Wednesday, June 22, 2022

On The Wire

 During the last couple of weeks we have seen a plump healthy looking kereru on the powerlines in our street and at the Northboro Road entrance to Northboro reserve today. This is a little unusual as kereru have traditionally been more often seen on the seaward side of Lake road.

Except for a couple of times in past years when they ventured across our street or stopped briefly on a powerline they just are not seen .

 Hopefully this is going to be a more common event. I have always put the reason down to a lack of sightings to not enough  attractive food plants nearby. This cannot have changed in such a short space of time. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Transmitter Track

Shamrock Pea found on Transmitter track in the Waitakeri Ranges during a Bot Soc walk, 

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

Monday, May 16, 2022


First stop Ruakaka . A small group of godwits about 30 at the estuary edge feeding with pied stilt. The usual NZ dotterel and banded dotterel feeding as the tide recedes.

Disturbed three spoonbill and a white faced heron perched in the trees along the estuary edge.

Now at Russell. Morepork calling each evening and through the night. Disturbed one after dark that screeched from its perch place in a garden tree.

Weka scurry about the campsite trying to get into vehicles in the morning.

Have just driven into Paparoa. Will stay the night and then join the BOT Soc survey walk along the Paparoa walkway. The temperature has dropped along with some squally showers but we are well rugged up to cope.

Photos to follow........................

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Coromandel return to Colville

 Headed down the Miranda coast. Thousands of bar-tailed godwits and knots ready for their migration North. Some may already have left heading for China first and then to Alaska to breed.

 Good numbers of wrybill have arrived from the South Island and have settled in the arid dry stilt ponds at high tide. A small group were feeding along  the Kauai coast. including this metal banded bird..

 Then via Thames and driving North  up the Thames coastline to Coromandel town. Stayed at the little campsite on an estuary nearby. Then on to Colville passing some historic little settlements. 

We are soon on gravel roads with Mt Moehau ahead. We turn inland and cross a small hill range via a windy gravel road and soon drive past a vast wetland before the DOC campsite at Waikawau bay.

This is a beautiful location to stop for some days to explore. The beach is stunning and is 3.5kms long. It has a backdrop of some huge sand dunes.  The beach has to walked each day to reach a high tide roost site at the Northern river end. This roost attracts  white fronted terns, NZ dotterel, banded dotterel, & Caspian tern.  Five pairs of variable oyster catcher are spaced out along the 3.5 km beach but only one pair have a single juvenile bird with them and they are at the Northern end.

There are plenty of other walks including one at the southern end of the beach with fine views down the full length of the beach and with Mt. Moehau in the far distance. At the southern end and running into the campground is a smaller river and  wetland.. 

We hear the call of kiwi early evening shortly after dusk and a morepork throughout each night in the distance. With no wi-fi signal this is heaven. Such a peaceful place.

More to follow.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Heading North.

Ruakaka on the East coast first stop. Always a great place for shorebirds and sea birds. Walking through the estuary and mangroves at  low tide I came upon two spoonbill preening themselves on a dead tree with a white faced heron. So this is where they roost after feeding. 

Always looking out for banded rail in these mangrove areas. Not many godwit this time but thousands of fluttering shearwater out to sea.

Pied stilt feeding at high tide.

Then North to  the Tutukaka coastline always a favourite. Beachfront at Whangamu.  Walked the coastal track via the lookout to Ngungaru. 

At Matapouri the  clifftop walk to Whale bay is always a must. Swimming at Whale bay perfectly refreshing clear water on a very warm day. Tawapou grows here a tree found on the off shore islands.

Then north to Kawakawa to drop in on the Bay of Islands heritage railway for coffee then on to stay at Russell. Its very hot about 30C so plenty of swims at Long Bay over the hill from the town.

Then across to the West coast to Koutu Point near Opononi. Must be the best view if the Hokianga water on three sides. Thanks to the couple we met at Matheson's Bay a few weeks back for recommending this site.

Then south past the sandy beaches of Opononi through some amazing landscapes to the Waipoua forest then a first to Bayly's beach  on the wild and rugged west coast. 

