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  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 five 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,

Adult Spotted Shag

Staying the night at Tapu Reserve 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 which I guess is encouraging. Although I am wondering where all the adult birds are.

Juvenile Spotted Shag

Spotted shags now have only three known breeding sites on and near Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf.  Bird numbers have plummeted for the North Island Hauraki Gulf birds and now there are less than 1000. 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.

Adult spotted shag

Heading further North now as heavy  rain and thunderstorm warnings are forecast and a very strong Northerly.
A sheltered spot a favourite -Shelley Bay to enjoy the sunset.


Colville Bay is quite beautiful and the sun is shining and the wind has dropped. Its another day to enjoy this coastline..

Then back to Coromandel township to replenish food stocks and water before heading back South to the delightful little campsite at Tapu Creek.

 Just time for a dip in the river to refresh.

On this trip the elusive shining cuckoo's have been at every camp. It took some time to track this one down and take some photos. 

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