Field-trip to Ashley River Estuary at Waikuku Beach, South Island, NZ – 3rd November 2018

Field-trip Leader: Rob

Trip report by Rob

The day lived up to the forecast for wind! Fortunately no rain arrived but the wind made tripod work difficult and the thought of changing a lens, well there were no such thoughts. 

We “educated” a 4WD white baiter on the perils of beach driving during nesting season. He claimed he could see the birds well enough …Yea Right.   Uncontrolled dogs will remain a problem for ground nesting birds in this area.  (no education attempted there as the owner had a big stick).  There was great joy to see Bev Alexander she was awaiting USA Rhode Scholar group (apparently Democrats as Rob threatened to deport any Republicans)

A bit of a bummer …Carolyn contacted Jillian and engaged the services of AA to assist with a puncture (Jillian and Carolyn both quizzing the AA man about the level of torque required on the wheel nuts) Good reminder for the group leader to be clear and certain all have safely exited the area.

Having been going to this area for nearly 35 yrs. it is still one of the great near Christchurch birding locations …. In spite of the changes. Great group of folks to get blown around on a beach with.

Pick your day and with some luck …amazing things can happen,

Bird species seen on the day, list total 33 not a bad effort!!

  1. Bar-tailed Godwit
  2. Wrybill
  3. Black-backed Gull
  4. Black-billed Gull
  5. Banded Dotterel  with rebellious chicks
  6. South Island Pied Oystercatcher
  7. Varied Oystercatcher.  Including an egg likely washed down stream during the high water earlier in the week
  8. Black-Fronted Tern
  9. White-Fronted Tern
  10. Caspian Tern
  11. Pied Stilt (no sign of the Resident Black Stilt)
  12. Welcome Swallow
  13. Royal Spoonbill
  14. White-face Heron
  15. House Sparrow
  16. Dunnock
  17. Silvereye
  18. Yellowhammer
  19. Blackbird
  20. Skylark
  21. Black Swan
  22. White Swan
  23. Mallard Duck
  24. Grey Teal
  25. NZ Scaup
  26. Paradise Duck
  27. Crested Grebe
  28. Little Black Shag
  29. Starling
  30. Pied Shag
  31. Coot
  32. Pukeko
  33. Goose (white)
  34. Several species of interesting bugs, drift wood, sand, shells and landscape options.

Wind and blowing sand eventually drove us off.  There was a retreat to the Mill café. Thanks to those for coming along.

To view more images please visit Flickr