Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Our hotel was located at the southernmost end of Lake Rotorua, in an area known as sulphur flats. (read stinky). But once you got used to the aroma of rotten eggs, the birding was rather good! The inland lake has a good population of Black-billed Gulls, a species that frequents inland lakes and is the most threatened gull species in New Zealand. Good numbers of Pukeko were present foraging among the gulls. Check out this funky PukekoMania blog with lots of humorous images and not so funny hazards. We saw Pukeko in wetlands throughout New Zealand, a truly gorgeous blue rail with a bright red bill, and legs.
Sunrise was spectacular!
Sulphur Flat is home to many endemic species, including New Zealand Dotterel, White-fronted Tern, and Black-backed Gull.
At Rainbow Springs, we visited a Kiwi breeding facility where eggs are removed from nests located in the wild, hatched and reared in captivity, and then released near their nest sites when they are large enough enough to defend themselves from stoats, rats, cats, and possums. We also got to see the native Tuatara, the ancient reptile, unique to New Zealand.
Dave and Betty, who hail from Wisconsin, posed in front of the giant kiwi at the park.

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