The Godwits are back! After their epic journey non-stop from Alaska someone needs to celebrate! A few weeks ago some visitors from New Zealand told me that when the Godwits return to the Christchurch area the cathedral bells are rung. Nothing like that happens here, unfortunately, but maybe it should. I heard today that there have been 100,000 shorebirds lost from our flyway in just the last couple of years. This loss has happened because some very important roosting and feeding areas have been shut off from the sea and drained in Korea. If things like this keep happening then who knows how long we will see shorebirds returning each summer.
Enough of the doom and gloom. Let me share what I saw this morning.
I went out to Inskip Point and kayaked out to the sand island which is just off the point. There were huge flocks of shorebirds and seabirds roosting there.
I have left all the photos larger than usual to try to give some idea of the size of the flocks. Click on all images.
This is part of the flock of Bar-tailed Godwits. It's only the front birds that are easy to see but look at the legs to get some idea of how many are behind and out of sight.
This is another part of the flock - again mainly Godwits but also quite a number of Eastern Curlews and quite large numbers of Great Knots. There were also some Curlew Sandpipers but not easily seen in this photo.
There are always Pelicans out there but they were in even larger numbers than usual this morning.
I have to put in a photo of part of the flock of Terns - mainly Crested, but some Caspian and Gull-billed also.
Over the last week or so the army has been carrying out some kind of exercises which have included several low flying helicopters. They have been flying just above tree-top level and have passed over my house several times - very noisy!
This morning they were operating on the western side of the Strait and although they were out of sight most of the time the noise across the water was horrible! When they came closest the birds all took off! Not good after their recent long flights down here! Here are a couple of photos of the main flock.
I finished off the morning by talking to some visitors from East Gippsland who were out there with binos and scope. Yes, Of course they knew Duncan! (Ben Cruachen blog). It's a very small world!