 Then Ruawai The name literally translated from Maori means 'two waters' referring to the nearby Northern Wairoa River and Kaipara HarbourThe  boat ramp  is always interesting at this time of the year to  watch  white fronted terns feeding their young.

The little 1889 Zion church just off the road between Ruawai and Pahi is always worth a stop. Sadly each time I visit the church has deteriorated more. I guess its a case of note enough money to restore it. Although the lawn surrounding is well rimmed so someone must be regularly visiting.

And Pahi what a delightful little place.  Always a hive of activity particularly watching the regular oyster boats  toing and frowing the the old Pahi hotel.

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

Thursday, February 10, 2022

China Olympic Medal Winner for longest flight

  I needed to check on the birds at Shoal and do a shorebird count today. Within a short time I had spotted the bar-tailed godwit with the Chinese leg flag. This godwit has stayed since its arrival moving between Shoal and Ngataringa estuaries. 

Surely if there was an Olympic event for shorebirds this species would win Gold for their epic flight in September of around 11,500 kms none stop to New Zealand from Alaska and soon in March a 10,000 km flight to China on route to Alaska for the breeding season.

Update Two days later on Saturday 12th.

A fortunate chance to get closer to the flock I was able to get this photo and confirm that this is indeed the same godwit that stayed with the Shoal /Ngataringa flock the previous season too.

This godwit had flags attached at Yalu Jiang in April 2020

Friday, January 28, 2022

Kohuroa River Walkway


The tell tale sign of a kingfisher nest is a hole in a tree, in this case a puriri, with noisy chicks inside. That  sound builds to a crescendo rather like cicadas when the chicks hear the adults calling bringing fresh food to them.

A strong Easterly hits the Bay

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Miranda-Time for Reflection.

 A perfect hot, calm and blue sky day to visit the Miranda Shorebird Centre and catch up with Keith to hear news about the birds and Centre activities. Also to share sad notes about the loss of a great member of the shorebird team-Jim Eagles who sadly  passed away just recently.

I had many enjoyable meetings with Jim when he joined me for the Wader bird counts at Shoal and Ngataringa estuaries over recent years . We would chat over coffee afterwards and he was such an interesting and learned man to share some time with. He is deeply missed by all. 

Visiting Miranda brought that home today and it was good to have some quiet time reflecting on lost friends while enjoying the many thousands of birds some feeding but mostly roosting at high tide today. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Camping at the Kohuroa Walkway

 We were here at a similar time last year ago van camping near the walkway. The weather is brilliant with a gentle sea breeze to keep the heat down but with plenty of swims at the nearby bay that was not problem at all. No sign of young NZ dotterel this year but fun watching two young kingfisher begging their parents for food.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Kaipara - The Terns

The mission was to check out the white fronted Tern colony that had been displaced by recent storm driven high tides and so the birds had Island hopped to this smaller Island to continue nesting. 

We had the usual low tide drag of the the kayaks through and to the muddy channel edge but knew we would be rewarded on the way home later as the tide would be  in with a lovely paddle back right up to the boat ramp.

The birds were certainly here in large numbers we estimated between 350 -400 nesting pairs although it was difficult to ascertain if all the birds on the ground were nesting. as it was now high tide.

 Certainly we could see the heads of the white fronted tern chicks as they peeped out from under their parents protective wings. In amongst them was a SBBGull nest complete with a well developed juvenile. Predation could be a risk for the white fronted terns with such capable predators in their midst. 

Also at this high tide roost site were a mix of thousands of SIPO's, red-billed gulls. Knots and Bar-tailed Godwit all rather fidgety and suddenly they were all up except the nesting white fronted terns who just stayed on task protecting their young and eggs. 

Just before this estimated 6- 7 thousand mix of species  took off five Fairy tern with their flickering  quick direction changing flight flew in briefly but soon left heading down the eastern side of the island. Later we were able to observe one of these birds at the western high tide roost site that the disturbed birds had now settled at.