Saturday 14 July 2012

Stranger at the duck pond

On Sunday 8th, I visited the Auckland domain a second time for two reasons. The first was it was very near the hotel and the second was that I felt I hadn't done it justice the day before due to jet lag.

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.

spotted dove

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment