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New Zealand South Island

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Terry Thomas, 1 Feb 2020.

  1. Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    NSW
    Can anyone advise me of the best places to see/photograph native NZ birds in captivity on South Island.
     
  2. Gondwana

    Gondwana Well-Known Member

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    I was recently able to visit South Island. Best spot for birds is probably Stewart Island, but assuming you mean South Island proper Dunedin is a good place to get a wide range of native birds. Many of these are wild rather than captive but many of these wild birds are guaranteed sightings at point-blank range. There are three key spots around Dunedin:

    1. Dunedin Botanic Gardens. Has an aviary with mostly exotic parrots but also includes native parrots (Kea, Kaka, and two species of parakeets). Also has lots of ducks on site, most of which are feral mallards, but you should be able to find Pacific Black Duck and Paradise Shelduck.

    2. Orokonui Ecosanctuary. A predator-free fenced reserve, similar to Zealandia on North Island but smaller. Takahe, Tui, and Bellbird are all fed at scheduled times and are very tame. Kaka are fed as well but I didn't see any when I visited. South Island Robin aren't fed but are still tame. Many of the other native forest birds are also possible here with a bit of work.

    3. Otago Peninsula. Has breeding colonies of many seabirds and wading birds, including Royal Albatross, Little Blue Penguin, Yellow-eyed Penguin, Otago Shag, Spotted Shag, Little Pied Shag, Silver Gull, Pied Stilt, Royal Spoonbill, etc. The easiest way to see and photograph the albatross and penguins is by paying to access the main colony sites -- Royal Albatross Centre for Royal Albatross and Little Blue Penguin, and Penguin Place for Yellow-eyed Penguin. For free viewing, there is a platform at the end of the peninsula where you'll eventually see albatross if you wait long enough (but no nesting behavior), and a few penguins can be seen on the quieter beaches in the morning and evening.

    Surprisingly, there isn't anywhere in Dunedin where kiwi are displayed. They are present in the Orokonui Ecosanctuary but there are no night tours so no way to see them. Outside of Dunedin the best bird viewing is probably in Fiordland. I found the forest birds to be much more abundant and easier to see here than elsewhere in South Island, and Fiordland Crested Penguin can be photographed in Milford Sound during nesting and molting season. There is a kiwi center in nearby Te Anau where they can be viewed and photographed.
     
  3. Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Location:
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    Many thanks for the info. I will be going to all of these places so hope to get some decent shots.
     
  4. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    The Arthur's Pass area is also pretty good, but you need at least a moderate level of fitness. There are Rock wren in the Otira Valley and Kea are around on multiple places too. There is also a good forest which has Orange-fronted Kakariki and many other good forests birds, the Orange-fronted Kakariki can be hard to find though.

    I would also suggest you go to Kaikoura, which has fantastic albatross tours (we saw 7 species & plenty of other sea birds in 3 hours + 2 dolphin species all close to the boat). Additionally there is whale watching for Sperm Whales there.

    The best spot would still be Stewart Island, with most of the endemic birds relatively easy to see (both on the main island, but especially so on Ulva Island) and it also has multiple albatross species close to the shore (and you can also do albatross tours from there).
     
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  5. Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Location:
    NSW
    Many thanks for the info.