This is a companion to my Bird of the Day blog, which focuses on birds I have seen in Victoria, Canada.

When my husband and I started planning a trip to New Zealand, I was delighted to read about the large number of unique birds that reside there. Having exhausted the supply of new birds at home, this was a welcome opportunity to continue my birding education. This blog will cover the various birding sites on the North and South Islands and (hopefully) the multitude of birds we encounter there.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bethells Beach / Muriwai Beach

To the west of Auckland, there is a string of black-sand beaches which are popular with the surfing crowd. Despite previous warnings, I was surprised to find the sand burning hot. Any that slipped into my sandals had to be quickly shaken off; it was quite painful. The birds didn't seem to mind it though.  At Bethells Beach, Red-billed Gulls and White-fronted Terns were enjoying a sunny day at the shore.

Red-billed Gull

White-fronted Tern

The highlight of our day was the Gannet colony at Muriwai Beach.  Hundreds of these birds were spread out over the rocky cliffs. Many of them were quite young, ranging from white balls of fluff to mottled black and white plumage.  The adults were gracefully stunning. They were also quite affectionate, with a lot of neck-rubbing and snuggling going on. It was adorable

Australasian Gannets

Adult with baby

Gannet colony

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