Ticking and dipping
April is normally a quiet month on Stewart Island. The end of the season moves out and the winter season moves in with colder nights and shorter days. However, this April has been fairly busy. I covered for the regular guide on the evening kiwi spotting trips for a few weeks and on my final trip finding seven birds!
I've also been gathering data for SIRCET doing the annual forest bird call counts. The weather was much better than last April so hopefully that's reflected in the results.
Guiding generally slows up in April but I've lead a few trips to Ulva Island and a Morepork showed well throughout the month, always in one of its three favourite locations.
The beginning of May found me scratching the twitching itch with a trip to the mainland in search of a White-necked Heron that's been hanging around Southland for the last six months. Southland is a large area with not many bird watchers so it hadn't been reported regularly but a week before I was due to head over to Invercargill it was spotted near Mossburn. I spent hours searching the area but no joy.
As North Island birders feasted on a Buff-breasted Sandpiper and a Crested Tern I had to be content with finding my first Cattle Egret of the winter here on Stewart Island. It was making its way to the golf course (one of their favourite haunts here). A few Welcome Swallows have been flitting around the township and I even saw one hawking on Sydney Cove on Ulva Island the other day.
We are just about to complete our annual stint for SIRCET once again doing the Kiwi, Morepork & Weka evening bird call counts which records the number of these nocturnal species in the township.
At the end of May I have a weeks birding in the South Island checking out some locations for the Wrybill tours - something to look forward to!