My New Zealand 2001 Category Award Winners (Drumroll Please)

Most Endangered Bird Black Stilt Only 24 in existence as of a couple of years ago. South Island, near Twizel. Captive breeding and release program under way.
Friendliest Bird (tie) New Zealand Robin. Fantail. Both birds hang around, knowing that our feet would stir up insects. Sharon can call in a Fantail at will.
Best Shorebird Red-necked Stint Huddled against the cold wind, in a deep footprint in the sand, at Foxton Beach, North Island. Beautiful color on neck.
Best Whistler Blue Duck The male whistles and the female answers in a lower tone. These birds are extremely hard to find. You have to know somebody. Tongariro National Park. North Island.
Biggest Surprise (tie) Reef Heron. Cape Barren Geese. Reef Heron flyover, on Stewart Island, just after we had mentioned it. Cape Barren Geese, investigating us on St. Anne's Lagoon by sailing out of nowhere, after I played my Minidisc recording of a Diving Petrel.
Best Day 1 uncommon and 3 very, very tough birds New Zealand Dabchick, Bittern (heard only), Marsh Crake and Spotless Crake.
Best Sound, Flying (tie) New Zealand Pigeon. Tui. New Zealand Pigeon (whooom, whooom, whooom), and Tui (has one missing feather, in its design, and its wings make a very distinct buzzy, whirring sound as it flies
Best Bird that Almost Died Out Saddleback Tiri Tiri Matangi. Non-existent now on either North or South Islands.
Most Rewarding Bird Stewart Island Kiwi Stewart Island, Ocean Beach, 45-minute boat ride in the dark, then 20-minute hike over and down a ridge, then about 90 minutes walking up and down the beach. This is what you come to New Zealand to see, if you are a birder.
Best Fantasy Bird Penguins Years ago, I thought these birds lived only where there was ice. Not so, we saw 16-inch Blue Penguins and 24-inch Yellow-eyed Penguins come ashore at Penguin Beach, Tairoa Head, Otago Peninsula, South Island, in the two hours before dark, with the Blues waiting till the last ten minutes before dark.
Best Bent-bill Bird Wrybill All bills of this shorebird are bent noticeably to the right -- every one.
Best Dive from 50 feet Gannet We saw one plunge straight down into Marlborough Sound, viewed from our ferry while crossing from the North Island to the South Island
Biggest Bird Royal Albatross Wingspan 3 meters -- that's 10 feet. Unbelievable.
Best Mimic Tui These birds can imitate almost any sound, it seemed. And the double cottonballs on the neck are spectacular.
Most Frantic Bird Stitchbird These birds, who exist on only four New Zealand Islands, respond to Sharon's call in a most agitated state, bouncing back and forth. The males are a beautiful black, yellow and white.
The "Finally" Bird Black Fantail The books say that Pied Fantails make up most of the population, but Black Fantails make up 20% or so. I would make it to be about 5% at most. Anyway, after Sharon had seen two or three, we both finally saw one on the South Island, at Knights Point, on the west coast. They are all black except for a tiny white "teardrop" behind each eye.

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