Sunday, December 1, 2019

Coromandel Coast

Just packing the scope and camera to head to the Coromandel. One of my projects is to search for the now rare endemic Hauraki Gulf spotted shag along the coastline.
 If I find them I will try and count the percentage of juveniles seen to pass onto Tim at the biodiversity team.

Heading up the Coast and using the scope to check rocky islets and guano covered rocks below pohutukawa trees I eventually spot some young shags. Locating the position I manage to get closer to count them and then realise that the majority are juvenile spotted shags with just two adult birds with their distinct black throats. I am pleased to have found these.
The adult birds are quite stunning and of course I am not seeing them in full breeding plumage which would be around August,

We stay the night at Tapu so that I can venture back in the morning for another look and a second count. This time I see more birds but still most of them are juveniles.

Spotted shags now have only three known breeding sites on and near Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf.  Bird numbers have plummeted from 10,000 in the early 90's to less than 1000 now. There are still spotted shag populations in the South island.

I continue to search the coast and spot another group of birds on a rock. Again I GPS'd the location and photograph the birds and count them. This time they are all juveniles.

Heading further North now as  rain is forecast.

Photos and More to follow...…………………...