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The traveling Najade is traveling II

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Najade, 16 Oct 2017.

  1. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Australia
    This is the view from the plane. Zoomed in as far as my camera (not a good one) would allow.
    The binoculars are definitely a must. The view without them wasn't that great.
    I'd imagine the heli get's you closer and doesn't have to circle (but also cost about triple).

    re boat: That's kind of what I figured.
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    With the boat, the part of the Sperm Whale you see is just the forebody (I guess about a third of the length) and of course the boat isn't allowed to approach the animal closely - the viewing is pretty underwhelming. Only the dive makes up for it.
     
  3. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Australia
    Day 8
    Arthur's Pass

    In the morning I went to the information centre to ask for advice on where to find my target birds. The Yellowhead location was an hour back the way I'd come so they were off. I did find Tomtits and Robins in the wooded areas behind the centre, as well as two pairs of Riflemen.:) I played their calls on my phone and they did come very close to investigate. I still only got one good picture as they are super-twitchy.

    After that I drove to the Otira Valley track to try for Rock Wren again. I was warned that it's easy to miss the parking spot and still managed to drive right past it.^^
    I don't know if there's been a landslide or sth. but I had real problems following or even finding the path after the little bridge and so it took me quite some time to get to the spot (also had to walk across some snow patches) where of course there were no birds to be found. I waited around but had to head back when it started getting dark.

    Animals seen:
    Rifleman

    Tomtit
    South Island Robin

    Animals not seen:
    Rock Wren
    Yellowhead

    Punakaiki
    At Punakaiki I had booked a tour with Petrel Colony tours to see one of the nesting sites of the Westland Petrel. It was a pretty nice tour, though we only had a couple of birds landing and leaving. (How these birds don't break their necks every time they come on land is beyond me.) I wouldn't mind coming back in one of the busier months even if at $50 it is a bit on the expensive side. Bruce, our guide, was really knowledgeable about everything seabird-related and I can recommend this tour without reservations.

    On the way there (when it was still light) I saw a couple of Weka on or next to the street, some with young.
    After the tour I drove off with Havelock as a destination in mind. This was the part of NZ where compared to anywhere else I saw the most Brushtail Possums (they have a more reddish colour there than usual).

    It was a bit of a longer drive than expected, so at some point I pulled into a camping ground to sleep and continue the journey in the morning.
    My phone had decided to stop working at this point and wouldn't recharge when plugged into the car, so I have no idea how long I drove for or what time it was.

    Animals seen:
    Westland Petrel
    Weka

    Next up:
    Havelock
     
  4. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Australia
    Day 9
    Havelock

    After an undetermined time of driving I arrived in Havelock. Because of the phone issue I booked myself into a hostel (the only night I payed for on this trip) to get my electronics back in order. I pretty much spend most of my day getting everything sorted at the hostel, booking my ferry to Wellington the next day etc.

    Pelorous Bridge
    In the evening I drove back to Pelorous Bridge to look for Bats. Maybe it was still too cold but I didn't see any. Instead I saw a Morepork hunting under the streetlights though.

    Animals seen:
    Morepork

    Animals not seen:
    Long-tailed Bat

    Next up:
    Back to North Island
     
  5. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Australia
  6. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 10
    Picton

    After about an hours drive I arrived in Picton. I took the more scenic route along the coast and saw a couple of Wekas again.

    Animals seen:

    Weka

    Interisland Ferry
    I went on the 10:45am Interisland ferry because from my research it looked like that boat had the better viewing areas. (There's three different boats with that company.) The weather wasn't too great so I ended up standing outside in the rain for three hours (with a lot of time spend getting raindrops of my binos and glasses.) There were the usual gulls and shags closer to land and further out I got good to ok-ish looks at Fluttering Shearwater and great looks at Prions flying in the ship's bow-wake. There were also Mollymawks and some dark petrels/shearwaters about but they were never close enough to identify.

    Animals seen:
    (Fairy?) Prion
    Fluttering Shearwater

    Shags
    Gulls
    Mollymawks
    Petrels/Shearwaters


    Wellington
    In Wellington I met up with E. again (remember her from Tiritiri?). We went to Te Papa where by accident I met an old friend of mine from my days studying in Fiji. After the museum all of us went out to the night market and some food and drinks.
    (Originally we were wanting to go to a Shisha Bar but there were only two places that had one or two tables respectively, and they were already taken...)

    Next up:
    Island Bay Marine Education Centre
     
  7. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Australia
    Day 11
    Island Bay Marine Education Centre

    Before leaving Wellington we visited this Aquarium first thing in the morning. It's only open Sundays from 10am to 3pm. Entry is $5.
    There is only one room. Upon entering there's a long u-shaped touch-tank on the right side, a couple of small aquariums straight ahead and a free-standing larger aquarium (the only one with signs) surrounded by a couple of bigger ones to the left.
    There were two people walking around answering questions. The species in there seem to be largely based on whatever is brought in by fishing-boats or sth at the time, which I guess explains the lack of signs to an extent.
    The most interesting species for me was a Hagfish (kept in small brightly lit tank) and I also enjoyed seeing the Gurnards colourful fins up close.
    We stayed for the octopus feeding show and then drove on.

