Notes on Bird Life of the Area.
Although gannets form a population which has little if anything in common with other birds inhabiting the adjacent area, it seemed not without interest to record some of the field notes taken during our visits (Table 2).
|Species.||Number and Where Observed.||Remarks.|
|1. Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor)||Single bird on beach between Clifton and Black Reef.||F. H. R.|
|2. Black Shag (Phalacrocorax carbo)||About half a dozen birds including a juvenile on Black Reef Rocks.||Scarce in the district.|
|3. White-fronted Tern (Sterna striata)||3–4 birds seen feeding off shore every day.|
|4. Black-backed Gull (Larvus dominicanus)||Common on beach and also inland.||A flourishing nesting colony of at least 50–60 pairs on steep slopes north of Black Reef.|
|5. Red-billed Gull (Larus scopulinus)||A few birds.||F. H. R.|
|6. North Is. Oyster-catcher (Haematopus reischeki)||Heard single bird flying up coast at dawn.|
|7. Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae)||Odd birds in gullies.|
|8. Harrier (Circus approximans)||Common, but no more than 2–3 birds seen daily in Kidnappers area.|
|9. Hedgesparrow (Prunella modularis)||A few heard in shrub-covered areas.||Introduced.|
|10. Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret)||A few throughout.||"|
|11. Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)||Numerous around plantations and shrub-covered areas.||"|
|12. Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)||Plentiful throughout in pairs and flocks.||There is a large amount of thistles on pastures. Introduced.|
|13. Sparrow (Passer domesticus)||A score or so near hut, also feeding on beach.||Introduced.|
|14. Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)||Not uncommon.||"|
|15. Grey Warbler (Gerygone igata)||A few birds in shrub-covered gullies.|
|16. Lark (Alauda arvensis)||Plentiful in Cape Kidnappers area.||Introduced.|
|17. Blackbird (Merula merula)||Common throughout shrubs and plantations.||"|
|18. Thrush (Turdus ericetorum)||Less numerous than blackbird.||"|
|19. Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)||Plentiful throughout both on cliffs, where it probably nests, and in countryside, where flocks of 10 to 40 birds were observed.||"|
|20. Californian Quail (Callipepla californica)||One pair seen.||"|
|21. Mynah (Acrodoceres tristis)||Pair observed near rest-hut; plentiful throughout district near homesteads.||"|
|22. White-backed Magpie (Gymnorhina hypoleuca)||Does not appear nearer to the cape than Clifton.||"|
Cottrell (1923) observed the following species: black-backed and red-billed gulls, white-fronted terns, and silver-eyes.
Of the 22 species of birds observed, five (excluding the gannet) belong to the sea or shore birds. Two species (Sula serrator and Larus dominicanus) were nesting, while a third, Sterna striata, which, according to Cottrell (1923), was then nesting on the Black Reef
rocks has apparently shifted its nesting quarters elsewhere. The landbirds present a rather typical, bird population of pastoral districts of the Hawke's Bay district with three species of native birds (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae, Circus approxomans and Gerygone igata) still surviving in varying numbers. Finally, it seems evident that some of the introduced birds (Sturnus vulgaris, Alauda arvensis, Acrodoceres tristis) have adapted themselves very well and are probably on the increase.