So who is this weirdo?

Hi! My name is Liam and I am a beginner birder living in Glen Massey. I first became interested in birds after a 6-month missions trip to Papua New Guinea in 2016, and my interest grew from there! I am now a member of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Young Birders New Zealand (OSNZ and YBNZ respectively ). So now, I'm starting this blog so I can share my birding adventures with anyone who will listen ☺.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

My favourite spots

So, what are the best birding spots in the Waikato? In my quest for places that are within the driving range of parents who would really rather be somewhere else, I have come across a few places that really seem to stand out as the birding hotspots of the area. While I have not yet thoroughly explored this area, I now have a good idea of which places I will be spending my petrol money on once I have my drivers licence.

OK, enough blather. Here are my top three:

3. Pureora Forest Park - 11 birds

I've only birded here once, because it is a really long way from my house, but it was great. The park itself is massive, and one of the only places in the Waikato where you can see blue ducks (whio), yellow-crowned parakeets (kakariki), long-tailed cuckoos, and riflemen. The one time I did go there, I missed out on the whio, but saw riflemen, LTCs, kaka, and the usual bush birds. So why is my life list for this place so small? We went at the worst possible time, early afternoon. I can only imagine what it would be like at dawn, and hope to go camping there some day so I can see kokako and whio.

2. Maungatautari Ecological Island - 27 birds

This is a great place for bush birds, especially kaka, tomtits, North Island robins, North Island saddlebacks, stitchbirds and whiteheads. Because it is fenced with a pest-proof fence, many rare species are kept here, like Takahe (only available on a tour of the wetland), North Island Brown Kiwi, and Stitchbirds. Maungatautari has excellent walking tracks, and is an ideal place to take the family. Bring a jacket, however, because it can be really cold in the shade.

Tomtit at Maungatautari

1. Miranda Shorebird Centre - 48 birds (!)

According to eBird, this is the best spot in New Zealand to see birds, with over 100 birds found there. In the summer, many Arctic migrants are found, including thousands of Bar-tailed Godwits, Red Knots, various sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, both oystercatchers, etc. This is an excellent place to stay, offering very basic accommodation at very agreeable prices. I was very fortunate in seeing a very rare Fairy Tern, of which there are only about 40 of in New Zealand! During the winter, you may see the rare White Heron, along with Royal Spoonbills. Oh, and a lot of White-faced Herons. Definitely go to Miranda, although if you are an NZ birder you would have been there countless times already, and don't need my advice 😀. Also, remember to check the wetlands and mangroves for Banded Rails, bitterns and Grey Teal.

I am always on the lookout for new spots, so if you know of any, please post them in the comments below.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Glen Massey birds!

Glen Massey is the sort of place that only has a name because cartographers feel embarrassed about having big empty spaces on the map. And I love it.

Because of its quietness and tranquillity, the birdlife in GM is excellent, with many more species than other towns. My GM life list so far is 33, with introduced finches and gamebirds making up a large proportion. I enjoy birding up Kereru Road, seeing on average 25 birds in about an hour.

NZ Fantail - Common
NZ Pipit - Uncommon
Grey Warbler - Common
NZ Pigeon - Uncommon
Paradise Shelduck - Common
Tui - Common
Bellbird - Uncommon

White-faced Heron - Uncommon
Australasian Harrier - Common
Pukeko - Common
Shining Cuckoo - Common (during spring/summer)
Sacred Kingfisher - Common
Welcome Swallow - Abundant
Silvereye - Common

Introduced species:
Mallard - Common
California Quail - Common
Feral Chicken - Uncommon
Ring-necked Pheasant - Uncommon
Wild Turkey - Common
Eastern Rosella - Common
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Rare
Australian Magpie - Common
Skylark - Abundant
Eurasian Blackbird - Abundant
Song Thrush - Abundant
European Starling - Abundant
Common Myna - Abundant
Yellowhammer - Abundant
Chaffinch - Common
European Greenfinch - Common
European Goldfinch - Abundant
Common Redpoll - Rare
House Sparrow - Abundant

Some Photos:


Sacred Kingfisher

NZ Pipit

California Quail



NZ Pigeon


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Hi and welcome!

Hello everyone!
Thanks for making it this far! Hopefully a few people will have read this, even though currently there is NOTHING to do with the Waikato OR birding. Soon I will have something posted, I promise ☺. To keep you occupied until that day/month/millennium here is some info about me:

I am a 15 year old birder living in the Waikato, in Glen Massey. My passing interest in birds exploded into a passion-bordering-on-obsession during a 6-month missions trip to Papua New Guinea, and now, 9 months and 172 birds later, I decided to write a blog. (Or at the very least, try). I also have a Flickr account which you may stumble across, and I pity anyone who does... But, if you do want to see it, here it is:

That's all for now, soon I will post on the birds found around my home village, plus info and a post on my 3 favourite birding locations...