus saissetti
101) Barred honeyeater Phylidonyris undulatus

102) Whistling kite Haliastur sphenurus
103) Southern shrikebill Clytorhynchus pachycephaloides
104) New Caledonian imperial pigeon Ducula goliath
105) Kagu Rhynochetos jubatus

a short night walk produced a Rhacodactylus auriculatus up in a tree which I was most elated about. Its not the best time of year for finding geckos; apparently in summer they're all over the roads as males go searching for females.

4) Knob-headed giant gecko Rhacodactylus auriculatus

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