    Gallery

    Animals seen:
    various sealife


    Next up:
    Palmerston North
     
  8. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Palmerston North
    A two hour drive took us to Palmerston North.

    Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History

    This was a nice smaller museum where we spend the rest of the day. Entry is free. They have a small number of live exhibits. There's two aquariums: one for mudfish and one for all the other freshwater species. The cave weta exhibit was being revamped, so we didn't get to see them which was a bit of a shame. The last one is a walkthrough which is supposed to house bellfrogs (good luck finding them (there were some open "windows" too so if those frogs have some basic climbing abilities they might be visiting larger NZ)) and two terrariums for the respective geckos.

    Gallery

    Animals seen:
    species list

    As there was nothing else to do in Palmerston and the weather report wasn't too great for the next day we decided to go for an indoor option and drive on to Napier (2,5h). E. got a bed at the Criterion Art Deco Backpackers and I got the backseats again.

    Next up:
    Napier
     
  9. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Day 12
    Napier
    Botanical Gardens

    Because I woke up early I went to the Botanical Gardensin the morning. But as it started raining when I arrived I just had a quick look at the aviary and then drove on to pick up E..

    Gallery

    Animals seen:

    Budgerigars


    National Aquarium of New Zealand

    I hadn't planned on visiting this aquarium (I had actually skipped it on my first stay in Napier when I was there for the Te Matatini festival in neighbouring Hastings) but am now quite happy that I did, because I saw my second species of chimaera there (they aren't around at SeaLife Melbourne anymore where I had expected to see them). Entry was $19. The aquarium is spread over two storeys with the usual set-up of freshwater and seawater tanks plus tunnel. There's nothing else really special there but it's a nice enough couple hours anyway and much better than Auckland's Kelly Tarlton.

    Gallery

    Animals seen:
    Australian Ghostsharks

    species list

    The weather still wasn't great so we decided to just drive back home to Auckland (5h) and call it a day.

    Next up
    Ti Point Reptile Park
     
  10. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Cost of the trip:
    Rental: $283.20
    Fuel: ca. $350
    Activities: ca. $365.50
    Food: ca. $100
    Accomodation: $25
    Other stuff: $18.20

    Overall: somewhere between $1,140-1,150
     
    Last edited: 2 May 2018
  11. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Went on some day/weekend trips after:
    Ti Point Reptile Park
    Hamilton Zoo
    Kelly Tarlton
    Miranda Shorebird Centre
    Auckland Zoo
    Pureora & Taupo
    Mount Maunganui


    Ti Point Reptile Park
    Because I went with two kids on a weekday after school and since it's about an hours drive and it closes at 5pm we were only there for an hour.
    The tickets were cheaper on bookme: $10 adults, $5 kids.
    It's a nice little park even if a bit rundown in places with some interesting native species although not all of them in enclosures that lend itself to actually seeing them (f.e. Three Kings Island Skinks).
    (Afterwards we went to the coast for a bit and saw an eel in a little stream.)

    Gallery

    Animals seen:
    species list
    eel

    Next up:
    Hamilton Zoo
     
  12. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Hamilton Zoo
    I got invited on this trip the same morning, so didn't have time to contact anyone there beforehand. The two animals I would have most liked to see I of course didn't (don't really understand why zoos build enclosures where you won't see the inhabitants). We still had a good time and befriended a Kakariki, who decided to investigate us more closely. The zoo has some very nice looking enclosures and I'd definitely recommend a visit.

    Gallery

    Animals not seen:
    Hochstetter's Frog
    Australasian Bittern

    Next up:
    Kelly Tarlton
     
  13. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Kelly Tarlton
    The worst SeaLife-clone I've been to so far. I knew before I went not to expect much and was still underwhelmed (collection is meh, signage is meh, facility as a whole is meh, too expensive even with a $20 deal). Basically just decided to go because I was bored that day and wanted to see the Pipehorses (not sure if they are kept anywhere else?).

    Gallery

    Animals seen:
    Spiny Pipehorse


    Next up:
    Miranda Shorebird Centre
     
  14. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    There is a reasonable collection of birds (native and exotic) in Palmerston North too, at the Esplanade Aviaries, which would have been worth checking out. I know there were plans to redevelop that, but I'm not sure what progress, if any, has been made.
     
  15. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    The bittern is often visible, and if you can't spot it then try to be at the aviary at the talk time to ask a keeper if they can point it out. Obviously you won't see the frogs, their purpose there is not display...
     
  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    There was a post a while back (I think on a Hamilton news thread) saying that the bittern has died.
     
