Sep 5th, 2018 | By | Category: News
NZ Falcon Gordonton

NZ falcon sitting in a tree on Woodlands Rd, and feeling pretty much chuffed with itself. As are we – falcon are almost as rare as hens’ teeth in these parts! Thanks for the tip, Don. August 2018.


All these birds, some nationally endangered, others pretty common, have been spotted in N8N territory.  That’s the area north-east of Hamilton – including Puketaha, Horsham Downs, Gordonton, Orini and Tauhei –  helpful map below.

Currently we’re on 49 species – we’d LOVE to add to this, at least get the tally over 50, so if you spot a bird we haven’t listed, oh do get in touch.

Get in touch regardless, if you come across something interesting.  The strangest birds can turn up out of the blue sometimes – like the (dead) broad-billed prion that we found in our backyard – usually you’d only expect to see one of these oceanic petrels out at sea, but many were blown inland during a storm, back in July 2011.

So here’s our list, with notes on some of the more unusual species:


1. Dabchick – Zealong Tea Estate have up to five of these rare native grebes on their ponds, and they also occur on Lake D.
2. Broad-billed prion
3. Little shag
4. Black shag
5. White-faced heron
6. Cattle egret – there used to be a flock of these small white herons at Rototuna but they’ve been pushed out by urban expansion.  Has anyone seen any recently?
7. Royal spoonbill

Royal spoonbill

This royal spoonbill was seen preening itself beside a flooded paddock near Candylands, Komakorau.

8. Australasian bittern

This nationally endangered bittern was spotted on a farm in Gordonton. Thanks Cloudy and John!

9.  Black swan
10. Canada goose
11. Paradise duck
12. Mallard
13. Grey teal
14. Australasian harrier
15. NZ falcon
16. Pheasant
17. Peafowl – there are a few semi-feral flocks around the district, not sure if they’re really wild enough to count, but we’ll take them for now…
18. Californian quail – these cuties used to be more common, but there are still a few around.
19. Pukeko
20. Spur-wing plover
21. Pied Stilt
22. South Island Pied Oystercatcher

Pied Oystercatcher

“Is the beach this way?” This pied oystercatcher wasn’t sure what to make of the Gordonton paddock he landed in, in January this year…

23. Southern black-backed gull – abundant in many parts of the country, but very scarce here for some reason
24. NZ pigeon
25. Spotted dove – only appeared in the district a few years ago, but rapidly increasing in numbers
26. Barbary dove – one seen several years ago on Proctor Rd between Orini and Te Hoe.  Was this a vagrant from somewhere else, part of a small resident population, or someone’s pet?
27. Rock pigeon
28. Kaka – a few often visit Woodlands and Pukemokemoke in the winter, and occasionally turn up elsewhere.



Who’s a beautiful fella then? John Riddell took this great pic in 2016.

29. Eastern rosella
30. Cockatoo – back in May 1992 there were several cockatoos reported to the Ornithological Society, in Horsham Downs, feeding on walnuts.  (Thanks to Don for this reminder!)
31. Shining cuckoo
32. Morepork
33. Kingfisher
34. Welcome swallow
35. Silvereye
36. Grey warbler
37. Blackbird
38. Song thrush
39. Skylark
40. Fantail
41. Tui

A Gordonton tui strikes the right pose…

42. House sparrow
43. Goldfinch
44. Chaffinch
45. Greenfinch
46. Yellowhammer
47. Starling
48. Myna
49. Australian magpie
50! Rook – there used to be a small population on Woodlands Rd, but that was eradicated by the council as they’re regarded as agricultural pests.  Still present around the Waikato in low numbers, and occasionally seen flying over.

It can sometimes be a bit tricky deciding which birds can be counted.  Chickens sometimes get released at rest areas, but they don’t persist as a wild population.  Therefore we don’t count them.  Similarily, we’ve seen a couple of free flying cockatiels but they have almost certainly escaped from cages.  So are not added to the list.  What about turkeys?  Does anyone know of any local flocks that get by without human assistance?

Please get in touch if you have seen interesting birds in our area – helpful map below.  We are SOOOOO close to 50 species!   Email any feathered sightings to annette here.


Number 8 map

Our area

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3 Comments to “50!”

  1. Judy says:

    Hello Annette, I couldn’t see peacock? Been across the road at the time Lex & Joy were there.

    • N8N says:

      Hi Judy – thanks for your comment – I’ve listed peacocks under the more gender neutral name of peafowl, because a peacock is a boy and a peahen is a girl! Do you know if those birds are still there and if anyone is caring for them?

  2. N8N says:

    WE HAVE 50 SPECIES, thanks to Don, who lives in the UK. He wrote asking if cockatoos had been seen in the area and checking back on some dimly remembered records we found that they had. Says Don: “I’ve been waiting all week for this newsletter to see if the final 2 birds were found to make the list up 50. Forty eight is an impressive number and when you read the list you get a surprise as how you take their presence for granted. Good to see Californian quail on the list.
    “How about the seagulls – Red or Black billed? And have you ever had White cockatoo from over the west coast in the Gordonton area. I remember back in the ’80s, we were living at Horotiu at the time, hearing this racket and seeing these white birds flying from the Te Kowhai direction. It was the White cockatoos out for a day trip inland. First time I’d ever seen them in the wild.”
    Many thanks Don – we’re delighted! Now. Can we get to 60?

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