female paradise shelduck
One of the most obvious things about this visit was the huge increase in people in the park compared with the day before. Families out on Sunday morning walks swelled the numbers. On the day before, a significant minority had been keep fit fanatics running across the park. Indeed, its clear New Zealand has more than its fair share of sporting types whether running in the parks or playing a variety of sports in the near-by fields.
Several families were clustered around the "duck pond" feeding the birds. An assortment of pigeon, house sparrow, red-billed gull joined the odd duck or too.
male paradise shelduck
Indeed a couple of the ducks looked very odd to me. They turned out to be a male and a female paradise shelduck. Most observers think this is one of the rare species where the female bird is more attractive than the male. Either way this was yet another lifer.
Another pair of ducks were mallard. Even among the ducks we had a mix of the local and the imported. Mallard is apparently common throughout New Zealand presumably courtesy of the British colonists.
first cycle kelp gull
One bird was much larger than all the others in the melee to be fed. It looked strangly out of place. I posted on birdforum and it was easily identified as a first winter kelp gull which is sometimes also called the southern black-backed gull. It was yet another lifer although I have seen its close cousin in southern Africa called the Cape gull.
second view of kelp gull
Escaping from the hordes of people I took to one of the park's woodland walks. I made a good choice.
part of one of the woodland walks
Here I met several Tui which is the largest honeyeater, and also an endemic bird.
They were very noisy with very varied sounds. They certainly looked exotic in a suburban environment.
side-on view of Tui
Of course, the route also had New Zealand fantail, silver eye and the array of British-originated birds mentioned in yesterday's blog. It was another strange mix of fauna , not just of the birds but the trees too. It's not surprising that New Zealand is so strict now on bio-security when you enter the country.
I managed to get a much better look at spotted dove than yesterday just before I finished the walk. The picture is much better too.
I'll post the first of four blogs on Samoa tomorrow (internet willing). Then the real fun begins.