Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Sitting in Santiago

Well hard to believe another stint at home is over.  I've been back in NZ since late September...must be one of my longest periods in the country at least for a while.  Spent time getting some local contract work done, trying to sort a few photos for the book, etc. doing a NZ tour for Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ and trying to keep up with building a new house!  So a pretty busy period.

Managed to finish off the bird monitoring work I have been doing for the Hawkes Bay Regional Council at Napier Hill and down at Porangahau, with this being the fifth year I have completed the work.  At this stage it looks like that might be the final year for a while, but hopefully with some longer term monitoring down the track.

Also worked on a contract characterising the ecological (bird) values of the Ngaruroro River catchment, with this being a collaborative effort and fieldwork extending over a six month period or so.  I'll have some to complete when home in Feb/Mar and final report due middle of the year.  Part of this was the 'quick' reccie down the river a couple of days ago, where I taught my quad bike to swim...a long story, but lets just say it is amazing how a quad doesn't sink to the bottom of 3m of water and can actually be man-handled back to the shallows by a single person.  All in the name of research!

So it's off to the South Pacific for the next month.  I'm currently sitting in Santiago Airport, awaiting a flight to Easter Island, where we board the ship tomorrow for a month up through the Pitcairn group, French Polynesia and then westwards to end in Fiji on 20 Jan.  Should be a great trip, and of course for me the highlights will be landing on the Pitcairn group...as long as I get to see my target bird!  Of course my nemesis bird is the Henderson Island rail...how can a birder miss this flightless rail...when just about everyone else who set foot on the island that day saw it?  I even had another 45 minutes during lunch!  That day haunts me (and so does Sue Flood, who very 'kindly' got a copy of 'The Life of Bird' autographed as below for me ;)  This is NEXT time!

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