3. Waders in New Zealand

There was some good wader watching in New Zealand, particularly at Miranda (North Island), the shorebird (wader) centre where a wide, flat estuary floods with the rising tide and forces the waders up on to the banks. It is a stunning place and famous for its concentrations of Bar-tailed Godwits which winter there from Siberia and Alaska and numbers are colour ringed as well as bearing telemetry. One of these birds holds the record flight from Alaska to Miranda, covering some 11.000 kms nonstop over a period of 5 days thanks to GPS plots. The numbers of Barwits and other waders such as large numbers of Knot, Pacific Golden Plover, Double-banded Plover, New Zealand Dotterel, Black-winged / Pied Stilts, both Black and Variable Oystercatchers, Red-necked Stints, Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpipers  and a single Marsh Sandpiper. There is also a speciality which was one of the species which I really wanted to see, the Wrybill. This little plover has its bill twisted slightly upwards and to one side, always to the right. It is a superb place although seeing all these waders many kms from home and hearing an introduced Skylark singing overhead seems rather an anomaly.
Please note that this blog is in two parts and there is more text and photos after that.


Bar-tailed Godwits (Miranda)
Bar-tailed Godwits and Knot (Miranda)
Bar-tails, Knot and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers
Barwits and Knot (find the marked bird)
Wrybill (Miranda) + 2 photos below

high tide flock of Wrybills

Now, on to other shorebirds. There are two species of Oystercatcher, the Black and the Variable (which is), and they are often found together. The same occurs with the stilts as there is Pied Stilt and the Black Stilt. The Black Stilt is in a precarious state and most birds are reared in large breeding aviaries, colour ringed for tracking and research purposes but although there is apparently suitable habitat there is no positive change in their numbers and wild bred birds are relatively few. These were found elsewhere as was New Zealand Dotterel. We saw a single Double-banded Plover and many days saw isolated Masked Lapwings where there was suitable habitat.
New Zealand Dotterel (above and below, 2 photos)

Black Oystercatcher
Variable Oystercatcher
Black Stilts (above and below, 2 photos)

Pied Stilts

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