Tag Archives: Shakespear Park

Cicadas at Shakespear Park

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It’s been a long time coming this blog. I just had a look at the last time I wrote anything and it was way back in November. And it was about cicadas which I’m just going to write about now. How can I call my blog Birding Around when cicadas keep popping up!

I  talked at Shakespear Park on Sunday (at SOSSI’s monthly volunteer day for those who can’t make it on Tuesdays) about the cicada species of the area. There are ten species that I know of, which is often a surprise to people. Most of us know the large loud chorus cicada of February but not the smaller, quieter ones singing any time from mid-October through to May-June.

Until recently I only had nine species on my list but I borrowed a bat detector from a bat guy and stumbled across a new cicada for me in front of the beachfront campground at Orewa. The reason for the bat detector, and the reason I haven’t found this species before, is that the high frequency song of some of the cicadas is beyond my hearing.

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I think it’s Rhodopsalta cruentata but I need someone to check the photo and confirm this. It was singing on lupin bushes behind the dunes and kept singing even when I was very close.

Anyway, the morning at Shakespear Park was very enjoyable and we found a few of the Kikihia (Green cicadas) that some of our group hadn’t seen before. We were productive,too, in our task of weeding out a small legume which is becoming a nuisance on the back of the dunes along Te Haruhi Bay – coincidentally where R. cruentata would be found if it was present in the park.

 

More robin nests at Shakespear

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Had an absolute stunner of a Shakespear day for sunshine and finding robin nests. We have four nests now and still none found at Tawharanui. The nest pictured is in a kiekie about two meters off the ground and easily photographed without disturbing the female. Next time I check her I’ll look to see how many eggs she has while she’s off the nest. Such tolerant birds.

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I heard the resident single male robin singing in this valley behind the campground this morning so if you’re camping at Shakespear Park this summer you might get a dawn chorus of robin as well as whiteheads and all the regulars. The paired males generally sing a lot less so if he’s not so vocal later in summer it may mean he’s attracted one of this year’s fledglings as a mate. They won’t nest until next season though.You’ll find some robin song on this link.

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Who lives here

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Around the coastal cliffs at Shakespear Park there are some really nice patches of bush. I was checking one of these for robins the other day and came across a couple of burrows. One looked newish but unused, but this one looked well used. I’d believe it was a little blue penguin as they do nest in the park and they will walk a long way from the coast to their burrow but this one has quite a cliff below it. Maybe it’s a grey faced petrel as they nest locally – I’ll have to check it out.

The sun was going down by the time I finished and a few minutes later the moon rose behind me (yes, photos taken in that order).

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First robin nest at Shakespear Park

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Ok, this isn’t a Shakespear bird – all the North Island robins released there this year have bands on their legs. But the big news is that the first robin nest has been found at Shakespear Park so they’ve made themselves at home very quickly. In fact they’re a couple of weeks ahead of the usual start to nesting in early September. During the winter males and females tend not to get on very well. About now they start to tolerate each other (translates as ‘the male stops chasing the female away’). Then he’ll begin to courtship feed, collecting food to present to her. So the seasonal pendulum swings. As long as the nest survives I’ll follow it through to fledging. Fingers crossed.

Shakespear Park walk

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Thanks to all of you who came to Forest and Bird’s – Discover the Wetlands walk at Shakespear Park yesterday. Though it was bracing in the wind we were unbelievably lucky to have the sun at least. I hope you get the chance to pick a nice day to do the walk again and find yourself a spotless crake. Take your binoculars as there is usually a lot more life about than we saw yesterday.

I noticed this morning that the dawn chorus was early. Over the last few weeks it has moved from 6.55 to 6.45 but this morning the first tuis and thrushes called at 6.33. A short while later a morepork called before going off to bed. I do love that day/night crossover, particularly in the evening when the tui is making its last straggling calls as the morepork begins a night of hunting.

Shakespear Park birds

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After making a bird list at Tawharanui a couple of weeks ago I thought I should do the same for Shakespear Park. I have to admit I was surprised the tally was so close because I think of Tawharanui as having more birds. It certainly has more bird-life in sheer numbers but species wise is not so different. Here’s the list of what I saw and heard in a couple of hours:

black backed gull, red billed gull, pied stilt, banded dotterel, NZ dotterel, godwit, kingfisher, black swan, spotless crake, banded rail, white faced heron, variable oystercatcher, paradise shelduck, mallard, little shag, sparrow, starling, myna, fantail, grey warbler, yellow hammer, goldfinch, chaffinch, North Island robin, whitehead, NZ pigeon, spotted dove, harrier, tui, blackbird, song thrush, magpie, spur winged plover, pukeko,welcome swallow.

The detail in the photo above shows a morepork (owl), a NZ pigeon and a tui, and is a corner of the picture frame you see below.

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