13th Mar 2024

"Birding the Antipodes" - New Zealand tour initial report

Limosa's recent tour to New Zealand concluded recently with an impressive selection of endemics being seen.

Limosa's recent tour to New Zealand concluded recently and Limosa guide, Sav Saville, who led the trip reports as follows:

"It is hard to start a tour of New Zealand in a better way than having prolonged, close views of a large female North Island Brown Kiwi and Morepork on the first night and then New Zealand Storm-petrel, Pycroft’s Petrel and Black Petrel (plus a Bryde’s Whale) on the second day!

The next 2 days were spent at Tawharanui and Tiritiri Matangi with Takahe, Stitchbird, North Island Saddleback and all of the other North Island endemics.

Around 2,000 Wrybill at Miranda included many at 10m or less range. Many thousands of other waders were also present.

A perched Long-tailed Cuckoo was a rare enough treat, but to have that on the same day as great views of Fernbird, Yellow-crowned Parakeet and Blue Duck was wonderful.

The first albatross species (Shy) was seen from the inter-island ferry, and then into the Marlborough Sounds for point blank views of Orange-fronted (Malhebe’s) Parakeet, King Shag and South Island Saddleback – as well as the delightful Hector’s Dolphin.

The short boat trip at Kaikoura is always a great time, and ours did not disappoint with eight albatross taxa (including several Southern Royals) present among a total of 16 tubenose species.

The mountains of central South Island are the home to the world’s only Alpine, carnivorous parrot – the Kea and these entertained us at Arthur’s Pass.

Our second kiwi species (Rowi or Okarito Kiwi) was found at Okarito, and then down to Fiordland where we had an amazing close encounter with a New Zealand Falcon.

On to Stewart Island, where three Southern Brown Kiwi were seen, plus the last remaining forest endemic – Yellowhead. Dapper, newly moulted Fiordland Crested Penguins were present on rocks and the next day we were lucky to find two Yellow-eyed Penguins near Oamaru – this species is on its way to extinction on mainland NZ.

With one full day to go, and one “big” species to see, we headed into the MacKenzie Basin and were rewarded with extraordinary looks at a pair of Black Stilt, feeding unconcerned by our presence in bright, warm sunshine. What a fitting end to a tremendously successful tour."

Our next departure of this special tour, which like our 2024 holiday will be led by Sav, will start at the very end of October 2025 and for further details, please click here.

The full trip report and systematic list will be available in due course - please contact the office if you would like us to send these to you when they are ready.