Friday 12 February 2016

In the hot hot sun

After a big night out kiwi hunting, and a very hot and humid night in the bunkhouse (with some rather strange animal noises being heard), it was a slow morning.  We slept in a little and then tidied up around the place, packed our gear and headed out.  We wandered down towards the wharf, hoping to try and find a kokako again on the way.  We heard several, but each time they were just off out of reach, and when one bounded by the trail, it ghosted off into the forest and wasn’t seen again.  We did get more good views of stitchbird, saddleback, etc and the got down to the wharf in time for our water taxi departure.

We left the island and headed across in beaut calm conditions with the sun shining and little wind.  A couple of Buller’s and a few more fluttering shearwaters flew past as we headed in.  We loaded the van and then rather quickly headed south towards Miranda, making a lunch grab stop, and a fuel stop on the way.

We checked in quickly to accommodation in Miranda and then went out to the hide at the Stilt Ponds.  It had been a really large tide, and although we had arrived an hour after peak, it was still really high and all the birds were out in front of the hide.  We quickly sorted through everything – with a massive flock of perhaps 800+ wrybill being present, along with good numbers of banded dotterel.  Of course there were thousands of bar-tailed godwit and lots of red knot, and sorting through them we gradually increased our list of birds.  First off a whimbrel, then several sharp-tailed sandpipers, then a curlew sandpiper, and then two pectoral sandpipers.  A red-necked stint, Eastern curlew, a Hudsonian godwit, and a bunch of Pacific golden plovers were also added to the list.  So a pretty good haul of waders!  As the last of the birds left from in front of the hide, to feed out on the mudflats, we decided to head along the Stilt Ponds and see what we could find, and after a bit of searching we managed to locate a marsh sandpiper feeding in a wetland area.  We then carried on down to the Miranda Shorebird Centre, and increased our checked baggage weight by quite some!  Good to support a local cause!
We then headed back to the accommodation and spent a few hours resting up, before an early dinner, and then early night.  Tomorrow is going to be another busy day!

Day total – Seen = 55 + 4 heard (little spotted kiwi, kokako, fernbird, grey warbler); new for the trip = 11; total for the trip to date = 100

Bird of the day – Wrybill x5

Bar-tailed godwits - bird of the year 2015 in New Zealand - roosting

Thousands of birds roosting on the mudflats in front of the hide at Miranda

South Island oystercatchers in flight over the roost

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