Saturday 6 November 2010

Hunt for the sharp-tailed sandpiper!

This is the blog for 5 Nov...
Up to a cloudy and very humid morning on Tiri.  We spent time walking the tracks and getting to know some of the birds seen the day before a little better, before catching a water taxi back to the mainland.  The ride back was a little bumpy with a stiff breeze from the SW, but we bundled into the van and headed southwards.
With time up our sleeves before the high tide at Miranda we made a diversion across Auckland to the Waitakere Ranges to ‘Ark in the Park’.  This is a mainland location where intensive predator control and reintroduction of endangered birds is occurring.  We made this our lunch stop, scanning the hills surrounding  the carpark for birds, with a lot of NZ pigeon flying around and displaying, as well as tui, bellbird, grey warbler, fantail and silvereye.  Our first dunnock of the trip was heard singing, and a brief attack by a harrier on a tui nest was seen, with the harrier seen to make off with a black blob in its talons and tui aggressively calling and chasing.  No sulphur-crested cockatoo though!

We then headed back through Auckland and towards Miranda.  Checking into the accommodation we then headed to the Miranda Shorebird Centre to see what had been seen recently, before then heading down to the Stilt Ponds.  The tide was coming in and looked like it was going to be fairly high, so the flocks of bar-tailed godwit and red knot that were out on the mudflats were soon starting to be pushed higher towards us.  Amongst the small flock of about 50-odd wrybill we spotted three curlew sands, three red-necked stint...and bird of the day for Art – sharp-tailed sandpiper.  These things are rarer than hen’s teeth whenever Art is around, so when the first bird I saw as I walked up to the hide was a sharp-tailed sandpiper, I knew he was going to be a happy can tell what his vote for ‘Bird of the Day’ went to!  The flock of black-billed gulls were getting amorous and looked like they were starting to attempt nest-building.  Several Royal spoonbill and Pacific golden plover were around, and we just enjoyed the spectacle as the godwit and knot were gradually pushed off the mud and flew overhead to roost on the ponds.  Pretty cool.  No hudwits or black-tailed amongst the godwit though, and the semi-palmated plover that has recently been around Miranda didn’t show its beak.

We then headed down to Kaiaua to the famous fish and chip shop for dinner, before retiring back to the accommodations to do the checklist (and some to take a dip in the hot pools!).  Meanwhile I tried to catch up on blog, photos, etc. whilst my wife and mates partied up for her birthday, sending me photo-texts of the havoc they were creating with my BBQ, using my favourite mug, and even wearing my motorcycle helmet around the house!  Who needs enemies with friends like this ;)

Bar-tailed godwit flying overhead to roost on the Stilt Ponds

Red knot and bar-tailed godwit against the clouds

Wrybill...bird of the day for most!

Bird of the day – 
Royal spoonbill x1, sharp-tailed sandpiper x1, wrybill x4

Day total – Seen = 62 + 2 heard (pheasant & dunnock); new for the trip = 5; total for the trip to date = 106

No comments:

Post a Comment