Saturday, May 26, 2018


With predicted high winds and the kayaks loaded up on the car we had the option to avoid the kaipara West coast and head East instead. However we thought the winds were manageable but when we arrived at the coast they were higher than anticipated.

We were committed now and it was a struggle to get to the our normal landing place on the island. Instead we washed up on a deep pooled muddy stretch of mangrove. The tide was going down so we left the kayaks tied up to the mangroves  and carried on with the days tasks of monitoring traps and bait stations.

Later returning we realised that the receding tide had revealed very deep mud and so the only thing was to carry the kayaks around the mangrove and deep mud obstacle to our usual homeward launching place..

 More to follow.............

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bayswater school Enviro Group - High Tide bird watch.

As a follow up to my talk to Bayswater school Enviro students on the 8th May today's visit was planned to actually see the birds of Ngataringa estuary at High tide. So with two scopes at the ready and a few blocks of wood kindly prepared by Graham to allow students the correct height  to access a good view through the scopes we were set to go at 1pm, using the great viewing deck at Graham and Ngaire's house.

SIPOS & VOCs and pied stilt behind
 73 Wrybill and one spur-winged plover
Great enthusiasm as the students excitedly looked at the birds while some students kept note in a special bird book they had created to add their bird observations in. This booklet had a super cover designed by the students.

High Tide 1.06pm  3.2Metres.

Birds Recorded
Wrybill  x 73
Pied Stilt x 64                  (described by a student as having ‘flamingo like’ long pink legs)
SIPOS   x  60                   (South Island Pied Oystercatchers)
VOCS    x 15                    (Variable Oystercatcher)
NZ dotterel x  7                (four in early breeding plumage)
SBBG  x 2                        (Southern Black-Backed Gulls)
White- faced heron x1      (hidden at the back)
Caspian Tern x 2         
Kingfisher x 4                  (Spotted by the students on the wooden posts and cabbage tree)
Spur-winged plover x 3    (noted by one students as having a yellow beak and a grey back)
Pukeko  x 1                      (Spotted by one of the students)
Starlings x                        (a few flying around)
Sparrows x                       (a few flying around)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Birthday Treat

Its a childhood thing, visiting the zoo on my birthday. It doesn't happen every year but as a child a visit to London zoo was a big event. Today I spent the morning at the excellent Auckland zoo. Cooler days are better as the animals are more active.
Photos to follow.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Miranda Musings

The Miranda Chenier plains are an enigmatic landscape.  Maybe its simply the mystery and wonder of the thousands of birds that visit here or could it  be at a deeper more personal level that I struggle with to fully fathom out.

Birders heading for the Pied Stilt hide
Wrybill adjusting their location on the shell banks

A fine day to be here and enjoy the birds. Great to catch-up with some familiar faces and enjoy their news updates and stories. The Miranda team as usual always helpful and full of knowledge that they are always prepared to share. On arrival at the Wrybill hide Adrian was ready to share a sighting of a lone black-tailed godwit. A rare sight. Adrian then pointed out the features including a very straight bill compared to the usual bar-tailed godwit that we see. updated 22.05.2018

More to follow............................................

Monday, May 14, 2018

Heading North

Winding up the East coast. Just testing to see what additions will allow going 'off grid' for longer periods. Neat walks watching whiteheads flit about in the Regional park.

Sunsets and sunrises to enjoy. Listened to a morepork last evening but no luck with kiwi. Feels just like summer with warm sunshine again at times. Probably wont make Matapouri on this trip.

Heading back. Due for a  Kaipara visit next..........................................

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Enviro Group Talk

It was great fun to meet the Enviro group students of Bayswater school yesterday and share some of my photographs of the birds to be seen in Shoal and Ngataringa estuaries.

My talk was called 'Keeping the Shell Banks Safe for Birds'.

A Big Thank you to Steve for making this happen and to Dianne the class teacher for allowing me into a busy school timetable. And a big thank you to all the students for sharing their really interesting bird stories.

In two weeks time we will visit Graham's house that looks over the High Tide roost site in Ngataringa estuary and we will attempt to count the birds.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


Light wind forecast that's so much better than last weekend for kayaking. Perfect for this weekends  project/visit to the island. Traps show two stoats and a weasel. Many mice prints too.
South Island Pied Oystercatcher roost site

Approx 2000 + SIPOS on HT roost ( the thin black line)


Mainly banded dotterel and a few NZ dotterel

Crop Detail Showing in this photo(41) banded dotterel and (3) NZ dotterel

More to follow................................

Thursday, May 3, 2018

OMG ! and an update

Hilarious topic for our MINTS gathering dinner party coming up this evening. Cant wait.

An hilarious evening with a 'tears to the eye' story of a cycling accident and the unfortunate injury which I probably shouldn't go into here except to say that Margi is back in Auckland for a few days. We are making plans for next years Ruapehu MINTS get together. Good to catch up with Margi, Sooz, Leslie, and Neil. Sorry that Helen P couldn't make it.

A busy week with the predator control project, shorebird monitoring and a hike up the coast in beautiful sunshine.
 Just putting the finishing photos to a PowerPoint for a local school talk for next week.

Heading away for the Kaipara project this weekend.