Tuesday 16 February 2016

Sunshine and wrybill

A pretty relaxed day today, with a (very) late start to the day.  We headed out from the Motel and looked for black-fronted dotterel again, this time getting nice close scope views of two birds.  We then did a scenic stop to admire the beautiful Hawkes Bay, and found several pipits very confiding, and then grabbing some lunch from a bakery carried on south.

Crossing the Takapau Plains we passed through lots of sheep country, and then made a stop for lunch at a small reserve.  Carrying on we headed through Palmerston North, and then out to the coast, checking in at our accommodation in Foxton.  With high tide being late afternoon, we headed on down to the Manawatu Estuary as the tide was coming in and parked up.

We quickly spotted a couple of good sized flocks of white-fronted terns and so walked up to investigate them.  Sure enough, there in the middle of them was an immature common tern, looking somewhat different, but not glaringly so.  We admired it, and the rest of the flock which included some streaky and still begging juvenile white-fronteds.

We then carried on down to where the rest of the waders were starting to accumulate at the spit.  We could see the wrybill flock from a distance and homed in on them.  This was to be our best views of these great little birds so far, with around 20 of them hunkered down just a few metres away.  And there amongst them was a little gem – a terek sandpiper – that has been here for a few weeks now.  A great little bird, and even when sitting down roosting it looks busy!  We then scanned the rest of the waders, with a good flock of bar-tailed godwit and red knot – some of these birds were really starting to colour up and look stunning with their red breeding plumage.  We found three sharp-tailed sandpiper, and three Pacific golden plover – two of which were also starting to get pretty gold and speckled black on the belly.  We watched the wader flock for some time, just admiring the sunshine and the beautiful birds in front of us.

We then headed back to the accommodation, took a short break and then headed out for another great dinner.  Yet again another great day!

Day total – Seen = 46; new for the trip = 2; total for the trip to date = 117

Checking out some black-fronted dotterels

Black-fronted dotterel pattering around on the mud

Pipit standing on limestone

Stunning views across Hawkes Bay

Common tern with the white-fronted terns

Terek sandpiper

Red knot colouring up

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