Well, after having to cancel my Whangamarino trip due to car trouble, I thought my school holidays birding spree was over, and it was back to pigeons and sparrows. Mentally prepping myself for homework, bad teachers and getting up early, I spent the morning birding in an obliging farmer's paddock, seeing nothing groundbreaking, although a Kereru (New Zealand Pigeon) gave stunning flight displays and an Australasian Harrier duelled with a veritable army of magpies. At around 10am I settled into a drunken stupor on the couch, resigned to 11 weeks of imprisonment. However, it turned out that Mum was headed to Huntly Pools anyway, so I decided to tag along and see what the birdlife at Lake Hakanoa was like. My binoculars were polished, my field guide taken off my desk, and I was ready to go. Upon my arrival I was warned to "look out for those big geese", and was immediately threatened by a pair of Black Swans with cygnets. After much hissing and arm waving on my part, I was let past. I continued around the lake, seeing a wide variety of birds, including 97 Canada geese, Pied Shags, Mallards and Pukeko. A major highlight for me was seeing a very pure Grey Duck and a New Zealand Dabchick together near the end of the walk. Dabchicks are quite uncommon in the Waikato, and pure Grey Ducks are listed as "very rare" in the Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, so as you can imagine I was very pleased. As it was only the second time I had seen a dabchick, and the first time I had a good look, I spent quite some time watching the bird, and got some passable photos comparing the sizes of the two birds. Eventually I walked away, back to the realm of school uniforms and grumpy deans.
I would definitely recommend taking a look at some of Huntly's birdlife, and while to the dedicated twitcher Lake Hakanoa won't hold any 'lifers', it is an excellent walk regardless.
|Dabchick and Grey Duck|