Saturday 7 November 2015

Wattles and waders

So it seems some sleep more sound than others, and luckily I slept pretty sound.  Our shared bunkrooms reverberated a little during the night with what I think was snoring, but luckily most managed a good nights sleep.  The dawn chorus started fairly early (outside the bunkrooms) and this prompted a few to get up early and head out to see what they could find.

Breakfast, cleaning of the bunkhouse, and packing and we then all headed out to venture around the trails to see what we could find.  A pretty successful morning was had, with stunning views of kokako, as well as views of most of the other excellent birds – saddleback, Stitchbird, robin, bellbird, pigeon, tui, whitehead, etc.  What an amazing place!  We arrived down at the wharf bang on 10am and with our water taxi waiting, loaded our gear and headed (sadly) back to the mainland.

We repacked the van and then headed south, grabbing lunch on the way before a quick stop to look for shorebirds.  The tide was well out, and distant wrybill were spotted, but it was decided to have a little lunch and then bird afterwards.  At lunch we looked out over sewage ponds – this is a birding tour after all – and then scanned some of the mudflats, getting distant views of the wrybill and South Island oystercatcher through the scope.  We headed on south, with our target being Miranda around the high tide.  We quickly checked into our accommodation, and then headed down to the hide at Miranda.  There were a good number of other birders around, and we were quickly spotting things through the scopes.  Wrybill – check, black-billed gull – check, South Island oystercatcher – check.  Great views of everything, and then scanning through all the Arctic waders to look for less common species.  The tide was close to high, not a really big tide, but big enough to push things in relatively close.  So there were several thousand bar-tailed godwit and red knot in front of us.  Before long we had seen a bunch of Pacific golden plover, ruddy turnstone, and then managed to spot at least 2-3 sharp-tailed sandpiper, two curlew sandpiper, two red-necked stint, and then a pectoral sandpiper flew in and landed right in front of us.  Beaut!  We chatted with some of the other birders, and it was a great chance to enjoy the sunshine and spend time searching through the waders.  Somewhere in there was probably a Hudsonian godwit, and perhaps a marsh sandpiper, but we never di clap eyes on them.  Still it was a great few hours in a fantastic spot.

We then headed back to the accommodations to freshen up and then head to dinner.

Day total – Seen = 63 + 3 heard (silvereye, fernbird, grey warbler); new for the trip = 14; total for the trip to date = 106

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