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Small bird with dark back and white lower half on the beach.

Beach newcomer: a Ruddy Turnstone

The other morning on the beach by Waiorongomai Stream I spotted a group of Kuaka Godwit doing their thing then realised one bird looked quite different. I believe this is a Ruddy turnstone — I haven’t spotted them around here before. Identification Length: 21 - 24 cm; Weight: 84 - 190 g; Similar species: Shore plover | Tuturuatu A medium-sized…

Very small baby bird sitting on beach.

Take care for the Pied Stilt chicks

These baby birds are so hard to see they’re at huge risk of being trampled, run over or grabbed by a dog. Back in early November 2022 I almost stepped on a Poaka Pied Stilt nest not far from the blue pole that marks where the North Track off Reay Mackay Grove exits onto the beach. Luckily I saw it…

Shining Bronze Cuckoo. Photo by Laurie Boyle.

Pīpīwharauroa, Shining cuckoo heard at Waikawa Beach, November 2022

I’ve never yet seen a Pīpīwharauroa, Shining cuckoo but have recently heard one near the lakes in Strathnaver. I’m keeping my eyes peeled. These birds have the most annoying call. Visit the link above and listen to the sound files. They do a sort of ‘pee pee pee pee pee pee pee pee pee wheeeew’. Voice: the main call is…

Two long-beaked wading birds in the beach shallows.

The Kuaka return

Excited to see on my beach walk this morning that the first Kuaka (Godwits) have returned from their sojourn in the Arctic.

Little Black Shag and Pied Shag at the river.

Little Black Shag and Pied Shag 

In August 2022 Marion Cherry posted a photo on Facebook that showed clearly the size difference between a Little black shag | Kawau tūī and a Pied shag | Kāruhiruhi. The Little Black Shag’s size is: ‘Length: 61 cm; Weight: 800 grams’, while the Pied Shag comes in at: ‘Length: 65 - 85 cm; Weight: 1.3 - 2.1 kg’. Little…

Bittern with neck extended.

Boom: Beware Bitterns breeding!

A local resident told me recently she’d spotted a Bittern on one Strathnaver wetland, one of 3 areas in Strathnaver where the very rare Bitterns are known to breed locally. Bittern breeding season falls between August and May. They lay between 3 and 6 eggs sometime between August and December. The eggs hatch after about 25 days and then fledging…