Miranda Shorebird Centre
This was one of the places that I really wanted to visit having heard, both from the internet and word of mouth it was a must see when you’re in NZ.
Armed with my daughters Suzuki Swift I set out at dawn from Auckland and in little over an hour I was driving down the coast road at Miranda, the centre was still closed so I explored further up the coast.
I had not checked the Tides but it was quite obvious from the number of Variable and Pied Oystercatchers piling in that I had got very lucky indeed.
After going through these, Pied Stilts and Bar Tailed Godwit were also present I headed back down the coast road to the car park which I had passed earlier, waders were coming in thick and fast to the shallow pools.
Walking out to the 1st hide produced Pacific Golden Plover and a single Marsh Sandpiper amongst the hordes of Stilts arriving, had a good look at the P G Plovers as some were well into summer plumage, or as it was autumn were they losing it, the latter most likely.
|Pacific Golden Plovers|
Moving on to the hide and many Terns were assembled, these included mostly White Fronted but there were also 33 Caspian’s present, dwarfing all were 4 Royal Spoonbills. Black Billed Gulls were also present in numbers and White Faced Herons were also very common. Out in the Firth of Thames I counted at least 10 Arctic Skuas doing the usual, ambushing Terns.
All the time I was watching a variety of waders were flying overhead in behind me, the pools were calling so I headed there pronto, I also met a very nice couple on the way who knew of Suttons Lane, Hornchurch just round the corner from me, it’s a small world and if you’re reading this, hello to you both.
When I arrived there must have been upwards of 4000 waders at roost, 2000 of these at least were Wrybill, a bird that I have never seen, similar to winter plumed Sanderlings with the obvious difference of a horizontally curved bill. Going through the rest produced 3 Sharp Tailed Sandpipers and around 40 Banded Dotterel, another which was on want to see list having only seen them very distantly on the previous visit of 2007.
|Wrybill in the foreground with 2 Sharp Tailed Sandpipers on the mud.|
The remainder was made up off large numbers of Stilts, Bar Tailed Godwits and around 600 Lesser Knot, these were cracking looking birds in partial summer plumage, again a 1st.
In the end I didn’t get any further than the pools but quite simply enjoyed what I was looking at in front of me, I stayed for at least 4 hours until the tide turned and got some photos as they left.
|Wrybill and Banded Dotterel|
|Hoping I have got this one right -New Zealand Dotterel, only 1700 left in NZ|
To finish off the day I visited the centre, could easily have emptied the wallet in there but behaved myself, until the next time…..