• Bird footprints on the beach. 🐦

    A line of bird footprints.
    A zig zag line of bird footprints.
  • There is a small group of Warou | Welcome swallows who spend a proportion of their days perched on the deck railing, about 3 metres away, watching Miraz TV. Sometimes they also air their opinions on the failings of the plot or characterisation. 🐦

    A small bird on a railing, looking at me.
  • I took this photo the other day of Kuaka | Godwits in breeding plumage. Do you like the halo? 🐦

    Kuaka godwits with orange chests. One appears to have a halo above its head - in fact it was a water droplet glowing.
  • Today's bird, on Lake Te Puna a te Ora: Kuruwhengi | Australasian shoveler. 🐦

    New Zealand status: Native; Conservation status: Not Threatened

    Shovelers are specialist filter-feeding waterfowl with a large spoon-shaped or shovel-shaped bill that is almost twice as broad at its tip than at its base

    Duck like bird with big bill floating on a lake.
  • Some of my Micro.Blog pals might be interested in reading this Waikawa News blog post: Who are all those birds in the Estuary? 🐦

    See photos of the 21 birds that commonly use our estuary — excludes common birds like ducks, magpies etc.

    Sample bird:

    Large white birds behind or beside a large piece of driftwood.
    Kōtuku Ngutupapa | Royal Spoonbills.
  • For those who just want the pretty pictures — 🐦

    Juvenile Black-fronted Tern on the beach.

    A juvenile Tarapirohe | Black-fronted Tern.

    New Zealand status: Endemic

    Conservation status: Nationally Endangered

    Length: 28 cm; Weight: 95 g;

    More at Juvenile Black-fronted Tern.

  • Juvenile Black-fronted Tern

    Juvenile Black-fronted Tern on the beach.

    At this time of year we see flocks of White-fronted Terns hanging out in the estuary near the sea, but on 22 February 2024 this bird was sitting apart from the flock. Looking closer, it was a bit different, but has been confirmed as a juvenile Tarapirohe | Black-fronted Tern. That's a new addition to the Waikawa Beach Big List of Birds. 🐦

    New Zealand status: Endemic

    Conservation status: Nationally Endangered

    Length: 28 cm; Weight: 95 g;

    A medium-small blue-grey tern with a forked tail, short orange legs and bright orange pointed decurved bill. Breeding adults have pale blue-grey body plumage contrasting with a black cap and narrow white cheek stripe; non-breeding adults have a mottled grey cap, a black patch around the eye and ear coverts, and a black-tipped bill.

    It's so encouraging this summer to see the estuary full of birds from the land to the sea and north and south of the river. There's a very young new Oystercatcher chick running round too, bringing the total of Pied Stilt and Oystercatcher chicks that have survived to 6.

    Part of the nearby flock of White-fronted Terns with Godwits behind.
    Part of the nearby flock of White-fronted Terns with Godwits behind.

    I'm certain that one reason the birds have been so abundant this summer is that the easy access for vehicles to the beach has been blocked off. People have still been sometimes illegally accessing the beach through a track from one nearby property, through council land and destroying several metres of recently planted spinifex.

    Some locals also carved a vehicle track through a pedestrian-only Reserve, even using a chainsaw to cut down a post that was in their way. Council ended up installing three signs warning vehicles off, but these vehicle-addled locals just laugh as they drive through anyway. Witnesses have reported some to the Police and to the Council.

    The overall effect of the official entrance being closed though has been to very much reduce disturbance of the wildlife by vehicles.

  • Tarāpuka | Black-billed gull 🐦 :

    The black-billed gull is found only in New Zealand … The black-billed gull is more slender than the red-billed gull, with a longer bill. Breeding adults have a white head, neck, rump, tail and underparts, and pale silver-grey wings and back.

    Gull — black-billed.
  • Juvenile Tarapunga | Red-billed gull, a native whose conservation status is Declining. 🐦

    Immature red-billed gull among open shellfish on the sea shore.
  • The swallows love hanging out on the railing by our east window, in the early evening sun. 🐦

    Fluffy Swallow on a railing.
  • I suspect this juvenile Oystercatcher was one of the babies from early January. Its parent was looking a bit fed up, to my eye. 🐦

    Juvenile and adult Oystercatcher.

    A little further along a flock of a dozen Kuaka Godwits was feeding at the water's edge.

    A dozen Godwits feeding in wet sand.
  • What the heck! 🐦

    Several terns float on water. The one at the front is taking off with big splashes and a flurry of wings. The other terns look a bit startled.
  • Behind you!!! 🐦

    A small tern seeming to fly directly at a Caspian Tern from behind.
  • Black and white (and orange). Tern next to Southern Pied Oystercatcher. 🐦

    Small white tern with black cap beside black and white Oystercatcher with orange bill.
  • It was darned hot at the beach this afternoon, but I was so glad to spot baby Oystercatcher again. 🐦

    Baby Oystercatcher.
  • Big and Little: Kakīānau | Black swan and Pāpango | New Zealand scaup. 🐦

    Very large black swans on a lake with a tiny black Scaup beside them.

    Length: 110 - 140 cm; Weight: 5 - 7 kg (male), 4 - 6 kg (female) vs Length: 40 cm; Weight: 695 g (male); 610 g (female).

  • Big and Little: big Taranui | Caspian Tern with little Tara | White-fronted Tern (I think …) 🐦

    Two terns side by side. One is very much lareger than the other.

    Length: 50 cm; Weight: 700 grams vs Length: 42 cm; Weight: 160 grams.

  • Birds I noticed at dawn at the beach today: NZ Dotterel, Royal Spoonbill, adult pair and baby Oystercatcher. 🐦

    NZ Dotterel.
    NZ Dotterel.
    Royal Spoonbill.
    Royal Spoonbill.
    Adult pair with baby Oystercatcher.
    Adult pair with baby Oystercatcher.
  • Flocks of birds in flight at the beach today. 🐦

    Black swans in flight.
    Black swans in flight.
    A small flock of Rock Pigeons.
    A small flock of Rock Pigeons.
  • There were also plenty of birds on Lake Te Puna a te Ora, including many Pāpango | New Zealand scaup. 🐦

    Small dark bird on a lake, with broad grey bill and bright yellow eye.
  • Today I noticed juvenile Karoro | Black-backed gulls 🐦.

    Large dark coloured spotted gull by the water edge with a clump of weed nearby.
  • Today's 'haul' — Dotterels and a Hawk in flight. 🐦

    3 tiny birds on the beach.
    Hawk in flight.
  • Also on the beach and in my camera's view this morning, this Matuku moana | White-faced heron. 🐦

    White-faced heron, paddling in the shallows.
  • Success! Not only has the population of baby Oystercatchers doubled overnight, but I managed a photo or two. Like this one of the two chicks seeking refuge under their parent. 🐦

    Two Oystercatcher chicks seek refuge under their parent.
  • This parent Oystercatcher was very upset with me today for walking too close to its baby (maybe 10 or 15 metres away). I was getting the works! 🐦

    Black bird with pink legs and orange bill and red-ringed eyes advances towards me threateningly.
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