  17. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that was the info I had at the time. Then I asked a volunteer at the Rhino talk who made it sound like it was still around. But yeah, no idea which one was correct.

    Re Frogs: if you go through the trouble of building an enclosure in a part of the zoo accessible to the general public why not try to make it one where people have at least a chance of seeing the animal in question?
     
  18. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Australia
    Miranda Shorebird Centre
    On the morning of the 05.11. I went to Miranda Shorebird Centre (you can look up the tides online to time your visit). First stop was the centre itself where you can borrow binoculars and spotting scopes. I got myself a scope (I think it was $10) and drove to the other parking lot a couple meters back up the street.
    Walking to the viewing hut there was a big flock of godwits flying a couple of circles overhead which was pretty impressive. I set up my scope and had good looks at them. There were quite a few people there (mainly families) and a lot of them wanted to try the scope so for at least an hour I was back to binos.
    A bit further down the path I got stilts and wrybills (the main one I wanted to see) at the stilt ponds.
    On the way back I met some Danish birders that had just come over from Aussie and we had a quick talk before I decided to head back to the car park, where I discovered that all three cars parked there had been broken into (side window smashed and everything). So I headed back out to tell the others and we spend the next 2h on the phone with the police and their car rental company (they didn't have a NZ Sim yet so I let them use my phone). Luckily I had no valuables in my car but the others had wallets, cameras, lenses (expensive ones) etc stolen. I returned the scope at the centre and the guy there made it seem like break-ins at that parking spot are not uncommon (so park at the centre!)
    Back home I had to arrange my car repairs with the insurance company and mechanics...

    Gallery

    Animals seen:
    Wrybill

    Spur-winged Plover
    Australasian Pied Stilt
    Oystercatcher
    Bar-tailed Godwit
    Lesser Knots
    Welcome Swallow
    Eurasian Skylark
    gulls
    terns

    Next up:
    Auckland Zoo
     
    ZooBoyNZ and TZDugong like this.
  19. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Auckland Zoo
    I'd sent an email to the zoo to ask if there was a specific time when best to see the bats and frogs because I hadn't seen them on my previous visits (this was my 4th).
    Sadly there's no bats anymore and the frogs are off-show.
    Luckily for us (me and E.) the curator offered to give us a tour where we got to see all the good stuff :cool:.
    (Still missed out on (the last remaining) Takahe again.)
    After the tour we had a walk around the rest of the zoo because E. hadn't been before.

    Gallery

    Animals seen:
    Orange-fronted Kakariki
    Cobble Skink
    Archey's Frog

    Animals not seen:
    New Zealand Lesser Short-tailed Bat
    Peripatus

    Next up:
    Pureora & Taupo
     
  20. Najade

    Najade Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Australia
    Pureora Forest Park
    As the Tutukaka pelagic I'd wanted to go on and had booked a rental car for got canceled because of the weather I decided to come here instead. The Greater Spotted Kiwi at Otorohanga Kiwi House was still not back on show otherwise I would have stopped there on the way.
    To save some money on fuel etc. I'd advertised on fb to get some travelmates and so had two French guys with me (never doing that again).
    You can borrow a bat detector for free from Auckland Council, so I got one the day before (Long-tailed Bats are at 40Hz, Short-tails at around 24Hz)

    After picking up my travel buddies we drove down with a quick coffee stop on the way.
    There's a field base at Pureora but it's closed on the weekends (I'm sure that makes sense to somebody...) and there's no mobile coverage.

    Totara Walk
    Our first stop in the morning was the short Totara Walk where we only saw a Kaka, Kereru and Robin.

    Mount Pureora
    After that we drove on to climb up the Mount. On the way up I saw Rifleman (a lot shier than the ones on SI), Fantail and Grey Warbler. A couple hours and some freezing winds at the top later we headed to the Forest Tower.

    Gallery

    Forest Tower
    On the way in we flushed a Kakariki (do red and yellow both occur here?). Kakas were abundant and easy to see from the tower. We also saw Fantail, Tui, Kereru and Whiteheads and Tomtit on the way back to the car.

    Buried Forest
    Next stop was the Buried Forest which has to be the worst case of what I complained about here. We saw quite a few California Quails on the road leading there.

    Car Park

    In the evening we headed back to the car park at the Totara Walk. My travelmates were already complaining about being hungry and wanting to leave but as that had been my main reason for coming we stayed till I saw the Long-tailed Bats at dusk. The bat detector worked well.

    Without the others I would have stayed longer to try for Short-tailed Bats as well (they come out later in the night) but yeah, didn't happen.


    Animals seen:
    New Zealand Long-tailed Bat

    California Quail
    Kereru
    Kaka
    Yellow-fronted Kakariki
    Rifleman
    North Island Robin
    Grey Warbler
    Fantail
    Tui
    Whitehead
    Tomtit
    Australian Magpie

    Animals not seen:
    New Zealand Lesser Short-tailed Bat

    Next up:
    Taupo