Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

08 December 2011

Endemic Birds [hre]

0603- Just about to go to sleep, have to be up early to catch the ferry in the morning.
1026- sleeping
1934- Sitting on the beach at Tiritiri Matangi Island watching bird.  I got a great view of a variable oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor) sitting on a rock just offshore.
2132- We were just about to dock back at Auckland.  My dad, mom, Andy's mom, and I rode on the bow on the way back.  Coming into the harbor we had an awesome view of Auckland and the barge loading area.

Lunch- Peanut Butter and jelly sandwich, some salami, ham, ritz crackers, and cheese.  We had to bring our own lunches to the island.  Ate at the visitors center. 
Dinner- picked up Turkish food, so I had lamb and rice with sweet chili sauce.  

Random fact- Navigation Bouys in New Zealand (and everyplace else but North/America and Japan) place red on the left returning.  It threw me for a major loop seeing the bouys on the wrong sides...

Woke up shortly after 8, out the door about 820.  We walked down to the ferry and loaded up.  We grabbed seats on the 2nd deck of the sterm.  We got underway and traveled through the harbor.  After we cleared the harbor we turned for Gulf Harbor where more people would be picked up.  The trip there took about an hour.  Gulf Harbor was full of sailboats, including 2 from California, one from Long Beach and one from Redando Beach.  By this point we were standing on the 3rd level.  From there it was 15 minutes by ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island.  After listening to the ranger ramble on we set off on a trail.  Spotted a saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus) almost instantly.  Birding in the thick cover was a challenge, but we managed to get some New Zealand endemics (and some non natives).  The forest was really amazing.  The New Zealand pigeons (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) were huge, and really kinda neat looking.  Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) were really common and had some interesting feathers.  Had lunch shortly after noon, and then wandered around the visitors center and giftshop.  I quickly got bored waiting for people so sat outside and watched some tuis feeding  We then set off again and had some great views of the ocean.  We made it back to the boat with an hour to spare so walked along the beech and played on the rocks.  1515 we boarded the boat (this time we all sat on the bow) and set off.  By the time we docked at Gulf Harbor only the 3 of us and Reggie were left up front.  I took a nap, then woke up in time to take a bunch of pictures coming into Auckland.  We got some gellato, then back to the apartment.  The parents and I had a beer on the balcony looking out on our 8 degrees of harbor view.  Then Is, Andy, and I went to the conference center.  Markus and Tarla had arrived, so we all talked to them for a while, then I stood by my poster.  Talked to a couple people about it, one from Santa Catalina Island, he worked on the bald eagle reintroduction project, and apparently knew Bob back when he was on the Channel Islands.  The second guy was from Northern Arizona, but did insect systematics with Mike Whitting in Utah on Earwigs and grylloblattids.  Didn't know anyone actually worked on grylloblattids.  After my poster was done I talked to Leigh for a while then then looked at some posters.  Talked to a guy from Ethiopia for a bit, he works on grassland birds (maybe he can help me get insect permits...), and then a guy working in the UAE on Houbara.  It's such a small world.  I said I was a falconer and he aksed if I was going to the festivel.  When I told him i couldn't because of this conference he said he was having to rush back to give a presentation at it. Then I mentioned I had been there earlier this year to do insect work and he asked if I was working with Tony (which I was).  Crazy...  Afte talking to these guys I found Is and Andy, and shortly after we headed back to the hotel.  Stopped and got dinner along the way and took it home to the apartments, and we all had dinner.  After they left, we planned tomorrows leg of the journey then went to bed.  I'm going to sleep on the balcony for fun...

Pictures of the last few days to come, the connection seems to be too slow to load them...

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