Using the Birdingpal resources you must agree to the following: If you contact a local Birdingpal and make arrangement to go birding, you should note it is common courtesy to make sure you show up for the appointment. If for any reason you are unable to do this, the least you must do is contacting the local Pal right away.
Please note that most Birdingpals are serious birdwatchers. It is a privilege to contact them, and your message should reflect it. A local Pal does not get paid, but should he/she offer to take you out birding, using their own vehicle, it would be courteous to pay for the fuel. A lunch and/or a small gift would also be appropriate, something as simple as a souvenir of your country, or a pin from your local birding club.
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I have recently moved from the UK and am still discovering NZ for myself to some extent. I am a early 30's international birder with a lift list of 1800 but now a NZ lister and also a volunteer guide on Tiri Tiri Martangi.
I know a few local hotspots within a few hours drive of Auckland where I can help you find NIB Kiwi, NZ Dotterel and Wrybill and am also up for the odd weekender to look for some birds I haven't got round to seeing yet further afield.
I share a car so can only drive on request.
Nearby Auckland reserves which vary depending on time of year
North Island Brown Kiwi, Wrybill, NZ Dotterel and Kaka
I came to the Christchurch area in 1997 from the UK, being interested in birds off and on (mostly on) since I was five. Was Canterbury regional rep of the Ornithological Society of NZ for 7 years from 1999 and currently edit that Society's quarterly magazine, Southern Bird. The recent arrival of my and my partner's (Hyeza) first child has slowed down travel and birdwatching, but prior to that I covered all the easily accessible corners of the South Island and Stewart Island, and good chunks of the North Island as well, birding as I went. I class myself as a generalist amateur ornithologist/birder not concentrating on any particular group of birds or habitat, and enjoying both fieldwork (e.g. bird
counts and atlas work) and just the birds themselves. I'd struggle to choose a favourite species, but Eastern Curlews are pretty neat birds and hearing a call that surely came from the supposedly extinct South Island Kokako a few years ago was a stop-in-the-tracks jaw-dropping experience that I'd like to repeat some time - preferably with a sighting and photo to go with it!
Birding in the Christchurch area affords a good mixture of shore, wetland and forest birds. The city is often bypassed by
foreign birders, who perhaps lump it with the rather birdless and highly altered Canterbury Plains to the north and west. However, areas of the original swamp on which the city was founded are still present, or have been re-created, making possible very close views of species such as New Zealand Scaup, Grey Teal and Australasian Shoveler. The estuarine eastern fringe has
good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits, Pied and Variable Oystercatchers, shags/cormorants, Royal Spoonbills and gulls/terns. Nearby bush on Banks Peninsula rings to the songs of Bellbirds, the whooshing of New Zealand Pigeon wings, and Tomtits are making a comeback in places. Further to the east around Akaroa these latter bush species can be seen in greater numbers, with the
addition of Brown Creeper and Rifleman. The huge wetland that is Lake Ellesmere is close by to the city with thousands of wildfowl, especially Black Swan and Grey Teal; large flocks of Banded Dotterels, Pied Stilts and Wrybills at certain times of
the year; and records of many nationally rare waders (the first NZ records of Painted Snipe, Little Stint, Long-toed Stint and Stilt Sandpiper were from here). Just over two hours to the west is Arthur's Pass National Park with its New Zealand Robins, Yellow-crowned Parakeets, Great Spotted Kiwis and an almost complete range of other forest birds, as well as Kea, Rock Wren and other alpine species. Two and a half hours to the north is the seabird heaven of Kaikoura and a huge range of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters.
Palmerston North, Manawatu
I am familiar with the best birding locations in the lower North Island, Wellington and Wairarapa regions. Happy to provide advice to local visitors.
If you contact a professional Birdingpal guide you must be prepared to pay a fee for guiding services.