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.